Mount Rexford - Ensawkwatch Enchainment, September 2007
I first learned of Mt. Rexford several years ago while perusing route descriptions on Bivouac.com for other peaks in BC. At that time, Dru Brayshaw's photo essays of climbs on Rexford's West and East Ridges inspired me to one day climb the peak myself. The years went by and my Bivy.com account eventually expired, but Rexford still remained unclimbed by me. Then last year Martin Cash asked me if I wanted to join him on the Ensawkwatch Enchainment - a classic ridge traverse that climbs the North Ridges of both North and South Ensawkwatch Spires, finishing on Rexford itself via the deep notch between it and the South Spire. I declined his offer as Eric and I had scheduled a trip to the Canadian Rockies around that time, but my curiosity was piqued once again. That curiosity turned to envy when I saw Martin's report on Summitpost.com later that year. I made a promise to myself to finally visit the area in summer 2007. I repeatedly peppered Martin for beta in the months preceding my Rexford climb, but it wasn't until September before the stars aligned and finally graced us with one of the fairest-weather weekends in recent memory. I couldn't think of any more appropriate venue than a late summer climb in the Chilliwacks!
With Jeff Rodgers behind the wheel, we drove north into BC then on towards the now familiar Chilliwack Lake Road. After about 30 kilometers, we turned right onto a gravel road (look for Riverside Campground sign at left) and then took another right onto the Nesakwatch Creek Road a couple hundred yards beyond. Although rough, the road was no match for Jeff's brand new GMC truck. Evidence of the road having been recently graded, however, suggested that logging is once again active in this valley. Caution is advised. We barely managed to squeeze by the vehicles crammed along the road side near the Slesse Creek Trailhead, reminding me of a recent CC.com post claiming that the Pocket Glacier had finally slid (the 'glacier' apparently never slid last summer). No doubt this was THE WEEKEND to climb Slesse's Northeast Buttress. We encountered several more cars again hugging the edge of the road a short, bouncy ride up from the Slesse Creek Trailhead, and figured we had finally arrived at the informal trailhead for climbs in the Rexford area. With the truck parked, we started hiking up an overgrown spur road that forks left from the main road. After a short detour to secure our obligatory creek stash, Jeff and I were surprised to see a well used Suzuki Tracker parked where the 'road' switchbacks left. This certainly wasn't the first time I'd witnessed a Tracker at the end of a washed-out or overgrown BC logging road which I'd previously dismissed as impassable to vehicular traffic. A disposable 4WD vehicle with enough clearance and a compact profile to get you places where nothing else can - the quintessential BC trailhead car! (more...)
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