Ever since I mentioned to AK a couple of years ago that there is a new trail heading up to Mt. Currie she has wanted to give it a try. I re-read most of the Currie trip reports on this site, including the numerous classics from Blackfly. Full respect to these guys that had to find their own way across the Green River and bushwhack up! We had Luna the dog with us so I figured the "Meadows" route that Muskeeto & co. did last year would be a better option than the scramble route.
So Friday afternoon we headed up towards Pemberton pulling into the Nairn Falls campground with a "Full" sign out front. Fortunately, a couple of friendly park service operators steered us to a site that someone had to vacate due to an emergency. We had an early dinner and a walk around the campsite, and I took note of the numerous empty sites with "reserved" on them, on this fine warm Friday evening. Saturday alarm was for 5am. We had to park the car outside the campground overnight because the gate opens at 7am. We had some quick oatmeal and coffee at a picnic table, trying not to wake the people sleeping in the parking lot.
We easily found the right road, crossed the Green River and after a few big waterbars we parked the car right before the creek that drains the basin south of Mt. Currie, and started hiking at around 6:30am. Hard core 4x4s could probably drive a bit further. After 15 minutes walk along a logging road that doesn't look used much we reach the "trailhead".
The trail is good and easy to follow. The temps were pretty warm but there were no bugs until we got out of the trees. We went right at the signed junction (1550m elev.) for the viewpoint. After passing a tent set up in a pretty nice spot, we stopped at a rocky bluff for a snack, with a good view of Pemberton.
Soon after this was the Cairn, where there was a good water supply and we refilled our water bottles. Here we left the marked route and headed south. We saw two people coming the other way, the owners of the tent. Great, I thought naively and optimistically, they are coming down from the summit already! No, they told us that they were on their way up, and got into a scrambly cliffy section and didn't think that it was the right way so they retreated. I suggested maybe to drop down 30m to a bench which looked like it was easier going southwards. I think a better route would be to bypass the cairn to the west and go up a ramp visible in GE, I think that's what Muskeeto & co. did.
Dropping down to the ramp, Whistler Valley and Black Tusk in the background:
The ramp was pretty easy going but soon there was some large talus which the dog had problems with.
A bit of elevation is lost here:
Soon we start heading up again and get into the meadows:
We sidehill ahead maintaining elevation, heading for the end of this basin. Lots of running water at the far end of the basin:
Fine walking, a bit sidehillish, marmots and horseflies were plentiful:
Eventually we find another good water source and fill our bottles. After this the going gets steep. We head up the green slope on the right and find a way through the cliffy section:
Then we're on the talus and slog up the last 300m to the summit ridge. The dog had an easier time on this smaller talus, than the earlier larger talus. However some of the rocks move so everyone has to pay attention.
The winds have been steady keeping us cool but on the summit ridge it is much windier and I have to tie down my hat. On the lee side of the ridge there was almost no wind.
Finally the summit is reached.
Hibachi Ridge Area:
Looking up the valley towards D'Arcy. Birkenhead and Whitecap visible center-right.
Cayoosh Mtn with Cassiope Peak in the foreground:
Nequatque (background-left) and Mt. Marriott:
St. Jacobs and Gideon:
Sootip far below with pointy Tinniswood in the distance:
Mystery Creek valley and the Weart area:
I was so busy taking pictures and eating lunch that I forgot to look for a summit register.
After 40 minutes we started the long trip down. The talus slope:
We start the long slog down the talus slope, trying to stay a more to the left than on the way up. The talus slope gets steeper before mellowing out on some grassy benches. Here we head right and sidehill towards the meadows.
We reach the water source and fill up our bottles again for the rest of the trip down. Again the meadows are very enjoyable, then the slight uphill and I thought we'd stay a bit lower near the cairn but there were a few obstacles. Further down we run into the couple we ran into earlier, at their excellent camp spot, and it sounds like they got up to Currie W1.
While descending the lovely forest with the sun setting down the Rutherford Creek valley and a brisk wind coming from the south, we listened to the loud engines from the Saturday night races at the track down below. Rev up, slow down, take the corner, rev up, slow down, repeat * 100. This went on for a couple of hours on the way down. I was counting down the elevation on my altimeter but I had forgotten about the horizontal trail and logging road at the end which was a bit of a slog. We finally got to the car as darkness was falling. The cold beer back at the car was so good it reminded me of the scene in Shawshank Redemption where Red & the other convicts have a couple of beers after tarring the roof. If I were to do this route again I would probably do it as an overnight, and figure out a better way to shortcut the cairn.