I keep bouncing back between trying to finish the top 51 Prominence list, or finish the Scrambles book. I decided I should focus abit more on the book so I still had Recourse and Clarke to do. I won't lie at some point in our planning we thought we might be able to do both in a day but as we were 75% done Clarke we realized there was no fucking chance of that happening.
Not too sure what time we started hiking but it was in the dark, we crossed Wulf's bridge over the creek and then wandered into a fresh cutblock that took over the old trail. Near the end of the cutblock it was abit confusing where to find the old trail but I'm sure at some point flagging will appear. We made it to Lower Statlu lake and kept on moving since we knew it would be a long day. The travel along the lake was as crappy as we remembered it from 1 year ago on our failed attempt of Clarke due to wet rock on the upper crux 100m shy of the summit. Today the bush was covered in dew so the first person ( me ) was nice and wet by this point.
We arrived at the Upper Statlu lake trail and started up. It's still a really nice trail at times, and other times it's kinda where did it go? It's steep and switchbacks but gets the job done. About halfway up, we decided to have our first 5min break. The trail goes to upper lake but we had a better route to get us to the drainage that takes us to the infamous waterfall. The temps on the day felt alot warmer than we were expecting for late September.
The waterfall forest thrash isn't that bad, all the branches are still clipped and it's well flagged. Once above the waterfall just head for the uppper basin below Recourse. From here the trip really starts to not become enjoyable. It's one long sidehill on heather, or slabs, or boulders. Pick your poison. The day was becoming extremely hot and humid so we filled up on the last of the water for awhile as we made our way to the col. At the col, we finally got a look at Clarke and took a quick break and ditched some weight.
It's been nothing but boulder hopping for awhile. Next stage to get to the base of Clarke is more endless boulder fields. I think my balance or trust in my feet is more than Katie's, so these sections were chewing up a fair chunk of time. When you throw in how stupid hot the day had become there wasn't alot of laughing or joking around going on this day.
We got to the summit ridge and the views towards Vienesse and Recourse were really nice at least.
We made quick work of the ridge and got to the spot we had to stop at, It was a very quick short move but with black slippery algae I still think we made the right decision. Downclimbing it would have been sketchy and high risk when wet. Today when it was dry it was a breeze.
The summit views were pretty incredible and once we realized we weren't gonna go for Recourse we could relax abit and enjoy it more.
Heading down we were dying in the heat and drank more than we thought we would resulting in having to ration and wait till we did all the boulder fields and could fill up back below Recourse. We had another stop at the col before I said we needed to at least get to the lower Statlu before dark. I didn't want to do any of the upper lake trail in the dark for very good reasons.
It was time to gear down and get moving, and we managed to get to the lower lake without headlamps. Following the lower lake trail via headlamp was fine and then it was just a long dark walk out back to the car.
This area is rugged, the Chehalis trips are always tough but very rewarding. Just have to go back up this bloody trail 1 more time and then NEVER again!