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-   -   The Stein serves up another slice of humble pie, Caltha Peak (https://forums.clubtread.com/27-british-columbia/86634-stein-serves-up-another-slice-humble-pie-caltha-peak.html)

Wandering Tree Frog 09-05-2017 01:10 PM

The Stein serves up another slice of humble pie, Caltha Peak
 
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. T. S. Elliot

For several years, I've had the ambitious idea of going into the Stein and linking all the scrambles in one monumental push. Last year, I made an attempt and limped away with Shields Peak in an exhausting 24 hour push. This year I went for round 2.

Nate picked me up after work on Friday. We battled long weekend traffic, and with a pit stop in Squamish, we arrived at the trailhead at 9 pm. Neither of us is a stranger to night hiking, we quickly geared up and hit the trail.

There's not much to see in the dark, the old road is just as long, boring and monotonous as ever. We must of been wearing jet packs as we covered the 12km to Lizzie Lake in 2 1/2 hours. We'd brought sleeping bags but no tent so we just threw down open bivy in the campground, I slept on the same table as last year, warmer in a sleeping bag this time but the table hasn't got any more comfortable.

Morning came soon enough, we had a leisurely wake up around 6am. Packed, fuelled, and moving at 7, we got a good sweat going on the climb from the lake to the "gates". Through the "Gates of Shangri la", we reached the cabin just after 8. A mini break here to fuel and set course, off towards Tundra/Caltha.

Up past the waterfall, around Arrowhead Lake, up again above Heart Lake and below the scramble peaks of Anemone and Tabletop. We gained the ridge east of Tabletop Mtn and realized the scale of this place. The alpine here is huge.

The drop to Cherry Pip Pass looked big and we knew a few hours after that descent, we'd be coming right back up. There are no straight lines in the Stein, horizontal or vertical. Despite the short distances the map and GPS were showing, it took until noon to reach Caltha Lake. Another break to fill out water, we decided on trying Caltha Peak.

Up the trail that leads towards Figure Eight Lake, as that trail flattens and wraps around the mountain we turned off and headed up. Soon we picked up cairns and roughly followed them. The route on Caltha isn't very difficult technically or in route-finding so in 2 hours we're on top.

I'm pretty knackered at this point so we decide against descending towards Tundra Peak. We reverse our ascent, stopping for dinner at Caltha Lake. We grind up to Cherry Pip Pass, where we see the first people since leaving the truck. More relentless uphill from Cherry Pip towards Tabletop mountain. We lose the sun here but it's plenty bright with moonlight.

We take a higher line, closer to Tabletop than the morning. It looks like a great scramble from this side and I really want to get on it, but it's just too late and dark. We pick up the trail and continue down in the darkness. At 10 pm, after 15 hours of near continuous movement, we drop our packs, pull out the mats and sleeping bags and crash for the night beside Arrowhead Lake. Despite our tired state, the bright moon and then a bazillion stars are seen between sessions of snoring.

Up the next morning, we pack and find a group camped beside us. Down the trail past the cabin where another party is gearing up for their day. Down to Lizzie Lake and then earbuds in, thankful my phone still has some battery life for the long slog down the old road. We arrive at the truck around 11am, for 21 hours of moving time total on the trip. Only one peak again but again I leave with plans to return, hopefully with better tactics for my linkup.

*my only good photos are panos, which this site won't let me post. If I get some good ones from Nate, I'll throw them up.

Wandering Tree Frog 09-05-2017 03:06 PM

1 Attachment(s)
https://forums.clubtread.com/attachme...1&d=1504638300

I managed to email to myself and reduce the file size. A workaround for the terrible picture uploaded here.

guntis 09-05-2017 03:58 PM

I love that sleeping on picnic tables has become your thing. :D

Chris S. 09-05-2017 07:39 PM

Your trip reports encourage me to get into shape! Your choice in locations are quite exotic as I've never heard of these areas before. Unfortunately I'm not experienced or skilled enough, as well as physically fit enough to conquer the same intriguing trails you've done. Thanks for posting this trip report, I'll look into this region and perhaps I can do something in the future!

Ryl 09-05-2017 08:05 PM

Good stuff. It's interesting to see how many people are hitting the Stein this year, it's really picking up compared to a few years back!

Tabletop is an alarming peak, having seen it drop a huge volume of rock off the back I'm super wary of it now.

Wandering Tree Frog 09-07-2017 12:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris S. (Post 811090)
Your trip reports encourage me to get into shape! Your choice in locations are quite exotic as I've never heard of these areas before. Unfortunately I'm not experienced or skilled enough, as well as physically fit enough to conquer the same intriguing trails you've done. Thanks for posting this trip report, I'll look into this region and perhaps I can do something in the future!

My trip reports make it sound like I'm in shape, which I don't feel. Most of the areas I visit are from the Scrambles in South West BC book. Though those peaks and many others can be found by reading old trip reports here.

As to skill and experience, yes I've done hundreds of peaks, comes with age. But I started at zero, just like everyone. Take your time, stay safe, and you'll get there too.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryl (Post 811146)
Good stuff. It's interesting to see how many people are hitting the Stein this year, it's really picking up compared to a few years back!

Tabletop is an alarming peak, having seen it drop a huge volume of rock off the back I'm super wary of it now.


Seems like words out that the access road has been cleared of that nasty alder. Anyone who wants to get in there, get on it, it will all grow back in a couple years.

As to rockfall, I learned to scramble in the Rockies, they drop plenty. Rockfall is just a fact of life in the mountains.

Mark_BC 09-07-2017 11:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wandering Tree Frog (Post 811330)
As to rockfall, I learned to scramble in the Rockies, they drop plenty. Rockfall is just a fact of life in the mountains.

Yeah up at Teepee Mtn. last weekend, in the morning a bunch of big rocks let loose on the talus slope. I just watched it gain momentum and was glad I wasn't in their path.

Spectrum 09-09-2017 12:38 AM

I'm really not looking forward to this area after reading most TR's on it! Well you're getting there!!!

WildAmanda 09-09-2017 08:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wandering Tree Frog (Post 810978)
[I]
We gained the ridge east of Tabletop Mtn and realized the scale of this place. The alpine here is huge.

Thanks for the TR. I was just in the area and found the opposite. I would look at something and think "ugh, that'll take awhile" and then BOOM I was up there lickity split. Not like in the Yukon where I would start walking towards something and hours later would not seem any closer than when I set out.

Chris S. 09-11-2017 08:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wandering Tree Frog (Post 811330)
My trip reports make it sound like I'm in shape, which I don't feel. Most of the areas I visit are from the Scrambles in South West BC book. Though those peaks and many others can be found by reading old trip reports here.

As to skill and experience, yes I've done hundreds of peaks, comes with age. But I started at zero, just like everyone. Take your time, stay safe, and you'll get there too.

Thanks for the encouragement! I started hiking and experiencing the outdoors only 2 years ago. I'll be sure to check out older trip reports or simply purchase the book you mentioned. Thanks again, perhaps we'll meet on a trail in the future!

MikeW 09-13-2017 12:16 AM

I went up lizzie lake road a few years ago before the alder was thinned out and again last year after it was thinned out, it makes travel up much quicker so now would be the time to visit if you ever wanted to.

WTF how did the decent look on the north ridge looking down? I was camped at the Tundra-Caltha col the first time I was in the area and I went up Tundra and was to tired to head up Caltha after but the north ridge looked fun from a distance. Also if you do go back up ascend Tundra from the south ridge not the scrambles route you will enjoy it a lot more.

Wandering Tree Frog 09-13-2017 12:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MikeW (Post 812505)
I went up lizzie lake road a few years ago before the alder was thinned out and again last year after it was thinned out, it makes travel up much quicker so now would be the time to visit if you ever wanted to.

WTF how did the decent look on the north ridge looking down? I was camped at the Tundra-Caltha col the first time I was in the area and I went up Tundra and was to tired to head up Caltha after but the north ridge looked fun from a distance. Also if you do go back up ascend Tundra from the south ridge not the scrambles route you will enjoy it a lot more.

I was up last year as well and it's definitely better without that alder bash before Lizzie Lake. Hopefully it stays like this for a few years, I'll be back and the snow might fly up there as early as tomorrow.

The descent down the North Ridge of Caltha looked involved from the summit. We were tempted to try it, but in the name of speed we decided to reverse the route we knew. I'm sure that north ridge is good, we might try it on another trip, just for fun.


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