Aug 11, 2015
Inspired by a couple of excellent trip reports, I thought I'd test my comfort zone and try the west ridge of Beaujolais Peak.
Beaujolais-Merlot-Mystery-Valpolicella (a CT trip)
Mystery & Beaujolais (RichSo)
Directions in the Scrambles guidebook are spot on:
From the turnoff onto the Hurley River FSR, it's about 20km to the unmarked Hope Creek FSR. Not a fun drive. With my stiff suspension, my teeth were rattling non-stop on the relentless washboard. After 7km on the Hope Creek road, take a left. 5km to go, but although the road itself isn't bad, a couple of sections are bushy.
I parked at the landing, and headed down to cross the creek. Unfortunately, I picked up a set of flagging which led me astray. If you can find the tiny creek on the south side, there is a trail which I found on my return. You're aiming for a col south of the parking area. The flagging took me due east. Once I noticed I was off course, I worked my way back on track. Route finding is easy once you're up higher.
Gain the ridge to the east of the col. Traverse around the south side and the beautiful valley comes into view. Head due east.
Looking back at Brown Molar and Canine Peaks.
I'd been feeling very strange mentally on my last few hikes. Thinking about grizzlies, broken bones, being alone in the middle of nowhere, not really enjoying myself lately. Kind of a messed up head space. I think I've been hiking solo too much.
But, the sunshine in the beautiful valley and all the marmot whistles were perking me up, and I jauntily strode through the grasses and flowers.
That is, up until I began nearing the crux.
I had done my research, examined photos, knew I had the ability, and I had a change of underwear. But it doesn't change my lizardbrain emotional response to exposure. I think the climb only lasted 30 seconds as I scurried up the grippy slab with no thought to aesthetic grace. Being solo, I didn't even have to mask my whimpers of fear.
There was a beautiful grassy ledge where I lay down in fetal position to catch my breath and suck my thumb for comfort. The hard part was done. Or was it?
Continuing up, I made the mistake of going straight up the small pinnacle. Backtracked a wee bit to easier terrain and headed for the headwall. I started climbing but it became increasingly vertical. Clearly not moderate scrambling terrain. Tried again slightly to the right. Again, into technical climbing terrain. Dropped down and tried a 3rd time even further to the right. This time, it went through, and there was even a cairn at the top (presumably to help find the descent from the top).
The summit is roomy and flat with outstanding views in every direction. I spent some time here enjoying some sunshine and lunch.
For the descent, I had planned to do the long non-technical ridge. A fine return walk with great views sounded like just what I needed.
I came upon the route described by a previous party and changed my original plan. The talus slope looked good, and turned out to be a very fast descent option. Fairly solid too.
A photo showing my route:
Hiking in, I stayed too high, and ended up having to bushwhack through some thick vegetation. For the return, I had a great visual of the terrain and could avoid all the thickets by staying a bit lower. It adds a tiny bit of extra elevation work, but walking through grass and heather is definitely preferable.
The climb of Beaujolais Peak is well described in the Scrambles guidebook, however, it doesn't mention that the peak can be summitted simply by hiking up.
: Work your way up blocky talus aiming for a point on the ridge about 700m south of the summit (easy scrambling).
: Access the south-west end of the ridge via grassy slopes. The ridge is about 2km in length.
1,170m cumulative elevation gain
My route is in red. Green route is borrowed from a previous party (see Bivouac
I enjoyed a cool drink at the car, scared some Grouse on the road, and then drove the rattly road back to Pemberton. Overall, I put almost 400km on the vehicle on this trip, and spent just as much time driving as I did hiking. Sheesh!