To access Part 1, go to: https://forums.clubtread.com/27-brit...ly-2018-a.html
We had just seen Alastair disappear over the crest of the SE Ridge of Monmouth Mountain. The waiting began.
After some 20 minutes, we heard Alastair whooping to indicate he had reached the summit – he had first erroneously climbed a subsummit, wasting time doing so, but was able to successfully ascend the main summit. He signed his name in the register and, without reading the other entries nor taking any pictures, he began his retreat. For us below, it seemed forever until he finally reemerged on the skyline. Then began his exposed downclimb, which was quite dramatic as the rocks he cleared from his way crashed hundreds of feet below. Finally we were all reunited so as to begin our glacier decent.
Especial care had to be maintained as we went down the crevassed area – the lead climber aware that a slip by him very well might not be arrested by the others, resulting in a fall by all.
As we reached open ice and we finally unroped, the sun began to descend below the opposite ridge and the sky became soft and pale.
Next morning (Wednesday), the sky was again clear. Today, it was thought that we’d take it a little easy. After breakfast, our food was hung back up in its bear-proof loft……
……and we returned to the Tchaikazan Glacier.
About three kilometres up the glacier, we parted into two groups – Jeff and Alastair to Corner Peak (9,905’/ 3,019m) and Dean and myself to Rock Island Peak (9,744’/ 2,970m). Jeff and Alastair became separated during their ascent, and a little past noon, we heard Jeff whoop to indicate that he had reached their summit.
Meanwhile Dean and I reached our high point on Rock Island Peak, having deciding that the last few metres to the true summit were too exposed for our liking. (Actually, neither of us really had a good look at those final metres, and it is likely that they could have been easily surmounted. Mountain climbing is a peculiar pastime!)
Then we decided to traverse across the south face to reach the east col so as to also climb Corner Peak. This traverse involved climbing across a seemingly endless series of ridges and gullies.
Now, Dean is a nimble and strong hiker, and he is 35 lbs lighter than Robin! During this traverse, it was discovered that no one can move as effortlessly and with such foresight as Dean. During this traverse, it was also discovered that these rocks, even though having sat right there for thousands of years, were not as stable as would be assumed. One of them, the size of a living room chair, was round, and when gently nudged, it quickly rolled out, releasing all of the rocks held behind it, and on these rocks stood a climber. The climber was thrown, rocks tumbled over a leg, several owies were sustained, and a bruise the size of a large beach ball expanded to cover both hemispheres of a hinder.
(Alas, no picture of the hinder.)
As we ascended Corner Peak, we encountered both Alastair and Jeff on their descents. Dean and I added to Jeff’s entry to the summit register. The last posting had been eleven years earlier – in 2007.
Looking back from the summit of Corner Peak towards Rock Island Peak and beyond…..
With one more day (Friday) remaining for climbing, we had much discussion as to what to do next. Our original plan had included Altruist Mountain (10,052’/ 3,064m) as a possible objective, and Alastair was gunning for it. Jeff had had enough crevasses to disturb his sleep and didn’t want to pack any more images into his dreams – he pressed for Spectrum Peak (9,459’/ 2,883m). The one with flesh wound on his leg and an inflated sitting apparatus, abstained from voting since he suspected that his injury would prevent him from any further strenuous travel. Dean wavered, until his rational mind realized that there likely would not be enough time to make a serious attempt on such a demanding mountain as Altruist.
Knowing readers will easily imagine this discussion! And, knowing readers will have already guessed that it concluded with an agreement to attempt Spectrum Peak.
On Thursday, we packed up our camp and reluctantly began hiking down the Valley. Before we departed, however, the bandages covering the wounds of injured leg had to be fortified - the result was a replication of one of the Tin Man’s lower appendages.
It was with reluctance that we departed the beautiful and wild place that had been our home for these four days. The adventure, however, was not over yet, for we had planned to only hike down as far the crossing of Spectrum Creek so as to be in position to ascend Spectrum Peak.
Soon we were back in the bugs and back in the bushwhacking. Forest fire smoke now tempered the brilliance of the sun – it was certainly not as hazy as we all experienced the following month in August, but nevertheless, the sharpness of the views was now dulled. We all marvelled in the beauty, marvelled that we were at that moment the only human visitors within this entire Valley.
You can see this sense of tranquility in Jeff.........
To take the following photograph, Alastair waited out the mercurial swirlings of cloud and smoke until at last the sun briefly shone, illuminating the quietude.
L to R: Monmouth Mountain, Friendly Peak, Moose Mountain (9,459’/ 2,883m).
We set up our next camp on the far side of Spectrum Creek. In the morning (Friday), we began by hiking the short distance to the outfitter’s cabin, yet once there we unable to find the horse trail up to Spectrum Pass. A short section of bushwhacking ensued, and it wasn’t long until we were happily on the trail.
Up we went into a most delightful alpine valley, replete with every flowering plant of the Coast Mountain Range. Most of these were indeed in flower. The open meadows were a welcome change from the ice and rock of the past few days.
Much discussion was had while poring over the map: where was our mountain? Bets were placed with Jeff losing a future pop to Alastair.
From the meadows, we ascended sandy slopes to gain a rounded ridge from which we climbed an obvious gully and up the SW aspect on interestingly nubby (and solid) volcanic rock to gain the summit.
We retreated to the rounded ridge where had each a sound snooze in the warm sun.
Then it was time to descend. Back in the meadows, we lay about, just living and living and living in the very moment of the present.
A Western Toad encountered human counterparts…
Back at the tents, the realization set in that the Expedition would soon be over. Each of us had a hankering for fresh fruit, steak, vegetables, a clean and comfortable bed; yet all four of us were not eager to leave this lovely, wild, and exquisite Valley.
Where we had been during this week had enabled us to become a vibrant expression of ourselves. Across Spectrum Creek lay the upper Tchaikazan Valley; across that creek was the space within which lay our fulfillments. There, up the Valley, was the world in which we had no need to create anything to validate our existence.
And downstream? There lay the work, there lay the world in which we create our place, there lay the environment in which we strive to establish our identity.
On Saturday, we were away early. Jeff’s vehicle was reached before noon. After a bath in a nearby creek, we drove over to see Chilco Lake. Unfortunately, wildfire smoke prevented us from being able to see much more than the lake’s surface. Off we scooted to Williams Lake for a steak dinner. That evening we again camped near Spences Bridge, at the same spot as we had done so at the beginning of the trip. The following day, we were home.
Thank you TCHAIKOVSKYS! Dean, Alastair, and Jeff, that was a marvelous trip: you were thoroughly great comrades! And now we can start planning next year’s expedition.