Sproatt Alpine via Callaghan - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2015, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Default Sproatt Alpine via Callaghan

After a tiring Wedgemount hike on Tuesday, off we went on Wednesday, on a 4x4 excursion up the Callaghan FSR, past the abandoned Northair mine, thence into low-range for a serious crawl up the tote road to the Sproatt Alpine area. This is the track used by Canadian Wilderness Adventures for their jeep tours and winter snow machine adventures. While the FSR to the Northair is modestly a 4x4 path, the turnoff up the branch road near the Northair site soon becomes a most demanding 4x4 route indeed.

The first few kms of bumpy, loose surface was handled readily by our Jeep in high range, but don't try this in much lesser rigs. You'll soon run into steeply ascending, narrow and truly rough stuff that will have you wishing for a pull out, which you won't find. The latter portion of this access road is heavy duty 4x4 driveable only. Be warned.

Although we could've gone further, for this trip we ended up parking at a good spot prior to the last, and worst 1.5 km of tote road (red track on map). The hike from there to the TH is a pleasant, if good climb, through mature Mtn hemlock-Balsam forest.

Once you do reach the TH you'll be knocked out by the superb trail (green track on map) upgrading efforts of the RMOW et al crew, of which MSULKERS is a part. This is great work with a well built path right into the sub-alpine yielding splendid views of Rainbow Mtn, Sproatt Mtn, Gin Peak etc.

Excellent scrambly stuff abounds, along with vistas of Sproatt lake, Tonic Lake etc. We tracked our progress to the end of the new trail, then just wandered around. A great day, and so much nicer than that grunt up from Function Junction.

Here's some maps of the route


About the only good parking spot way up the road on the way to CWA cabin. This is about 1.5 km from the TH


Trailhead


Well built new path, somewhat parallel to the old trail


Sproatt Lake


Views of back of the Callaghan


Tarn below Gin Peak area


Gin Peak (left) with Tonic lake and Rainbow Mtn in the frame


View of the Tusk from the trail
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2015, 10:45 AM
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Glad to see you guys got up there after all Gin and Tonic will have to be a future trip...and perhaps it should be a Gin and Tonic party? We could make this a "thing"
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2015, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Glad to see you guys got up there after all Gin and Tonic will have to be a future trip...and perhaps it should be a Gin and Tonic party? We could make this a "thing"
Gin + Tonic Party? mmmmmm now, that's hiking! A Clubtread event to rival all others, assuming we can pack up enough ice cubes

Beautiful terrain up there with a day's worth of ridges, easy peaks and killer views. We had a spectacular day and not one person up there but for us and the trail crew fella running the little backhoe.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2015, 12:03 PM
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This is an interesting access option. Thanks for all the beta - I've been collecting it all in my brain. I'm in for the G&T party
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2015, 01:12 PM
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Nice trip. I thought you had a white Cherokee TH? I'm still thinking about that vehicle sometime in the near future.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2015, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Nice trip. I thought you had a white Cherokee TH? I'm still thinking about that vehicle sometime in the near future.
Hey Simon, yes I did have a white 2014 TH. Oddly enough i was so blown away by it that I traded it in LOL! Seriously, the 2014 TH was outstanding but I wanted more options, such as the seat heaters/ass-coolers, seat memory and factory installed 7/4 pin trailer hitch. Also, the 2015 was slightly re-engineered to add another inch of undercarriage clearance. My local jeep dealer offered pretty much a no-lose trade in so I put up the extra cash and went for the fully loaded 2015. Also ponied up for the 5 year bumper-to-bumper warranty as i plan to keep it for some time.

Except for the ridiculously annoying start/stop 'feature' (which can be turned off when vehicle is started) I'd rate the 2015 Trailhawk (with the larger 3.2 L engine) as among the top 4x4 rigs I've ever had. That's a lot of 4x4's we're talking about having leased/owned over 100 of them in my former forestry/engineering business. This jeep handles nice and sporty on the highway but crawls like a cat on the worst back roads. It's not a Wrangler Rubicon, but it's a close as you'll get in a comfy smaller SUV. Downside? They are expensive vehicles when fully loaded

It's a pretty little rig, though

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Last edited by xj6response; 08-21-2015 at 01:46 PM. Reason: missed word
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2015, 02:17 PM
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Northair site soon becomes a most demanding 4x4 route indeed.
"Most demanding" - seriously? What is there 3 baseball sized rocks on the way up instead of the usual 2?
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2015, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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"Most demanding" - seriously? What is there 3 baseball sized rocks on the way up instead of the usual 2?
Arni!! no 4x4 discussion would be complete without an Arnold invective ... and yes, not that there were many exposed boulders but that the track is steep in places, loose surfaced, narrow, with some quite low radius twists/turns and dick in the way of pull outs. Plain fun for the ballsy among us but not a route for the AWD subaru's, nissans, Kia's and other off-road wannabe's ....

As an 4x4 route right to the TH it was a hoot.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-23-2015, 07:01 PM
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Sounds interesting, might have to have a look someday.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-23-2015, 10:40 PM
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There certainly are a lot of nice views along that ridge line, shame that the new access is 4wd only.

Fingers crossed that I can get back up there to bag Tonic & Sproatt before the days get too short.

Semper fudge
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 08-24-2015, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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There certainly are a lot of nice views along that ridge line, shame that the new access is 4wd only.

Fingers crossed that I can get back up there to bag Tonic & Sproatt before the days get too short.
it's a sweet area up there, a playground of moderate peaks and great views. I know some folks who hiked up the road after parking their X-trail near the bottom. it's doable for sure but a long, sun-exposed grind up a steep road....ugh...I loathe road crawls.

for those without a solid 4x4 it might be possible to group hire Canadian Wilderness Adventures to drive them up there in one of their kitted out 4 door Jeep Rubicons. in that case a group could hike all day up there and hike down the trail to Function Junction, where they could have their vehicle waiting near Olives market

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post #12 of (permalink) Old 08-24-2015, 03:03 PM
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A couple of friends wanted an alpine hike, not too difficult, not too easy, with views and close to home. Thank you xj6response, your report was so perfectly timed! We approached the same way using the excellent directions and hiked up to Tonic Peak. We then dropped down into the valley for a quick look at Gin & Tonic Lake. Normally, the valley seems like it would be a mushy bog, but the supremely dry weather made it a pleasant grassy ramble. From there, up a creek to the south sub-"summit" of Gin Peak. Then back towards the trail, stopping briefly at a pond.

A couple of notes:
- we respected the sign and parked on the road before the steeper final section.
- saw a pair of motorcycles (not trials bikes) coming up on our return. I waved but they didn't nod or wave back (either they knew they weren't supposed to be there, or they were just grumpy).
- trail is unfinished, but looking very well done!
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 08-24-2015, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by guntis View Post
A couple of friends wanted an alpine hike, not too difficult, not too easy, with views and close to home. Thank you xj6response, your report was so perfectly timed!

A couple of notes:
- we respected the sign and parked on the road before the steeper final section.
- saw a pair of motorcycles (not trials bikes) coming up on our return. I waved but they didn't nod or wave back (either they knew they weren't supposed to be there, or they were just grumpy).
- trail is unfinished, but looking very well done!
So glad you enjoyed it and kudos to whomever dove into the water

The trail machine operators access their work site with on/off road motorcycles. Perhaps that was them? At any rate, it will be some kind of annoying if trail bikes end up riding around up there and bugger up the trail and alpine terrain.

This route is likely to become a fave of ours, what with the moderate terrain, great views and not too far to get to. We loved it up there, just wandering around for a few hours. We may do another trip in mid September, weather permitting. If so, we may have to take the advice of MASIAR and haul up a small, frozen thermos of Gin and Tonic (with crushed ice, of course) .... my 'brand' is Bombay Sapphire .... mmmm .... yours?

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