Katie and I as usual had been tossing around ideas of where to go the night before that's just how we plan. We wanted to do some bigger trips except the weather this spring hasn't been co-operating. Vlad ( Culater) on Clubtread messaged me last minute looking to get out somewhere. This area has been on the back burner since last year when we heard about recent logging and not as bad alder to get upto Pinecone Peak. TMC who was in talks with Vlad wanted to hop on board as well. Next thing you know we have a solid group of 4. Big trips will have to wait.
We drove up the Mamqam and found our spur road, there was a ditch right at the bottom that the CRV definitely couldn't do. TMC gave it try in his Jeep SUV but it would have required throwing logs in it and knocking down the exit bank. Not worth the hassle so we parked 30m up the road. If you can get over the ditch, it's easy to drive to the top of the cutblock.
From here we would go through a mix of forest, hit a logging road covered in alder, do that for abit, bail into the forest again, hit the next level up logging road covered in alder, bail into the forest, hit the next level road until the road was finally snow covered so we stayed on it. There was a really long switcback that we just decided to bash straight up the cutblock. Even if roads are more distance and abit of extra time, they are still less effort. Maybe one day I will stick to that plan.
After the cutblock it's pretty straight forward to following the broad ridge until it narrows and you appear in the alpine. There are a few ups and downs but you can sense the view of Pinecone and Seed and the lake are gonna be worth it and they didn't disappoint.
We cut straight across Knothole lake, with Katie and I having a GPS tracking dick war to see who could make the best looking dick. The others had no part in this, maybe that's why we have become such good mountain partners in this past year, that we won't grow up and like to goof around. We would later rename the lake Nuthole Lake
TMC found his zone and lead up the slope from the lake to the start of Pinecone's ridge. We all regrouped and had abit of breather before the final push.
The ridge is a standard ridge, the snow was becoming abit sloppy and with one steep section with a long runout I decided to bootpack up it and then put snowshoes on again. Katie did the same, while the other two ditched the snowshoes.
The final section was very scenic and next thing you know we are all on the summit of Pinecone Peak looking down at Pinecone Lake and 360 views.
After a good 45min or more on the summit we started down, once back at the base of the ridge Vlad was already on his way to the lake, TMC was still with us and Katie and I were tossing around the idea of carrying onwards to see if the ridge connects to Seed. Abit of minor debating but the weather was good and we figured we were already here so why not. We said goodbye to TMC as he went to catch up toe Vlad and off we went.
Up we go to a high point on the ridge that had a cairn, then some ups and downs along the ridge, things were going good until it started to narrow, and become broken and bushy and steep. The topo showed we still had a about 60m to get to the base of Seed Peaks ridge but it didn't look like the ridge we go nicely. We backtracked to this gully I remembered seeing, we took it down about 40m until we found a spot we could traverse the face. This section was pretty rough, steep, cliffy and bushy. We had abit of luck on our side because after traversing the face we popped out onto another snow slope that would take us tho the base of Seed. That section ate up alot of time.
Now just 200m to go to the summit, the snow conditions were too steep of a sidehill for snowshoeing with a slight icy layer underneath. This resulted in me having to posthole the rest of the way.
It was a slow and steady 200m, running low on energy and spirits since that ridge traverse was more involved than we were hoping for we got to the summit of Seed. I think I said Good God and was just giggling for no reason. Katie showed up looking bagged as well, we plopped down on some dry rocks and started to eat and drink whatever we had left.
We really didn't want to go back up that ridge, there was a route I saw that would have worked, it just meant dropping abit lower on snow than our face traverse and taking a snow ramp back upto the upper ridge. But we both knew would could followe the Gillespie trail out and just walk back the mamquam. We didn't study the topo and I had no clue how many ups and downs were on that trail. There was even a 160m gain bump at one point. Not cool!
They logged this section last year and have pushed the road even higher than what is labeled in the 103 hike book. We saw a 10km marker and tried to convince ourselves that was 10km to somewhere farther than where our car was. It soon become apparent that this would not be the case and that marker would be accurate.
We chatted the whole way back and that 2hr + walk wasn't as bad as we thought. When the snow melts you can drive extremely high and the road is in mint condition. We got back to the car as the sun was setting, cracked a beer and laughed at how it turned into a 2 peak 30km day.