With good access right now I decided on another trip up the Eleven Mile Creek Valley. This time I was alone and I don't have a suitable vehicle for the deactivated road so I drove about 1.2 km up it and parked before the first decent hill. The pack was lighter as I knew snowshoes weren't needed and I could get extra water from creeks or snow. It took me about an hour to walk the road to where Justin and I had got stuck/parked the week before and further up the snow had melted beyond where I turned off into the forest next to a major creek.
I was initially following the route we took to Hatfield and well packed snow soon showed up as I steadily gained elevation near to the creek aiming for the lower bowl. As things levelled off, instead of trending right I continued straight and then a bit to the left to reach the southeast ridge of Macleod a little above it's col with Hatfield. Plenty of snow around but also lots of cloud with all summits not visible. Good snow conditions though as I head up the mostly open ridge.
An idea of the upper easy part of the ridge (rear left with snow) and what comes next (no snow). Taken during the Hatfield trip with Justin.
As I get higher and approach the reportedly class 3 upper SE Ridge my assessment is that it looks more than that. Probably doesn't help that the upper section disappears into cloud. No snow on the route of what I can see so after a quick break I get onto the rock and start scrambling. Paul K. has a good report on bivouac.com that I'd read and indeed things were in the class 3 (stiff at times) range. Occasionally a little searching was in order but by staying on the ridge or just left of it things went fine. A few small cairns were placed for the return trip and about half way up I can across an old large one.
Further up I got to the class 5 chimney and checked it out. With no pack a stem move would probably work but I knew an easier way was climber's left so I backed off and went to find it. There were also a couple of bushy sections but the branches were put to good use as climbing aids. Soon I was above the hard stuff and back onto some snow as I reached the shoulder where another large cairn and a wood branch tripod is. First views of the summit and there wasn't too much to see.
Named summit just ahead (right) with the slightly lower western peak far left hidden by cloud.
Easy enough from here to walk up to the top where not much can be seen. A couple of rocks suggest an old cairn but there's not much else around so I check my gps to confirm elevation so this is it. I rest for a short while but the views aren't improving. Looking westward the ridge disappears into the cloud but I decide to follow it and have a look at the 1m lower west peak (can be seen from Hope). I leave behind a couple of items and continue on. A small bump is easily traversed then I drop down a little to the col where the ridge narrows.
Travel is good and I pass a large block of rock before approaching a gendarme that I can skirt part of on the south (left) side. Some rock ledge traversing here so care is taken. Getting above a notch I have no choice but to go on the ridge crest again then downclimb (good rock and holds, some exposure) before starting up to the summit. Rock quality is reasonably good and this is another class 3 scramble just not as sustained as the southeast ridge. I reach the peak and again I'm stuck in a cloud. There's a larger cairn on this peak and I spot a pipe tube. Unfortunately the gasket didn't hold up as the log inside is waterlogged and moldy. I lay it out to dry but as it's all cloud around - didn't happen but there was an occasional clearing and short view.
First page entry - a few well known names from the BCMC (mid 2000s ascent).
In the cloud on Macleod W1 (2175m elevation).
Looking down the route taken on Macleod W1.
After 20 minutes or so I put the log back in the pipe, packed up and retraced my steps. Some loose rock around in places (holds were checked often), the notch was no problem and it seemed the cloud was trying to clear. Eleven Mile Valley not too bad but Eight Mile was totally socked in and sending cloud up and over.
Rocky ramp/ledge used on W1.
Back on the named summit I settled in for a hour long stay with hopes that things would clear up. Phone service (Bell) was pretty good. I had carried an old Nalgene bottle up with me and as this summit had no log that I could find, I wrote some words and left it under a small cairn built just off the summit.
I'd be curious to see how it holds up. The one Todd P. put on Snider had done well.
Some views to the southwest opened up: Ferguson Creek Valley lower left with Eaton Peak behind. Near right is Mount Coulter with Grant and Hanson behind it. Northgraves and Jeffrey are centre rear.
Finally some sun! 2176m summit shot.
It took a while but the cloud stopped billowing up out of Eight Mile and I could get a view of what I just did - Macleod West Peak (W1). Hope Mountain rear left and part of the town of Hope kind of visible rear right.
Here's a shot of both peaks from Hatfield the week before. Named summit on the left. Measured 1 metre higher than the more mountainous looking west peak and in this photo it looks higher too. I did some measurements when there and it was inconclusive. Both measured near the same height.
After an hour and some half decent views I packed up and wandered over to the cairned/tripod shoulder for a few more photos. Hatfield was finally visible but Outram still wasn't fully in view. This shoulder has some good grassy flat areas (with a few trees around) but no water sources apart any snow that is in the area.
The sun shines on Hatfield.
And a little on the west peak of Macleod. Route up is the ridge facing the camera.
Pulled back view of both peaks and the grassy meadow shoulder area.
Time was getting on and there's beer down there so I start to head back down the southeast ridge. I had a couple of small reservations and I hadn't brought along my rope (did have the ice axe but that ended up staying strapped to my pack the whole trip).
The view down from just below the shoulder.
And a view back up from somewhere down there.
Things went well with a couple of my small cairns helping out. One spot did involve some "hanging on to tree branches traversing above a cliff band" that didn't occur on the way up but otherwise it was all good and I'm back on the snow which shows fresh tracks from a deer or goat.
Looking back up the upper/scramble part of Macleod's SE ridge.
Hatfield, Manson and Outram along with some sunlit snow (kind of rare on this trip).
From here it's just a case of following my footprints down towards the col then into the bowl, descend through the forest and walk back down the road. A Ford Ranger 4x4 had been parked at the km 3 landslip on my way in and it was still there. Lower down I chatted with a couple of guys doing target practice with a hunting rifle and I was soon back at my vehicle cracking open a beer and reflecting on the day. Round trip was 10 hours which includes a couple of hours spent on the summits and the extra road walk (adds about an hour each way). See Hatfield TR if more info on the status of the road is required.
Here's a shot of the upper road and last year cutblocks. From the end of the road, Mount Manson and Johnson Peak are pretty close.
Map of area and route.
Also, the spelling of Macleod is with a small "l" on government maps and sites but other websites have spelt it with a big "L" - MacLeod.