Last Updated: January 16, 2021


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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Mount Tantalus - North Ridge, August 2020

Fast forward 11 years since my previous attempt and off for the mighty Tantalus we go again, this time with Agata the Alpinista and via the classic SE Spur. Excellent snowpack and cool spring meant conditions for early August were about as good as they get, and we reached the base of the rock without much fussing with moats or 'schrunds for that matter. From there, our guide Andrew (Zenith Mountain Guides) led us on the "upper" variation of the SE Spur. With dizzying exposure pretty much the entire time, this is easily one of the more complex routes I have been on. Not particularly technical, but a challenging route-finding adventure with a notorious reputation situations.

The rock features a bit of everything with some exciting traversing to reach the notch at top of Heart of Darkness Coulior, and again across a ledge below Witches Tooth. A short down-climb into another crappy gully and then up the 5.6 "crux" crack pitch to another notch, which we crossed over and traversed once more into a small cave. Up out of the cave for a steep pitch to the classic knife edge arete and the highlight of the route. Finally, some easier scrambling along ledges and broken terrain led to the summit. Put succinctly, up and right, up and right (and repeat) was the theme of the day. Note that Alpine Select is woefully outdated and there are now bolted stations at all the key raps/belays. In total we did two raps on our way up, 5 raps on return from the summit block, another 3 raps down the gully to Dione Glacier and about as many belayed and/or simul pitches. A 7pm heli pickup completed a very enjoyable ~12 hr day. Big thanks to Andrew and Zenith for making it all possible. Highly recommended if considering a Tantalus climb or anything else for that matter!

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Sunday, January 3, 2021

MacDonald Peak - North Ridge, August 2020

A return to "The Chilliwacks" this time up on the crest directly west of Chilliwack Lake. Parked at the prov. park day use area as the trailhead described in SSWBC is off limits due to that thing we'll forever associate 2020 with. Easy from there across lake outflow then parallel to the river before reaching the TCT-Radium Lake junction. Hike to Radium Lake kinda long and boring, despite significant investment into 3 newish aluminum bridges that cross the same creek. Radium Lake not much to look at and just a couple groups camped at the sites nearby. On up to the Webb-Macdonald Pass, then turned right following a bit of a path initially along the left side before gaining the ridge. At the headwall, I went low and right across snow and talus, passing a shitty looking gully, aiming for the rib at right skyline. Later, I saw others go directly up over the headwall - looked like more interesting scrambling, shoulda gone this way. Choose your own adventure.

Turned up the rib and scrambled over blocky terrain to reach a false summit. Down into a notch then back up the other side for a short scamper to the summit proper. Nice views despite the increasing cloudiness, especially looking over towards past Cascadian conquests I could make out through the clouds - Redoubt, Spickard, Luna, Fury, Challenger, Rexford and the Esawkwatch Spires. Good times! Mount Lindeman looked good as well and was beckoning me, but it seemed too far away and the connecting ridge with MacDonald either uncharted or technical, or both. Left it for my next adventure out this way, via the standard Center Creek approach. Took a brief nap a bit lower down on the ridge and decided to pass on Webb as I was feeling pretty pooped from not much rest this past month. Back to the lake shore where the usual gong show was underway with countless boaters and their Tonka Trucks jockeying for a turn at the boat ramp. Hopped back in the car after a 9-ish hour day, luckily escaping the rain which started falling again shortly thereafter.

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