Bold Indeed - The Ensakwatch Traverse - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: vancouver, bc, Canada.
Posts: 227
Default Bold Indeed - The Ensakwatch Traverse

With a free day this weekend and itching to do something bold, I sent out various emails/text messages to find anyone willing for adventure. The forecast was casting some doubt. Not really too sure what would happen, Don M, Jack, and I boldly set off out to Chilliwack for some fun alpine rambling.

We set out from Burnaby in the dark at 4am with light rain. We stopped for a quick Timmy's visit in Chilliwack, and then continued up towards Chilliwack Lake. The clouds were thick, and a bit off-putting. We boldly continued driving up the Nesakwatch Creek FSR to the Mt Rexford trailhead, arriving at 6.30. I was a bit reluctant to commit to the hike, as it was socked in, and I felt it was threatening rain. Boldy, we headed up the trail.


Classic view of Slesse

We reached the alpine basin in just over two and a half hours, where we scrambled to the base of the N ridge of the N Nesakwatch Spire. The morning was a bit chilly but the clouds we starting to lift. It was a nice change from the heat as of late, and at this point, we donned our layers. At this point, I could see the Nesakwatch Crack (???) with the massive chockstone. It was pretty cool to see it coming through the fog.


First objective


Getting ready

We boldy set off up the ridge without being roped up. Within minutes, I was boldly looking for a rope. Don quickly threw one up to me, I tied in, then continued up the ridge. Jack was off in the distance, pulling through 5.2 moves.







Within a short time, we found ourselves on the warm sunny summit of the North Nesakwatch Spire. 1 down, 2 to go. The climbing was easy (max low 5th, mostly 3rd and 4th) with some exposure thrown in for measure. We chilled for a bit, then boldly continued down the S Ridge towards the South Nesakwatch Spire. We continued up and began traversing the along climber's left, staying well left of the ridge, venturing onto the face. The exposure increased until we found a good bench, looking up at a 20m pitch of what looked like fun climbing. Jack had boldly ventured off on easier ground, but this pitch looked too fun to pass up. It was very similar to Diedre or the 2nd pitch of skywalker if you've climbed that, not too hard, but a lot of the same moves over and over. In approach shoes it felt like 5.8.

Don boldly met up with me up top, where I was sure we were off route. I could see Jack on the summit above, having soloed the offwidth.


A short wandering pitch found us on easy, but very exposed terrain. One more bold pitch and we were at the base of the summit block, staring at the 5.7 offwidth. Jack had soloed his way up there, but wasn't in the mood for bold downclimbing. I thought, 5.7 offwidth, no big deal. I'd even brought my largest piece of protection along. Sadly, I found midpitch it did not fit. In fact, I only had a slung chockstone for protection. While the pitch was short (5-7m), I'm no offwidth climber. Burling my way up, I managed a few offwidth moves. With a final grunt and holding on for dear life, I managed to reach to top. In the process I had stupidly dropped a cam (didn't take the climbing gear off), tore holes in my shirt, and donated some skin to the route. Don wisely declined the top rope.

2 down, 1 to go.

Jack and I quickly rappelled down. A few minutes later, and we had rehydrated, eaten, and were off down the south ridge of the south spire. We found the rappel station, and made a 15 or so meter rappel into the notch below, between the S Nesakwatch Spire and Mt Rexford. We were all starting to feel a bit tired, the afternoon was wearing on, and hoping to avoid a late night, we boldly opted to descend a loose gully and head back to the truck. We were back at the truck at 6pm, where Don surpised us with some stashed Red Racer IPA. A scholar and gentleman. Not to mention organized.


Mt Baker

False summit of Rexford



To summarize - despite everything working against us, we boldly ventured into the alpine, and boldly traversed the Nesakwatch Spires, where we boldly decided to retreat to the vehicle as we were starting to tire.


I'd highly recommend this trip, even though we didn't do the full traverse. We made it car to car in just under 12 hours, and Rexford would likely have made it 14-15 hours. It's a fun outing, not too technically hard, and covers a lot of moderate alpine terrain. It also has options to bail after each spire. With good route finding, you can keep the grades to mid 5th I think (offwidth excepted). We didn't get up Rexford due to our concerns of a late night, but traffic on the way home had us second guessing ourselves. The only thing I would change is a bivy at the trailhead either prior to or just after this traverse to make it a bit easier on yourself. The only other note would be to watch for loose blocks on the descent of the south ridges on the spires.

Credit to Jack for all the photos, he had my camera for the day.

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Last edited by trail_blazer3; 08-10-2015 at 11:20 PM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 12:40 AM
Dru
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When bivis reared their ugly head
They boldly turned their tails and fled?
Bold, bold Sir Mauro.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 02:15 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Cool trip report, got any pictures of the off width on the South Spire? I've heard how awkward it can be.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 09:32 AM
DPM
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Couple of Jack's photos. Second one is of Mauro battling the beast.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dru View Post
When bivis reared their ugly head
They boldly turned their tails and fled?
Bold, bold Sir Mauro.
We boldly fled, and not a moment too soon,
For an unplanned night out would involve a spoon
With grit and chutzpah, down we fled
As we three gents desired our own beds.
Bold indeed!

Last edited by trail_blazer3; 08-11-2015 at 09:39 AM. Reason: deleted photo
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-12-2015, 12:56 AM
Scaling New Heights
 
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Wow superb trip! Definitely adding this to my list!
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-12-2015, 03:06 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPM View Post
Couple of Jack's photos. Second one is of Mauro battling the beast.

Haha oh wow! thanks for the pictures, this is the last one I need outta the 3 for that very reason. looks like fun once it's done
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-12-2015, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectrum View Post
Haha oh wow! thanks for the pictures, this is the last one I need outta the 3 for that very reason. looks like fun once it's done
There are options:

1) Get a rope gun, send him up there, and then you top rope it.
2) chuck a rope over the top of the feature, prussik your way up. The first ascent of the Lost Arrow Spire in Yosemite was done in similar fashion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Arrow_Spire)
3) bring a 15-20 ft aluminum ladder.

And if anyone's interested, bring a fishing rod. A black metolius cam awaits in the depths of the summit block (Don's cam of course).
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-12-2015, 02:28 PM
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I feel Blissfully em-Bold-ened consuming such Bold narrative! And supporting type face? Bravo!
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-14-2015, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
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I forgot one key detail in this story.

Jack is a foreigner. From the UK originally, and was residing in New Zealand until he got a 2 year visa for Canada. He's not used to scary animals that can kill you, and is afraid of bears.

I told him there were no grizzlies in the area, and some black bears, but he needed to be extremely careful of Canadian Drop Bears. The kind that can see you hiking through the forest and then drop on you and smother you to death. The kind that build nests only in thick tree cover. The kind that can also roll extremely fast downhill and take you out, and then smother you again.

The entire hike in and out, he kept a careful watch. Don and I carefully explained their habitat, behaviours, and diet.

Jack survived the day, and there were no encounters with Canadian Drop Bears, and despite very careful observation, no sightings of nests or bears..

At home, his Kiwi missus laughed and laughed when he told her the story.
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