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I like being outside if it's nice out. This includes mountain biking, trail running, sailing, climbing, skiing and much more. If you're going on a fun adventure, let me know!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tomyhoi Peak

Sept 25, 2010

Lisa, Agi and I spent a beautiful, though a bit windy, September day hiking along the Yellow Aster Butte trail and scrambling up Tomyhoi Peak. There are some really impressive rocky peaks in this area, aside from the dominating neighbours of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. Access is easy too, we drove up to 3600ft on the 2wd gravel road, which also continues on further to the Mount Larrabee trailhead, which is reportedly in similar conditions.

The easy trail winds up through some forest, and then contours around a few meadows before dropping down into a basin with a few tarns. From here, the trail continues up along the gradual southeast ridge, crosses a short snow slope at the top of the Tomyhoi Glacier, and then continues on with a short 50m of good exposed scrambling, which looks steeper than it is. With a strong tailwind, we made it up to the summit in three and half hours at a leisurely pace. The return home actually took longer with all the stops for blueberries along the trail.

I can definitely see why this is a three star scramble! Too bad it's not on the map wall. Definitely recommended as a fall trip for the colours alone. And it's probably a good trail run...

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Easy hiking along the Yellow Aster Butte trail, passing through meadows and tarns

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This would be a nice hike in the summer too, but it's really the fall colours that do it for me.

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To bypass a steep section on the ridge, the route leads right towards a snow slope. We crossed the snow slope and then scrambled up to a notch in the ridge crest.

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American Border Peak and Mount Larrabee are in the background.

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Agi on the exposed but good scrambling. I'm sure the rock was a lot looser before, but now it seems pretty well travelled. Follow a shallow groove feature on the face for the easiest route up. Good fun!

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Good exposed scrambling. Canadian, American Border Peaks, and Mount Larrabee.

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From Highway 1, the north face of Tomyhoi Peak is quite impressive, with this hanging glacier suspended above cliffs.

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It was super windy that day, and a big lenticular cloud was forming on Baker.

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Returning back along the trail. The Pickets and Mount Challenger are in the background. Someday when I'm a bit tougher I'll go and explore that area.

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A big rolling ridge covered in meadows, with views of rugged mountains. It's hard not to like this spot.

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Did I mention that it was super windy all day? The grass was blowing sideways.

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Good views of Mount Shuksan.

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Blueberry picking on the way home. There were endless amounts of blueberries on the trail, perfectly ripe and tasty.

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Whole wheat blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup. Mmm...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Skaha for Thanksgiving

Oct 9-11, 2010

Despite a foreboding forecast for Penticton, a few of us headed east in search of dry rock over the Thanksgiving weekend. It ended up being a good weekend of climbing while it was dry, and excellent wine tasting when it wasn't!

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Dan on Genetic Mirror, a fun 10c at the Fortress. The route goes up alongside the face crack, and then hits a smooth cruxy bulge at the top, fun! We climbed a few other routes at Red Tail, since we didn't want to go too far in case it rained. One thing we noticed about people in Penticton, is that nobody wears goretex, or carries around an umbrella even when it's raining. I wonder why.

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As it turns out, a little bit of wax and some pine cones makes a great candle.

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There was a brief moment of sunshine on Sunday morning, but then it started raining. The morning breakfast at our banquet-style table was abruptly interrupted when a strong gust of wind blew away one corner of the tarp.

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So we went off to tour the wineries in Naramata, stopping at Mistral, Elephant Island, Nichol, Zero Balance, Poplar Grove, and Red Rooster. Definitely a good rainy day option!

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One rainy day, nine climbers, six different wineries, many bottles of wine (and cheese)!

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After touring the wineries, we headed back to the bluffs to get in two more climbs at the Fortress. Kira on Minor Skirmish, a fun 10b that starts with some steep stemming in a corner before stepping out onto the face above.

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Dan on Timorous, 10b, at the Fortress. A fun route with slopy holds through some bulges at the top. So many more routes to climb! But we weren't feeling like climbing anymore after the long hard day of wine touring, so we headed back to the campsite to cook up a feast, sans turkey.

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Enjoying our campfire next to the lake at the Banbury campground.


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The next morning, I joined PB&J at the Doctor's Wall, and soon realized how long it had been since I climbed anything steep, sustained, and fingery. The sunshine sure was nice.

A few more photos

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mount Callaghan and Ring Mountain

Sept 29, 2010

Chris and I went for an awesome ramble up in the Callaghan Valley, scrambling up Ring Mountain and Mount Callaghan. The weather was too nice to be stuck inside, so we took the day off work and took our out of shape office legs for a stroll in the hills. We drove the rough 2WD road to the trailhead, about 100m from Callaghan Lake. There's a nice flat trail which takes you approximately ten kilometres, past the Callaghan Country Lodge, around Conflict Lake, through beautiful meadows, and finally gaining some elevation up to Ring Lake. 

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A beautiful chilly morning in the meadows 

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From Ring Lake, we contoured around the north side of the lake, and headed up over talus slopes and steep scree towards the northeast ridge of Ring Mountain. Most people climb Ring Mountain in the spring, when you can drive high up on spur roads off the Squamish Main, and then ski off the summit. This way, you have a fantastic spring ski trip, and all the dangerously loose rubble is covered in a frosting of snow. Volcanic peaks are like cakes, they're best served with frosting. 

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Chris climbing up along the talus and scree enroute to Ring Mountain. Ring Lake is down to the right, and Mount Callaghan is in the centre. After descending off Ring, we went up over the peak on the left before continuing east to the main summit. 

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Chris taking his time and being careful with the loose blocks on this part of the scramble. In the winter, there are some gullies to the left which can be easily bootpacked. A helmet is highly recommended! 

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Surprisingly, there was actually a few metres of good scrambling just before reaching the summit plateau. We both thought it was just going to be a big choss pile. 

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Looking north towards the Squamish glacier, and Little Ring Peak. Fred introduced me to chossy peaks several years ago when we climbed that peak in a whiteout. We also spent some time in a tent stormbound on that glacier on a different trip. 

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The views were not too shabby for a Wednesday. It's views like this that makes it hard for me to focus sometimes.

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Chris downclimbing the steep loose section off Ring Peak. 

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Our route followed the ridge just to the left of the snow. The Ashlu-Elaho divide is in the background, a really good ski tour! 

After carefully reversing our steps off Ring Peak, we descended to the Ring-Callaghan col, and ascended talus to reach the a minor summit west of Mount Callaghan. From here, we found a short ramp bypassing cliffs on the east side of that summit, and then dropped down onto the mellow Callaghan glacier, and continued along the glacier and over a few sub-summits. 

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Chris and Exodus Peak in the background. A highly recommended spring ski trip that can be done in a day from Dipper Creek. 

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Looking north towards Ipsoot and Rainbow Mountain. I think I'm going to have to spend some time skiing there this winter. 

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Chris, on top of the stock market as usual. I'm sure he thought the views from the summit were pretty good too. 

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Silly summit shot with the wide angle at the top of Mount Callaghan. 

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Looking south at the Squamish Cheakamus Divide. I've never gone skiing here! 

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We thought about going over the summit, and then dropping down onto the SE trending ridge leading back to the car to make a nice loop, but ended up going back via Ring Lake due to the fading daylight and lack of energy. Ring Lake itself would make for a good spot to camp. Our descent down towards Ring Lake was slightly more exciting that I hoped for, as we dropped down into the wrong basin too soon, and ended up downclimbing next to a waterfall to bypass a cliff band. 


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One last look at Ring Lake. 

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Reflecting on a beautiful day in the mountains. I can't wait to get outside again!