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Thursday, October 29, 2020
Rainbow Mountain - SW Route via Rainbow Lake, June 2020
Yup, another escape to the hills before the arrival of yet more unsettled weather. Some excitement right off the bat upon encountering a group of panicked hikers (you know the type) scurrying down the trail claiming to have been followed by a black bear. Kept going and immediately ran into a trail runner who had also been followed by the bear and exhorted us to turn back. This too we ignored and carried on up the trail. As expected, the bear had wandered away, nowhere to be seen. Watching from a safe distance, the trail runner apparently satisfied herself of the imminent threat to life and limb and decided it was now safe enough to continue, prancing past us in short order. The remaining hike to Rainbow Lake went without further incident, the only wildlife we saw no larger or more menacing than a squirrel. Very well-maintained and scenic trail I might add.
Ran into patchy snow just before Rainbow Lake and still very much snowbound thereafter. Annoying post holing getting 'round the lake but otherwise fast travel thanks to buried talus. Made camp on snow and lounged on a large flat rock for the remainder of the afternoon. Up and at 'em first thing in the morning, reaching the edge of a large, flat glacier in good time. Here we traversed far to the right, contouring around a giant scoop in the ice and continuing up to a rocky saddle. Then turned left and scampered up rock and some snow, reaching the summit about 3hrs after leaving camp. The last time we were up here was March '09 on our very first outing with Whistler Heli. Nice to finally get back up there on own steam this time and hang out up top for as long as we wanted, savoring the incredible 360-degree views!
Took me lady up Lady Peak for a fun Cheam Range scramble on yet another brief fair-weather window. Drove the FSR to ~4400 ft and about 1.5 km shy of the trailhead before being stopped by snow. Alternating dry and snowy sections thereafter with some ATVs making it all the way to the end. Encountered all snow travel from just before Spoon Lake to the rubbly slope directly below Lady's North Ridge. Crampons and ice axe handy for occasionally steep snow up to this point as well as the notch with gendarme further along the ridge.
Easy ridge ramble once past that spot to the top. Upper mountain engulfed by cloud from orographic lift shortly after having gained the crest and dissipated only after we made it back to the trailhead. Figures. Same thing happened when I hiked up neighboring Cheam last October. About 7 hrs RT, making for a longer than anticipated outing thanks in part to slow travel over slick lichen-covered rock.
Endured the long ass drive to Pemberton-Portage country for a quick Twin Lakes Peaks area smash'n grab before the onset of the next round of rain. About 7 kms road/atv track walk from current "trailhead" to hut and camping area. Snowline started at the first lake and got progressively mushier and unconsolidated the higher we went. Very unusual so late into June. The preceding week and a half of rain and cool weather here in town deposited what looked to be about a foot+ of new snow in the alpine, much more near ridge tops. Wished we brought snowshoes. Point releases and sluff slides on sun exposed aspects. Felt like April or early May out there.
Abandoned Elliott after punching through past my waist in mush on the exposed gully traverse a couple hundred feet or so below summit. There are ways to avoid this traverse, but with the prospect of more of the same crap snow complicating the narrow ridge finish to summit proper, we called it and slogged up slightly higher Crystal instead. Fantastic views from up top - Birkenhead, Duffy-Pemberton Portage Divide peaks, Joffre Lakes Group, south towards Wedge and countless others I cannot name all on full display. Neat area to explore and a great "east-of-the crest" objective for early summer!
Our first summit in Pinecone-Burke Provincial Park! The Facebooks were abuzz this past Spring with reports of this and some of the neighboring mountains. FSR conditions were reportedly about as good as they could get, and snow no longer presented much of an impediment. Ripe for the picking as they say, so we decided to go and add our names to the list and see what all the fuss was about. Over 30 kms of forest road to get to where we were stopped by snow about 1 km shy of the "trailhead". Found the 103 Hikes driving description misleading after the ~23 km junction - we lost an hour probing various spur roads before another party set us back on course. Thanks to renewed logging activity, the road end has been pushed up higher. Good for us!
Biggest cornice I have ever seen on the summit! It's obviously long gone by now, but best to give the edge an extra wide berth come next Spring. 'Twas a 100% snow slog from where we parked - snowshoes and axe weren't necessary even though we schlepped the gear around with us. Great views in all directions, despite the increasing cloudiness and only one other party encountered as we were returning. 5.5 hrs round trip at a moderate pace and sadly no pitstop at Backcountry Brewing afterwards, coz um, well by now you ought to know why.
Frosty's East Summit via Lightning Lakes on 05/27. A Manning Park first for me! Great views of the Pasayten Wilderness big boys, the Chilliwack Bulgers and Northern Pickets looking south from up top. The slightly higher West Summit looks like a fun scramble from the East Summit, not quite sure why I didn't just go for it.
Either way, looked like an above average snowpack, in the NE corner of the Cascades at least. Snow started at about 3 kms up the trail and continuous from that point onward. GPS mighty helpful in navigating the forested section thereafter and especially on return as my tracks were barely discernible by that point. Wallowed through knee deep mush for a portion of the East Ridge finish and glisaded back down via the north bowl for a speedy return and shorter than anticipated day overall (about 5-6 hrs round-trip).
A quick jaunt up a snowy bump on the only half decent day of the May Long Weekend. Located between Stave and Alouette Lakes, the broad plateau-like summit barely reaches the alpine. Nevertheless, it's high enough to offer good views ranging from the uplands of Mission District to the far North Cascades. To the west are the Golden Ears and just to the north is Robie Reid - my primary motivation for hiking Crickmer, being that I had RR in my sights for later in the summer.
Unfortunately, the wished-for views of Robie Ried would only materialize after I returned to the truck thanks to a late afternoon break in the clouds. Since I was in the area, I wrapped-up the day with a reconnaisance drive to the RR trailhead, a good 20 km from the end of the paved road. I expected something much more overgrown and obscure, but found it to be anything but. Okay, all set for later this summer then! All things considered, despite low clouds robbing me of everything but local views and a mostly boring FSR bike'n hike, that which I did glimpse of Stave and Alouette Lakes made Crickmer a worthwhile outing nonetheless.