I'm just starting a vacation block for July and told Simon I had some days off, he mentioned the Phelix Creek area and planted the seed of me being able to do a loop of all 3 in the area, while he had his plan of another 3 peaks in the area. I threw out a few invites cause more is always better and Thecamel fresh off his nailing one of the Twin Sisters was joining us. We almost had Burndug added to the crew but he decided to go play in hells kitchen by his latest TR.
We passed by a couple parked cars on the road lower down , the creek crossing was fine in 4wd low, couple steep water bars , then we drove upto a tree across the road. The picture is of the aftermarth so just try to imagine the same width of the tree laying across the road. We came this far and wanted to drive to the end so we hopped out with the hopes of somehow moving it. Cody wasn't in the mood to move it apparently so he went full lumberjack and literally ripped apart the tree piece by piece until we could drive around it. Sure me and Simon helped with pieces, but his hands were like chainsaws and he was just shredding that sucker. We drove around it no problem and like 4 minutes later we hit the end of the road
We geared up, Simon put on his cute ankle high gaiters, and a shirt that said Mountain Don't Care. The plan was anytime he would say something about the mountain we would just say to him "mountain don't care" I think he was glad he was only hiking with us to the upper lake. Off we went at 9:30am, great trail to the the lake and since we drove so high I think we got there in like and hour and a bit?
6 tents were setup around the hut, we had to put on some bug spray at this point as they were starting to swarm, Cody walked a few steps towards the lake and next thing you know some girl is staring at him through the tent window, they exchanged pleasantries, I walked over to witness this face just staring, it was awkward so I left.
Onwards and upwards to upper lake where were would say our goodbyes as Simon heads for the left skyline, and we aim for the right skyline.
These mini rivers were actually quite deep you could probably sit upto your neck in them, and were quite tempting on the hot sunny day.
Once we hit the saddle we came across an older couple who had spent the night, they told us about how a group was descending the col of Aragorn and Gandalf and how a lady slipped on the steep section, bounced a few times, broke some ribs, broke her wrist etc etc. I believe she got airlifted out after someone went down for cell service? Cody might be able to confirm that. We said our goodbyes and started upwards towards Gandalf looking across the way knowing that Simon was running around over there hitting all those peaks.
The rock was very grippy and very fun to play around on
Until finally the infamous summit flake comes into view. It's basically a 4 step procces,
Step 1. Get personal with the rock and au cheval down to the base of the flake.
Step 2. use the crack to get halfway up it
Step 3. Hope it's dry, friction your way to the top and touch the tip. Just the tip.
Step 4. Lay down for a photo as Cody did, or find a safe spot to sit like I did.
It really is a cool feature, quite a fall height wise if you did and it slopes to the left so I had no urge to try and stand. We also learned that going up the au cheval isn't as kind on the junk.
Next on the agenda was Aragorn, very nice mellow ridge walk over towards it, the temperature was tolerable even though record breaking temps were being smashed down in the valley.
Hands in the pocket ridge upto Aragorn, with yet again another feature ontop. Because I wanted a group shot with a 10 second timer, we found ourselves doing manual labour consisting of hauling I dunno 2 100lb rocks to the base so I could just run up it after setting the timer.
Here is the finished product.
We considered dropping off Aragorn towards the glacier but decided to just go with the devil we know and head back to the col and head down the loose sand, scree, boulder slope where the lady had her accident. Cody stashed his poles, found a brand new can of bear spray at the top, and then proceeded to surf down the slope. Style points for sure.
Making a straight shot towards Shadowfax now, it looked so flat from above but it wasn't, the bowl was micro-terrain with ups, and downs, and berms and moraines , and lakes. Not as straight and easy shot as we thought but still pleasant nonetheless.
We ended up heading straight up a gully on the face of Shadowfax, it was steep dirt/heather, then finally did one long traverse right to get back to the final stretch to the top. I think the scrambles route had 3 traverses which we used on the way down.
Shadowfax is in the bag, had a nice spot for another bite to eat in some welcomed shade.
The descent off Shadowfax is steep, next thing we are in the bowl, following the lake outflow down to the hut. there is a flagged route and a mild trail bed.
Before you know it It's wet, it's steep it's bushy, it's full of in your face trees. I think this was the point in the day I sweat the most and this was the time Cody I'm sure was so glad he brought his ice axe as it was catching on everything. Pretty ugly descent but we get to the hut and decide to go for a dip since Simon isn't back yet.
3 irish guys are staying the night, 2 guys from Amsterdam, and the older couple who showed up after getting up Gandalf, The timing was perfect as Simon showed up like 25 minutes later. Wished everyone a goodnight and off we went. Check out these namby pamby pole users looking fresh after a swim and a wash.
Salt and vinegar chips, Zesty cheese chip, a bunch of cold beers was the motivation to get back to the truck,We enjoyed our mosquito free bevies to finish off a perfect day. Cody will I'm sure add his photos at some point so check them out as well.