Markhor-Needle Traverse - June 28, 2015 - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-10-2015, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
Rex
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Default Markhor-Needle Traverse - June 28, 2015

TR from a trip a couple weeks ago... so six of us took on a little more than we expected with this, but we managed with solid group cohesion, determination, patience and will. Please keep in mind while you read this that none of us had any experience on this route so you may notice better choices as you peruse my ramblings, and I encourage you to please share your thoughts... I live in a perpetual state of learning... so have at'er.


8:15am Start

Hiked 300m too far down the dirt road running parallel to the Coq. Hwy.... and ended up ascending to the right of the second bare slab which took us to the top of cool nub with a neat little tarn at ~1770m - scrambling krummholz and C2-4 sections here (3:00hr / 11:15am)



15 min break at Tarn



From here we had to drop down 20-30 m then start moving on a diagonal gaining elevation until we were on top of the ridge running NE of Markhor Peak. it was a fairly easy ramble along the ridge to the peak from there (1:15hr / 12:45pm)



15 min break on Markhor Peak (1:00pm)



We started descending to the col but we only made it part way down the back of Marhkor before we had to belay/repel (we found 2 sets of webbing anchored here on a tree - the blue one looked a little chewed up but the red one was in great shape) to get past a bare section of rock about 25m tall - this slowed us down considerably... took 2:20hr to get all the way to the col (we are not pro climbers... experienced people would have been much quicker but safety was our concern. I think from what I saw and again no expert... this would be the point of no return for us unless we could descend the steep bowl between Markhor and Needle back to the highway. Time was starting to become a bit of a concern and the weather was starting to turn on us... the wind changed direction and picked up considerably bringing with it the odd raindrop attempting to erode our determination. (2:20hr / 3:20pm)





We climbed to the highest point along the ridge again relying on one of our members scrambling up ahead of us and dropping a rope and from here you could see the C4 crux of the route where you have a narrow edge with considerable exposure on both sides. We had one of members belay 3 others down and to the right where you can find lots of hand and footholds, but one mistake free climbing on this would mean serious injury or death. 3 of our group completed without assistance. One of our members was thrown off balance by a strong side wind while belaying and ended up swinging to climbers left hitting his shoulder and back. The rest of us finished this section and we checked on the mildly injured climber before proceeding (1:15hr / 4:30pm)





The hardest part was done now and we moved smoothly along the graceful sweep of the ridge to the base of Needle and clambered our way up with only one or two more short sections where a few of us needed to have a rope dropped down in order to proceed. From the crux it took 1:30hr for all of us to reach Needle peak and the high-fiving ensued. (1:30hr / 6:00pm)





We spend 30 minutes on the peak taking photos and congratulating everyone for their grit, perseverance, teamwork and comparing whom had the most battle worn shins. (30 min / 6:30pm)

8:30pm Back to vehicles




Miscellaneous Notes:

We would see people on Needle Peak every once in a while from the time we started to drop down Markhor until the little ridge peak in groups of 3 or 4 and I am sure they were entertained by our colourful shirts and helmets bobbing in and out of view along the ridge.

Mosquitoes and flies were getting bad after 5pm when the wind had died down.

We were lucky enough to have small patches of snow to replenish our water supplies. These will not be around for much longer.. perhaps another week or so in these temps. The largest being on the shoulder of needle about 150m as the crow flies, you can't miss it.

We descended at a somewhat leisurely pace and two of our group whom had gone way ahead, distracted by their own conversation veered left and started descending towards Flatiron, carrying on for some time before they realized their mistake and had to hustle back up onto the ridge that descends over a number of diminishing humps before descending the last slope to the vehicles.

In hindsight, I would only change two things. I will take less people... I think a group size of 3 or maybe 4 max and maybe slightly stronger pre-qualification would have been ideal. Other than that it was an amazing experience.


Full set of photos here Markhor-Needle Traverse, June 28, 2015
BC Peaks & Trails Hiking Group

Have fun out there and stay safe.

Regards,

Rex
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culater, Spunky, KARVITK and 5 others like this.


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Last edited by Rex; 07-11-2015 at 02:42 PM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2015, 12:59 PM
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Very impressive...and not for me. : )
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2015, 02:54 PM
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Looks like an awesome trip. I'd never manage the traverse, but I wonder if the route up Markhor is flagged? Or is it a straight bushwhack?

Semper fudge
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2015, 04:42 PM
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Sweet Trip! This is the kind of trip report I like the most, lots of pictures with lines drawn in showing your route. The google earth shot too, great angle and shading.

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2015, 05:16 PM
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Good trip and report.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2015, 06:44 PM
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Thanks, looks worth doing!
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2015, 09:25 PM
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Good going. Interesting account and nice shots.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-11-2015, 10:32 PM
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That is one strong experience, thank you for sharing this with us, Rex.

Don't think I could have that one because of the one difficult section.

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-12-2015, 12:20 AM
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Excellent informative report, thanks for sharing!
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-12-2015, 03:37 AM
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Nice photos of the route, and good job on finishing it.

The route up Markhor that I'm used to is on the more westerly ridge (as seen here).

another jeff: there is no trail going to markhor, and no marking. You just bushwack your way up to the slab. I don't think the peak has become popular to develop a trail yet, but it would be nice.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 07-12-2015, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by another jeff View Post
Looks like an awesome trip. I'd never manage the traverse, but I wonder if the route up Markhor is flagged? Or is it a straight bushwhack?
Heh... yah, I was aware of this route, but I thought I would minimize the bush bashing by heading straight up from underneath the first slab instead of a longer diagonal route... but we were talking and not paying attention and headed up a little later... moving up the second slabby area instead.


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post #12 of (permalink) Old 07-13-2015, 01:13 AM
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You're sure getting in some good trips in that area.


I did this with Dru's brother and company, we ended up finding a giant crack that led us down the hard parts, but safe and secure.

Last edited by Spectrum; 07-13-2015 at 03:10 PM.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 07-13-2015, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectrum View Post
I did this with Dru and company, he lead us a nice fun way where ropes weren't needed.
heh... would love to tag along next time you guys do something 'fun'. I was perfectly happy to push out my comfort zone on this one. Not sure there is a no-rope fun version of the crux though... not for me at this stage of my experience & risk tolerance although I can see it that if someone has lots of time on rock in that type of situation I imagine the risks appear diminished. That time is coming but its a gradual buildup for me.

One more in the area this weekend if the weather is permitting as we take on Coquihalla Mtn... then plan on leaving Hwy #5 behind for a couple months.


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As I haven't been on Markhor, this may be an ignorant question, but is a descent down the southwest side (through the trees) possible? From a distance, it looks like it would go (without climbing required), but there may of course be hidden obstacles or problems reconnecting to the col. Not that I enjoy bushwhacking or anything...
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 07-13-2015, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guntis View Post
As I haven't been on Markhor, this may be an ignorant question, but is a descent down the southwest side (through the trees) possible? From a distance, it looks like it would go (without climbing required), but there may of course be hidden obstacles or problems reconnecting to the col. Not that I enjoy bushwhacking or anything...
I suppose... the bush can be dense... here is a photo that shows a bit of it... you would have to traverse Markhor to reach the col... which also seems pretty steep.

I would love to know Dru's route, now that spectrum mentioned it.
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