There are only 3 trip reports on Clubtread from 2014 (3 day trip) then 2008 16hr trip, 2011 2 day trip and peakbagger.com from 2018 where it took the guy 9hrs to get just to the top. What all these have in common are they went in via the Hurley and all mentioned alder hell. Bivouac and Clubtread have the same report where it was done as a 2 day trip from the South from the 80's. This made more sense if the logging roads were in shape so me and Katie decided to take a chance. With no info to go on we looked at the topos and Google Earth and picked the logging roads we would want to try and off we went Sunday afternoon into a trip of unknowns. The North Creek FSR that branches off the Lilloett FSR was in excellent condition. In the end we were able to drive to the highest road we wanted to be on and parked literally under our desired route.
I slept in the bed of the pickup truck and Katie set up a hammock, a couple hours sleep and then we are off at 5:40am. We tried to follow the older trees on the way in which worked fine, minor blow downs on the way down we bashed through the cut block which worked out equally as good. Eventually we hit the start of the steep slope now it's something like 900m straight up. All the terrain is pretty much the same so only line up works. Eventually we hit snowline and it had frozen overnight just enough to get abit of purchase to be able to cut in and bootpack.
The first hurdle was trying to get into the bowl that is below Zorah. Where we hit ridge was where we wanted to drop in but the cornices prevented this from happening but it did mean we had a nice view of Sampson. Now we would have to head West until we could find a weakness. Abit of extra distance and elevation was needed to find this but not bad considering. After dropping into the bowl it was nice just a gentle rising contour cutting directly below Zorah following the obvious line staying as high as possible. Unfortunately it's not a direct shot to the Glacier below Sampson. It has it's ups and downs but all fairly minor.
Once we reached the spot where we would drop down the to glacier we took a fairly long break looking at the route up, and filling the bladders with snow. The mountain and route up looked impressive, I had to tell Katie everything looks bad from far away. And this held true again. Once on the glacier we intersected where the Scrambles book meets up therefore no need to explain the route up.
We made our way to the base of the gully. The runnel to our left was at least 12ft high in places. The snow was starting to soften up but there was still hard solid snow underneath. So an extra kick had to be used with every kick to ensure a safe enough step as the run out and fall line were quite nasty for the whole duration of the face. I'm sure in the summer it's better to take the left gullies or what not, but we had good snow so we took the gullies that trended right.
We topped our directly below the higher eastern summit thank god because snow condtions on the summit ridge were major postholing. The West one is abit more impressive especially with those cornices but lower so no sense in tagging that one. I was fairly certain our summit would have a major cornice as well so we found one partially covered rock, cleared it off, sat down and stuffed our faces with food and water. 7hrs 40min up. We had a good 45min break but knowing we still had a long way to get home couldn't linger any longer.
no good spot to setup a self timer so summit selfie was required, can't wait for no more snow.
The snow by now was becoming heavily saturated, it worked in our favour as the hell plunges were now bucket steps with a solid base. The descent was fast, a few spots it was too steep to face out and snow still solid so facing in was needed. Katie who is still very new to this kinda trip and conditions handled it great.
I crossed a runnel and about 30 seconds later Katie yelled at me to look up and next thing we see is a fairly good sized soaking wet avalanche come over the rocks and into the runnel raging by like a river. The initial wave was quite abit, and then it just kept coming slowing like a creek of snow for a good couple minutes. Unfortunately Katie had to cross it to get to me. After it finally stopped, I've never seen her move so fast on snow to get across it haha!
Back near the base of the gully we found a water source, acknowledge our sunburns even though we had been applying 50spf more than I usually do. It was a hot hot day with no cloud cover and snow travel. The uphill section from the glacier I had me second bonk of the day, get a gel pack in me and it picked me up like they usually do. Katie was still going strong as I watched her pull away from me until the gel could work its magic. The ups and down were slightly demoralizing but spirits were still high from how well the day was going so it didn't matter.
After making it out of the bowl and hitting Zorah's ridge it was now a straight show all the way down to the truck. 900m straight down was punishing but the footbed was pretty decent. The mosquitoes the night before were terrible, and the closer we got to the road they started to show up. When we arrived at the truck there was no time to get changed, no time to hang out, we literally threw our gear in the truck and drove down road.
There is a section on the lillooet FSR that the river branches off. We pulled over, and went for a dunk, and washed off, back to the truck for the warmest can of Cariboos beer we've ever had and it's never tasted so good. Even though she's new to this, she's a true peakbagger and brings cheap beer. That's a solid partner!