Club Retread was in full effect for this trip. 2 guys in their 70's (Dblair on Clubtread and Ted Oliver) 1 guy in his late 50's(Mick Range) and then me trying to bring the average age down abit at 36. The good ol boys were tossing around a bunch of ideas of where to go, I haven't been out that much this summer, so I was keen with whatever was decided. In the end Callaghan won out because on paper it looked like a mellow trip. HA! little did we know....
We met at the Church in N.Van and all piled into my Honda Accord at 5:45am, 4 backpacks and 3 beer coolers, the beer coolers should be included in the 10 essentials. Once we started up the Callaghan FSR my car wasn't liking the cross ditches, to a point where the 3 guys had to get out with the hopes the weight would give me a bit more clearance. We came upon one that was scraping the hell out of my undercarriage and the nose was diving into the exiting wall. We figured we only had about 2.5km to walk so we just parked and started walking. Well it's a good thing we didn't know how far we actually were from the trailhead, because it turned out to be alot farther than 2.5k ( 1hr of walking)
Finally we reached the trailhead, crossed the bridge and followed the very well marked trail.
We arrived at the Journeyman Lodge and Conflict Lake. Pretty nice looking lodge but nobody was home.
After that we started up the meadow towards Ring Lake, it was around this time I think Ted got fed up with the lack of views which were smothered by thick forest fire smoke. " Does anybody know where we are going or are we just fucking wandering around meadows" That line cracked me up.
The headwall upto Ring Lake still has the yellow poly rope in place and the ladder. Very useful!
Upon reaching Ring Lake we could just barely make out our mountain. We talked over what line we wanted to take and up we went.
We crossed over a perfect stream to fill up our waterbottles. No fancy filters needed, no drops, no tablets, just fine cold mountain water.
The route up the heather to the base of the mountain was relentless, it was STEEP! When we all reached the plateau Mick said it was only another 350m in elevation to go. Dblair has already been up Callaghan before, he did it back in the day via boat and then up the glacier, maybe he will put up some pics, anyways he wasn't feeling good at all and made the wise decision to pull back and go back down to chill at Ring Lake while we pushed on.
From this point on it would be no more heather or dirt, it would be boulder hoping, and scree bashing , and Russian roulette with pretty much every rock.
Eventually we got a look at the summit block and the jing heap ( That's for you Burndug) of a route to the top.
The 3 amigos topped out, and enjoyed the fact that the summit was at semi solid, but loose enough for some wicket boulder trundles. We took the group shot, ate some grub, played around on the pinnacle next door and went down after 25 min uptop.
Not much to report on the trip back to Ring Lake where we met up with Denis, who was in good spirits and feeling better. Once the gang was back together, the walk back to Journeyman Lodge was actually quite enjoyable.
The walk from the lodge back to Callaghan Lake seemed endless and was just on auto pilot. I have a feeling everyone else felt the same, since there wasn't alot of talking anymore.
We had the hopes there would have been someone at the lake and campsite that would give us a lift down to our car, no such luck as there wasn't a soul around. So we prepared ourselves for zombie mode. Eventually the headlamp came out, people were hallucinating saying they could see the car up ahead when nothing was there. 5.5km later we finally found it.
The conditions on this trip were pretty gross....breathing in smoke all day, HOT humid temps, bugs with no bug spray, loose rock, ~33km on foot BUT! who cares they can't all be easy, we set out to do what we wanted to do, we got in some good exercise, and most importantly were out doing what we like to do, with good company. The reward was the 3 coolers full of beer to drink on a logging road while eating Doritos and beef jerky. These old timers kick ass and are still hardcore in my books to be riding on the open trunk of the car down the FSR at night while drinking a beer, all the while pondering if they saw themselves doing these types of trips in their 70's. Awesome!
Be sure to check out Mick's link to his blog for MUCH MUCH better pictures and account of the trip which he will have in his reply.