Sunday, June 16, 2013

Third attempt on McGuire!

Mount McGuire, in my opinion, is the most beautiful hike in Chilliwack with fantastic views of the Canadian & American Border Peaks, Cheam Range, and Tomyhoi.  About 10 years ago this was a go to hike on a sunny day with Borden Creek FSR taking you right up to the alpine on the east side of the mountain.  With a washed out bridge, however, I've been looking at Google Earth for a different access into this gorgeous area.  Saturday was my third attempt for this mountain, but the first one on a sunny day with clear views.  We headed up Tamihi Creek FSR and took the centre fork where it splits into 3 ways.  Driving down as far as possible, we parked just before a pile of logs blocked further access.  We started hiking at 8:30 and headed straight up through forest for about 2 1/2 hours.  Staying to the west side of the tarn we continued up the ridge through snow and the occasional rock scramble.  Finally, 6 hours later, we got to the top, only to realize it was a false summit. Conquering McGuire's majestic peak seemed impossible as intimidating vertical cliffs separated us from the actual summit.  My hiking companions were content to enjoy the views from their vantage point, but summit fever set in, so I started to explore looking for a different route up.  Dropping down into the south bowl, I traveled on snow until I spotted an avalanche shute that seemed manageable.  Scrambling up was no problem and 20 minutes later I was standing on McGuire.  I snapped a few shots and was about to head back when suddenly 2 hikers appeared from the east side of the mountain.  My cousin Lori-Ann was petrified to descend the route we just came up, so after consulting with Erik and Brian, we decided it would be much faster and easier to return using their route and they graciously offered us a ride back to our vehicles.  2 hours later, soaking wet after sliding down insanely steep snowy slopes, we were back at the logging roads and getting a ride back to my truck from our new hiking buddies.  Another amazing adventure out in the mountains! A special thank-you to Lori-Ann who provided endless entertainment while she tried to master the art of graceful snow travel :) Now for some pics!!!

Circumhorizontal Arc as pointed out by Dru from CT

The colours are caused by light passing through wispy, high-altitude cirrus clouds. The sight occurs only when the sun is very high in the sky (more than 58° above the horizon). What's more, the hexagonal ice crystals that make up cirrus clouds must be shaped like thick plates with their faces parallel to the ground.
Views from the west sub summit.

Valley view.

Cheam Range in the distance.
Canadian Border Peak, American Border Peak, Larabee, & Tomyhoi.

Summit shot!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mount Matier descent - timelapse of the Anniversary Glacier

Time Lapse courtesy of Julien Simon

Mount Matier!

I signed up for a introduction to mountaineering course through the Alpine Club of Canada.  The first weekend was rock climbing at Smoke Bluffs in Squamish, the second weekend was practicing mountaineering skills at Mount Seymour such as roping up and using the ice axe to self arrest falls, and the third weekend was climbing Mount Matier in Pemberton.  The instruction was awesome with a 4:1 ratio of skilled leaders. 
We set up camp at Keith's Hut and at 4:00 in the morning, while the snow was still firm, we set out. Travel is slow when roped up in a team of 5, but it was an awesome opportunity to really enjoy the scenery and take awesome pictures. We summited a narrow and corniced ridge at about 10:00, took 15 minutes to enjoy the views, and then began our descent to make room for other teams at the top.
It was during the descent I had an opportunity to really practice skills introduced the previous weekend at Seymour.  While enjoying the views I somewhat lost focus and taking a large stride my crampon hooked into my gator, tripping me and sending my hurling down a steep slope.  It's amazing how instinctual already it was to use my ice axe.  I was so concentrated arresting the fall that I didn't call out to my rope team, but the 3 people in front of me noticed the commotion and also got into arrest position, ready to break my fall.  Thankfully I didn't need their support as I was able to dig the axe into the snow and stop myself before tugging on the rope.  Definitely an adrenaline rush, but good to know that the skills learned actually work in an emergency situation.  
At 2:00 we got back to camp, took a break, and by 3:30 we loaded up all our gear and were heading back to the parking lot with packs that didn't feel any lighter in spite of less food and water!
An awesome experience...can't wait for the next mountaineering adventure!
Roping up at Sunrise
Sunrise on Joffre Peak

Anticipating moving from the mountain's shadow into the warm sun!

Almost there!

Heading up to the Col between Matier & Joffre.

First glimpse of Matier, the pyramidal mountain in the background to the left.

Blue bird doesn't get better than this!

A group behind us with Joffre towering above.

Views of Mount Slalok

Approaching the summit!

Walking on the ridge!

Summit shot :)

Mountain view from the tent!

Photo Credit: Gina Hopper
Photo Credit: Julien Simon
Photo Credit: Julien Simon

Photo credit: Gina Hopper


Photo Credit: Julien Simon