Last Updated: January 12, 2019



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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Cypress Peak - North Ridge, July 2018



Some 3.5 km north of Tricouni Peak is its slightly shorter neighbor Cypress Peak. Like Tricouni, Cypress lies within the Squamish-Cheakamus Divide, an area boasting several great scrambling routes that benefit from reasonably good access and relatively short approaches. I first visited the slopes around Cypress whilst cat & heli-boarding with Power Mountain and vowed someday to return and bag the peak itself.

The North Ridge route which Dan and I climbed is an enjoyable outing with a minimally exposed 4th-class step being the only real difficulty. The approach entailed an hour's worth of walking along a forest road and a bit of overgrown climber's path to reach a basin and headwall below a small glacier. Easy snow and glacier travel lead to the blocky ridge crest just before where it pitches up from horizontal. Another party climbed the East Ridge on the same day as us, which got me thinking - combining the east and north ridges would probably make for an aesthetic traverse of the peak. Much glissading on the descent made for a speedy return to the car and we found ourselves back at the Howe Sound Brewery enjoying a quaff in no time!

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Friday, December 14, 2018

Helm Peak - South Ridge, July 2018



We ended up on this after abandoning a climb of Castle Towers, which itself was substituted in place of a couple days climbing in the Chehalis Range. That's right, we drove all the way to Chilliwack only to turn around in the pouring rain and drive back past North Vancouver from where we started and continue towards Whistler. The weather forecast seemed marginally better along the Sea-to-Sky corridor and we were determined to make something of the weekend. Alas, deteriorating weather and the appearance of a good dusting of fresh snow on the CT's summit block caused us to reconsider our plans a second time. What to do, what to do?

Helm Peak lies conveniently near where we were camped in Helm Meadows and seemed like a reasonable alternative all things considered. Turns out that the short summit scramble is a loose and exposed affair that I'd not necessarily recommend to anyone, other than perhaps those in a similar predicament to our own. After dispatching Helm, we continued over Gentian Ridge to the saddle at the head of Helm Glacier with Gentian Peak just beyond. We had time to burn and figured why not at least reconnoiter the route to CT for next time. Along the way we apparently hiked over another named summit, Fuscian Peak, which leaves out only Victorious from the trio of 3rd century Christian martyrs whose names grace the peaks here. Curious.

We returned via the Helm Glacier and traversed beneath Cinder Cone to intersect the trail back to Helm Meadows and the Cheakamus Lake Trailhead where we were parked. Now armed with a better sense of the local topography and what the approach entails, we retrieved our trailhead beer stash and made a toast to someday soon being "victorious" on top of the prized summit of Castle Towers!

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