Friday, June 20, 2008

Who's got the stove in the North Columbias?

I received an email from a friend looking for adventure in the North Columbia mountains of B.C. The invite was the only motivation I needed. So, I jumped in the truck and was in Blue River, B.C. by Sunday Evening. (Blue River is home to the infamous Mike Wiegle Heli Skiing outfit) We then started heading up a forest service road (FSR) towards Mt. Cheadle and the Serpentine Ice field. Beta on this area is limited to say the least. I was grateful for my friend Dana’s local knowledge of the area. We got to the end of the road and sorted group gear. An interesting conversation started up:

G: Which stove did you bring B?

B: I didn’t bring a stove, I thought you were bringing it.

G: I thought you were bringing it?

B,G & D: Oh $h!t…..

Ever the optimist we started hiking up the cut block towards the ice, hoping we’d find running water somewhere. We saw one sub-adult black bear on the way.

We setup the shelters on a nice little dry spot in an alpine meadow. Waking at 3:30am, we tried to find water, and were unsuccessful.

Time to regroup. Dana’s husband ended up bringing us a stove Clearwater. While we waited, we schemed up a new destination. We were to attempt Mt. Duffey, the 9200’ peak with glaciers on the N and E aspects visible from Hwy 5. So, we regrouped. We began exploring some of the newer longing roads for optimal access. We finally parked the truck @ 5300’. 4 hours of bushwacking brought us up to 6500’ and stellar view of the Monashee Mountains. A quick super, a bit of snow melting, and then we all crawled in our sleeping bags at about 8:00pm. We were back up at 3:30am. The light was amazing, and it looked like a great day for steep snow climbing. We were soon on our way, slogging up the snow covered slopes.

At about 9:00am we reached the bergshrund at 8700’. The snow was already feeling pretty sloppy. I was beginning to think that we would not summit. I volunteered for the first technical pitch and started up across the ‘schrund. Above the slot, I managed to find some good rock to build a anchor with some rock pro. I brought both seconds up.

All of us were now at the anchor, 500’ below the summit. It was a tough decision, but in the end we decided to bail. None of us wanted to go for a ride in a ground slide that day.

We did get some top notch shovel glisse on the way down.

We packed up camp, and walked out in the rain. There is still over 6’ of snow in the mountains of the North Columbia in the middle of June! Wow!



OpenID scienceguy288 said...

An interesting adventure to be sure. It is just like that old climbing monacre: "Getting up is optional, coming down is necessary.

6/21/2008 10:38 AM

Blogger B-Real said...

Love your blog. I'm an avid backpacker too. Even bought stuff on your site. Been doing it for a whopping four years. I was always intrigued by stories of survival. And why people like us hit the outdoors - even with the inherent danger that we may not come back.

So I started a new blog about it, I've been compiling stories of hiking mishaps - people getting lost, people being found and unfortunately people paying the ultimate price for their love of the outdoors.

Check it out, Maybe we can swap blogrolls too.


6/25/2008 12:31 PM

Blogger summitbum said...

crisper, forgot your stove?

6/25/2008 10:04 PM


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