Steven Song and I were throwing around some ideas of where to go. He suggested Begbie so I did a quick google search and saw this amazing ledge cutting across the face of a mountain and then a very nice looking scramble up a North Ridge. Consider me in! Adam aka Gimplator who Steven met this year would also be joining us from the Seattle area. Adam with around 1400 peaks to his name and Steven probably up near 700, so basically I would be rolling with the big dogs on this trip for my first overnighter. I went to MEC dropped a ton of cash on something to sleep on, and some food and some other basics. We left Surrey at 8pm on Oct 3rd, drove all the way to Revelstoke, parked at the Begbie trailhead 2wd where Steve slept in the car, and me and Adam slept in the tent.
A car rolled in around 6:30am, we didn't wake up till about 7:30am, a quick bite to eat,try to split up the weight evenly between 3 people and off we go at 8:00am with some heavy packs which I"m not used to at all. The trail upto the actual campsite is over 1300m elevation gain, but on fairly well built switcbacked trail. We wanted to camp higher up though at the base of the glacier so abit further we had to go with the heavy packs until finally we could dump the weight.
We could spot a party of 2 up on the glacier approaching the moat, while we were dumping our gear they turned around. The moat this late in the year can sometimes be a problem.
The glacier was open in places but looked pretty straight forward, since we had the gear we decided to do things the proper way for once, so a rope team of 3 it was. We met the group coming down, the girl didn't even have crampons on, the guy had a pair on and was super short roping her down. That explains why they couldn't cross the moat.
We were very lucky there was still a section of ice connected to the face, after some steep front pointing up, we walked right onto the ledge.
This is by far the coolest and best ledge I've ever seen. there are only 2 scary sections where alot of care is needed and a fall could happen. The first is a spot where you have to almost crawl under to get by, and the next is a spot where the wall pushes you outwards and you have to step out and around to get by. The first section Steve built an anchor and the second section is bolted.
Once by the tough spots you reach the N.Ridge. It's very well marked with cairns and the scramble is top notch. The fresh snow and verglas underneath it just meant alittle extra care was needed.
After some steep scrambling the ridge mellows out, and it's a grind to the summit. It is definitely nice to see some different views, looking across at the ski resort and the Monashee Mountain Range.
Heading down went very fast, guys didn't want to belay back across to the moat, so they decided to rap down the face to the glacier.
Our walk down the glacier was sweet, the sun was setting, the colours were really starting to pop with alpenglow.
Still light enough to cook some dinner and set up the tent for me and Adam, Steve just did an open bivy.
Day 2 we awoke to a beautiful sunrise shinning on Begbie, another quick breakfast and we were off for an exploration of Tilley since there wasn't much beta on it.
The first portion is talus and boulder happening and dropping in elevation, then arriving at the first lake and traveling on it's left side. After this lake you drop another 300m to the next lake and travel on its right side through some very steep and unpleasant terrain.
If you find the correct bench which we luckily did, it's a very long gradual traverse West to eventually hook up with the board ridge.
Nothing but a steep grunt up the ridge, until you finally hit the rock portion of the trip. The line follows the ridge the whole way, through ledges and cliff bands. There is one very exposed class 4 20ft step that Steve went up first, I followed and Adam preferred a belay, which Steve gave him.
After that a short distance later we topped out on Tilley which offered up some even better views than Begbie.
On the way down, I didn't want to downclimb the step and didn't want to wait around for the rope and 1 harness to rap down, so I swung way out West dropping down at any chance I could safely down until it was a heather sidehill back to the ridge. It worked out well and I was a fair distance below both of them. Steve downclimbed it to save his sling.
Finally back at the lower lake meant over 300m gain back up to our camp site. 1/4 into this I started to fade fast! 2 full days of sun and heat, heavy pack on day 1, a bad sleep, probably not enough water all caught upto me. The others were now a fair bit ahead, I needed to dunk my head in some water and rest in the shade. The boys were kind enough to hike ahead and then let me catch up. Thank god for a GU Gel and a cliff bar because by the time I reached camp I felt normal again.
We packed up all the gear and lifted the heavy packs and set off for our over 1300m descent back to the car. We were hiking out by headlamp, by the time we got to the car we were all tired so Adam whipped us up some dinner and then we spent another night at the trailhead. I learned alot on this trip from these two very experienced guys, they both helped me out at times, I made some newbie mistakes, but this was definitely a memorable outing.