Mount Gardiner Aug 9 - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Default Mount Gardiner Aug 9

PREFACE: Okay Iím a FEW trip reports behind (Yak, Nak, Thar, Needle, Flatiron, Gandalf, Aragon, Shadowfax, Saxifrage, Cassiope, Mt Adams, Mt St. Helens, Rainbow Mountain, eeek.) Thatís a lot of business to catch up! So let's start with the most recent and most spectacular.

With the weather being "iffy" this weekend we bailed on the idea of Ossa in a day and decided for a consolation prize...Mount Gardiner beside Cirque as a nice "little" 14 hr day trip.

Getting there (7am trail head)
I want to make a few corrections because I find the book overly confusing. Yes the turnoff is 700m past the railroad tracks but it's no longer a gravel road. It's a paved road called Anson Pl. Turn right off the highway and you'll find a nice little cul-de-sac to park the car. There's a gravel road on the right, ignore it! You want the gravel road on the left with the gate. It's smooth sailing from there. Cross the rail road tracks and two open fields that are flagged.







The Route
In 30 min or less you'll be at a spectacular water fall that puts Shannon Falls to shame. Enjoy the mist coming off of it cause you'll need all the water you have for the next part.



I've done a few scrambles now and this trail felt like the steepest thing I've done to date. I'd gamble that it's steeper than the Wedgemount approach. It was lose, gravely and did I mention extreme steep?!

So up and up we went and of course the day being iffy, it decided to rain. That was fine traveling through the forest but would have consequences later. For now however we were distracted and clapping like kids at the vivid rainbow that appeared right beside us!




As we ascended we came to the river crossing. It was raging and the log was fantastically slippery. Since I've long learned to bring my trail crampons at all times, I slipped them on and made what was a treacherous crossing into a stable spiky comfort. The little teeth sank into the wood like butter. 




After the crossing you get into a bit of an Alder tunnel. From here on it gets bushy. I went from dry to absolutely soaking wet. Even though the rain had stopped we were brushing all the water off of every leaf on the way. My goretex was drenched and I was my boots gave up. My feet squished as I cursed; I felt like a human sponge.



After crossing the river again over more slippery logs the trail winds up through a nice mossy forest and you get a reprieve from all the "up". Never have I yearned more for a boulder field! And just like that, one appeared

After ascending the boulders you get to the base of a head wall. Contour it around until you get to the river again.

A moment of Zen
It is nearly impossible to describe in words the view we saw coming to the waterfall. Pink flowers blooming, perfect morning, light, the sun hanging in the center of it all reflecting off of the mist. It simply took our breath away. WOW.


We started to wonder if we cross the creek again or take the slabs. We checked the book and sure enough it was the slabs on our left. Note, these slabs would be super dangerous if wet. They are ultra smooth and rounded. Work your way up the falls a bit and find a ramp that has some grass and vegetation.




NOTE: In a year where the run off is low and you could CROSS the river, it's worth doing so if you are heading up to Gardiner. Both left and right sides of the head wall CAN be ascended. (We know cause we came down that way). This would get you to the right hand side of the upper lake and avoid yet another river crossing at the upper lake (which we were forced to contour). You'd miss the huts but you'd easily shave off an hour with the more direct path.

Once you get above the falls it's another 15min to the huts. They sit perched above a stone slab overlooking the lake. More WOW. How had I not come here sooner?! The theme of this trip became..."Wow, amazing, I can't stop taking pictures!"






As the book said, it was 4hrs to the huts. We stopped to have lunch, wring out my socks and boot insoles, and to eat some desperately needed calories. The huts are ultra small, each fitting two people. Someone had come up there but we only ever saw them from a distance.


Up & Up
We went around the left hand side of the lake and the book said to make our way across the braided stream. Hmmm nope. Between the rain and the crazy amount of glacier melt that wasn't happening. We had to contour the stream and an entire upper lake that's not even mentioned in the book. We lost an hour doing so, but it also meant we got to touch and go up on the glacier Did I mention WOW?






We were hoping for a mountain goat sighting. Tracks of them were everywhere but we were the only mountain goats up there. Sniff sniff. With visibility it was easy enough to figure out where we were going. There are no markers or cairns so it's choose your own adventure. The entire upper bowl is snow free which meant a lot of lose gravel and chossy debris.



We worked our way up the Northwest ridge to the col and from there on it was pleasant scrambling to the top. Once on the ridge you have views of lakes on either side and spectrum of blues are stunning.



I didn't think it could get any better and then it did! More glaciers, more teal blue lakes, floating icebergs, more 360 panoramic views. I don't think I've ever taken soooo many pictures and so desperately wished for a BIG camera to capture it all. We stopped for the requisite summit shots. It took us 3 hrs to ascend from the huts but that would have been 2 had we not had to circle around the lakes.

Some of the views you can expect from up there...






Descent (3pm)
We decided to complete the "loop" as described in the book. The Southeast ridge was easy and pleasant to descend. The notch looked intimating from far away but it really wasn't. Good ledges make this an excellent return option. I'd also say it's the better way to go for less experienced scramblers as it's he faster and easier way up.





At the col we worked our way back into the bowl over slabs, boulders etc. With more snow you could RACE this down. It took us 1.5h back to the huts, with snow that could easily be an hour or less.

Wanting to save time we elected to travel the opposite side of the lake than we had ascended. We had hoped that we could find a way across the braided stream from this side. We couldn't. Previous reports spoke of crossing the old dam...perhaps we could "au cheval" the thing. Yeah NO! It's completely broken and part of he damn has broken off.



So we continued to descend ever hoping and ever searching for a way across. We got to the earlier waterfall and still didn't see any options. The water was moving too fast with too much force. We kept working our way down. It got thicker and thicker as we hit the tree line. 350m would connect us to river crossing lower down....

I'm not normally a grumpy girl, but the combination of thick pine, slide Alder, and super dense bush tested my patience. I cursed, I got slapped in the face by branches, my ice axe kept getting caught, and we both fell along more Alder. I was anxious and worried we'd never cross the river...it kept pushing us left yielding nothing. I was cranky but persistent. Eventually by a stroke of luck we hit a flat part where part of the forest absorbed the ragging torrents and split the steam. We crossed 4 smaller rivers that happened to have deadfall and reconnected to the main trail.

Coming down I kept my trail crampons on the entire way. Why? Dry loose needles and super duper steep terrain. I felt like a ninja with perfect foot control with no slippage. Rob on the other hand fell ass over heals several times even with poles. The trail is stupid steep and you realize it even more coming down.

We got back to the car by 8:45pm and gorged on the exotic fruit waiting for us in the cooler. Papaya, water melon, passion fruit, golden berries, cherries, blueberries....YUM!

CONCLUSIONS
This can be done as a long day trip(12-14hrs) but do yourself a favour and spend the extra time up there, it's WORTH IT! It's one of the most stunning areas I have ever seen.
- If water levels are high you might be doing a lot of contouring.
- You can ascend either side of the headwall described in the book

TRIP STATS
Distance: 20km
Elevation Gain: 2095m (6,873ft)
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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I hit the picture limit so here are the rest...

The notch on the descent



Looking Back


The braided river we were supposed to cross but couldn't



The broken damn








Trip Stats


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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 03:26 PM
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Green with envy here.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 03:29 PM
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Masiar...


Stunning pictures backuping an excellent TR. Truly a beautiful area and an overnight stay strongly recommended.


That Zen moment picture with mist, sun, and the pinkish flowers is amazing.


K
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 10:36 PM
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Nice TR.

This looks like a nice and easy overnighter for my weekend plans.

You referred a few times to a "book" but I couldn't find a title anywhere in your TR. I'm interested to know which one.

thanks
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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@ilikemax: Yes this is normally done as an overnight "The Book", almost sacred in the scrambling universe is the "Scrambles in Southwest British Columbia" by Matt Gunn. It can be purchased at MEC or Valhalla.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 11:35 PM
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Thanks for the peek into what I feel is a lesser travelled area- simply beautiful, though I need to get some more scrambling time in before I tackle those slabs!
I have a lovely friend who studies and is obsessed with glaciers (except he says Glass-iers since he is British) that I'd love to bring up there. If only the mountains would call a little louder and beckon him back from the UK. The photos of "sexy moraines" (his terminology, not mine) I keep sending him do seem to help the cause.

Looking forward to your backlog of TRs!
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 01:15 AM
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What kind of spikes did you have on your feet for climbing down the trail?
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 09:38 AM
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Wondered where you had disappeared to and now I know! Great trip report and fun to read how much this hike took your breath away. Like Sarah, I'm also look forward to your backlog of TRs!
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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@Greenarc: Hillsound microspikes I've tried others but these are the best.

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post #11 of (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 10:43 AM
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Awesome report! for a second I went dyslexic and thought you were on Bowen Island, lol. This one has been on my list forever
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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@Whyte_Lake: Ever since the BBC series "Planet Earth" I very deliberately go around and pronounce "Glaciers" as "Glass-ciers". David Attenborough is amazing and I have a soft spot for his delightful manner of speech. Now I have to say, the words "sexy" and moraine have never before mixed in my repertoire. Usually it's more like *#$* moraine...I hate walking up this loose stuff. Moraines are the excrement of the mighty glass-ciers. But glaciers themselves, now there is a love affair I can understand! Exotic, each completely unique, majestic in presence, fierce in beauty, powerful with an essence that demands respect, always breathtaking. For what it's worth, it's total glacier porn up there as far as the eye can see. No less than 4 that I counted
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 02:51 PM
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I remember reading a few papers in uni on the place glacier, I wonder if any studies are still being undertaken to assess mass balance up there.

Good TR, definitely looks like great scrambling terrain, except for the moraines...
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trail_blazer3 View Post
I wonder if any studies are still being undertaken to assess mass balance up there.

.
I think Dr. Dan Moore at UBC Geog still has a functioning streamflow gauge on Place Creek
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 08-12-2015, 12:50 AM
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Awesome thanks !
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