Monday, March 29, 2010

Revenge on Mount Crickmer, at a price...

The forecast was plainly terrible. But after a failed attempt earlier this year (where we had great weather), I wanted to conquer this summit, at any cost.

I called up my friend Ryan on Saturday, and we set up a schedule. We were hoping to quickly climb this because he has a car and we can skip a big part of the hike with the 4 wheel drive. I wouldn’t t have mind skipping the logging road part since I had already done it and it was pouring rain.

Ryan picked me up at 8 in Burnaby and we headed East. Todd was also part of the team this day. We made it to the parking lot and to my very unpleasant surprise the gate was lock… today was going to be a cold and wet day.

We hit the logging road at about 10 am (we had done some pit stops on our way), and each had a full layer of Gore-Tex (or wannabe gore-tex fabrics). On the way up a grouse walked in front of us, maybe to divert us from its chicks, it did the same thing when we came down.

The logging road was wet, real snow level roughly 800 m on the south face. Very wet and slushy snow, but it actually never snowed that day for us, not even at the summit.

We made it to the steep part, so much easier in this super heavy snow, no chances of sliding. However I had a feeling that a wet slab avalanche could start if we really tried hard.

A a bit of hard time to find the markers on the slope but found them when we arrived at the plateau. However lost them there because they were buried. I turned on my GPS, ant it was telling me we were 1.5 km north of Crickmer, WTF!! I decided not to look at it and let Todd do the orientation, we just followed in the fog the natural line, however it was very confusing. We went along a ridge, maybe 250 m and had a snack under a small slope, at that point I felt lost but I found a yellow marker with an arrow pointing towards the top. At this point we were wet to the bone, it was hailing and windy.

Ascended the small slope and we came up to a big flat open area, the GPS was not telling us anything relevant. It was so foggy we could see nothing, maybe a mountain in front of us, Ryan thought we were an hour away from the summit. I had no clue, there was a serious drop on our right, and I thought we should continue North. But it was getting late and we turned back. The GPS stated Crickmer was 500 m south so we decided in an ultimate attempt to make it.

I followed the direction, a straight line, I thought we had taken a wrong turn earlier. We were quickly approaching the summit on the GPS… I was on the summit! Based on my GPS… Actually I was on the middle of a frozen pond. I restarted my GPS and it turns out that I had just came from the summit but we had noticed nothing because of the fog and the GPS miscalculation. We congratulated ourselves, a 100 m lower than the actual summit and headed back

It was also a bery wet way down where I was actually using big blocks of snow as a sled.
After an eternal way down, finally made back to the car and put the heater to the max, it was cold and wet day to summit. A summit hat we never really saw.

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