There are a couple good reports on this peak on Clubtread. One from the late Marc Andre and some BCMC members, and another one by rex. Me , Silvana and Ilia P wanted to go play around on some rock rather than thrashing through the woods and this one had been on my backburner list for ages. Me and my dad did the higher West one quite a few years ago but the lower East one just looked nicer.
I managed to drive my Toyota Pickup to the lower and newer trailhead, I did try and drive abit higher to the older trailhead but it is just one giant creek bed now and not worth the hassle. Just park at the lower one. There were a few cross ditches and a few spots that creeks flow over the road but anything with abit of clearance will be fine. The Chilliwack Outdoor Club have put in alot of work out this way, they just fell a tree on the Pierce lake trail, and the Slesse Memorial trail always had a rough creek crossing until they put in a beautiful bridge. Once over the bridge, the old fsr road is clear until we hit snowline and the alder was held down. The climbers descent route (Crossover Pass) from the Slesse Northeast Buttress is also the same route up we would use. The marker is kinda hidden in the trees, we missed it on our first try. There was a nice 3 small log bridge over the creek, so we didn't have to wade it.
Once over the creek we ended up trending up the valley which works well if going for Crossover West, but the actual trail is right in the forest after crossing the creek, we quickly corrected this and angled up and found the well marked trail again. It's a climbers trail, so it's straight up, no complaints from us as well quickly found ourselves in the alpine. We took the gamble on no snowshoes and it paid off, only sinking upto ankles.
We all took turns breaking trail as our objective got closer and the East ridge started to take shape.
Our plan was to give the East ridge a go without any protection, things were going fine until we hit 1 tough section about 70m from the summit. There was still too much snow on the ridge and it wasn't deep enough to feel safe on it, and it was also seeping water all over the rocks. It would have been foolish to try anything without proper anchors so I made the decision to bail off the ridge onto the SW snow slopes to our left and head for the South ridge.
There was a sliver of steep snow, we had a rope and we had a sling so rather than taking any risks, we just slung a horn and handlined down till we could get onto the snow slopes. From here it was just a steep angled traverse till we got a look at the East face and rather than heading for the ridge we decided to just pick our way up ledges and chimney's straight up the East face and then some steep snow before reaching the final summit boulder.
There was abit of a snow cornice that was somewhat sketchy, tried to put most of our weight on the rock and lightly use the snow as a step and we all took turns topping out.
Heading down the East face wasn't as nice looking as taking the South ridge down and hoping to find a way on to the snow. Yes, we climbed up the East face but it was still kinda loose,and steep and downsloping ledges. Easier to go up that , than down it. We followed the ridge for abit and saw some old slings. Perfect! I added 1 more to the collection, it's funny cause even though there is already 3, you never fully trust them, and you trust your own more. So now there is 4. Me and Ilia just used the batman style, I got abit of rope burn at the bottom when it became vertical. Silvana was the smart safe one and put on her harness and rapped down it with a prussik.
We hopped on the steep snow and it was severely isothermal, sinking huge was safe but tiring, eventually we got on more mellow terrain and could bumslide all the way back down to the forest and pickup the trail again.
On the hike out I ran into a guy who said he had done Slesse about 50x, Ilia and Silvana carried on back to the car but I figured this guy would have had some cool stories so I hiked with him for abit. Turns out it was Kevin Mclane the author of the Alpine Select guidebook. He's making another one.