I gave my #1 partner the option of a few mountains we could do. Most were from the prominence list that I have been hitting hard as of late. In the end Katie chose Mamquam. I remember reading about the reports when it was popular to do on Clubtread and the era of the BCMC putting in the trail and log bridge to Darling Lake and then being forced to take it down. After that many years went by and it was never on my mind. That's the beauty of having a list, it gets you to places you normally never would go ( Stoyoma ) for example.
Katie and I rarely head up the Sea to Sky corridor and the morning traffic for both of us to get to the church reminded us why. 7am meeting was great for me getting sleep from work the night before but pushing it for tunnel and bridge traffic. We both got to vent our frustrations and then soon enough put it behind us. The drive to the Watersprite was fine for her CRV. We had a game to guess how busy the trailhead would be. She was closest at around 10 cars overnighting and more showing up as we geared up. The BCMC have asked people to stay away from the lake area it has become so popular and overrun. Good luck with that.
The work they have done for the first portion is nice, that's what happens when you make a lake so accessible. We arrived at our turn off spur and it soon become rough and green. Perfect, just what we are used to. Eventually we came to the famous au cheval log crossing. It's seen alot of butts and it's been quite polished from these butts. It's still awkward and slow but at least no splinters.
Once across the trail gets right down to business. Even though it was supposed to be decommissioned it has a bunch of new flagging and a fairly decent footbed in place. It's possible to lose it briefly here or there but the flagging is good enough to find it again. When we arrived in the alpine there are a few different ways to get to Darling Lake, some stay high on the ridge then drop down, or you can kind of side cut the ridge. As we side cut the slope the views opened up and Darling Lake came into view.
The mosquitoes were terrible around the lake, we couldn't stop to enjoy it, a quick sunscreen and bug spray break and off we go. This is where I thought we were doing the North glacier route and Katie thought we were doing the South glacier route. I started up the boulder field heading for the North notch until she said something. Woops! we talked it over and agreed to go with her South route. It really didn't hurt us, just meant abit of a sidehill to get to where we were supposed to be. Once we got back on track the boulder field up from the lake was one hell of a slog. The boulders stayed put for the most part but it just seemed to take forever.
Once we put the boulder bash behind us, we finally hit some snow and the mosquitoes were gone. Thank god, we can have our first real break and enjoy it and strap on the crampons.
We took a snow finger and direct line to head for the South notch that allows for access to the Southern icefield. I zigged and zagged my way up the slope trying to make some nice generous switchbacks.
It was pretty cool to get through the shitty loose notch and then look across at the icefield. So big and vast, it makes you feel so small and there were only a few tiny slots showing and 1 big one higher up that was easily avoided. We walked across and up the glacier and started to wrap around Mamquam's to get to the start of the South ridge.
The start of the route is loose and kinda shitty, but within no time the class 3 comes into play. It's a pretty big ridge/face route so there are multiple ways to get up. I was surprised at how long the scramble was and the views you got along the way. Normally the time on rock is so short to the summit but this kept going and was a blast.
It was one of our longer ascent times we have done, we signed the register and got some food in us and had a decent break. The day we definitely getting on and I wasn't sure how long the downclimb would take. The main concern was just to get back to the log crossing before dark. Anything after that is fine via headlamp.
We still had lots of daylight so we didn't have to rush, we just went down at a steady pace and instead of doing the boulder bash to the lake, we did abit more distance of zig zags searching out snow fingers that we could glissade down on. Worth it for being faster and nicer on the joints.
The walk out past Darling lake got us our last worthwhile views and then after that it's nothing more than forest straight down to the log crossing. I crossed half of it and then decided to just jump off it and walk across the creek. Didn't really remember it was still a chunk of km's to do with wet feet woops. Katie did the bum shimmy across but really was working at it to get across.
We got back to the car with still some light left, a young couple had setup their tent next to the extremely nasty outhouse. Super romantic location! Katie busted out a bbq and some propane and burger patties to cook up. Who is this girl! simply amazing! She grilled em up and we had a few parking lot beers to end the trip. What a gal!