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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Boundary Peak

Successful expansion of skills on a beautiful day.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The Snow Lake Trail is in great shape. The mosquitoes are fierce!

Mountaineers group trip, we left the trail head at 7:30. We made quick progress to the bottom of the first snow-filled couloir, where another group was gathered. We sat in the talus to snack and wait for the group to head up the snow field. (They were not in a hurry.) When they were gone from site over the top, we proceeded to the base of the first couloir, strapped on crampons, donned helmets and grabbed axes. The snow was very hard, but just manageable for comfortable travel.

At the top, we met the earlier group, once again taking a break. We shed and stowed our crampons, headed up the east side towards the south on the talus/ground with lots of wildflowers starting to bloom. We then decided to move back to the snow field, reducing our impact on the flora. This was still hard snow, but we managed without crampons here.

At the base of the second couloir, we stopped again for more calorie intake and again donned crampons. Powering up the center of the second couloir, which felt even firmer, harder to get the axe into, harder to kick steps.

Once in the notch, the moat had melted out enough to allow us to walk the base of the wall on the North side and ascend the class 4 rock scramble.

Once one the ridge, our leaders scouted for the anchors that are placed around the face, planning our descent later that day. We then carried on up the hiker's path after some discussion whether to follow a winter/snow route that cuts directly towards Boundary, avoiding Unicorn's high point. Stay on the boot path, we topped out on Unicorn, turned south to the ridge leading to Boundary. The ridge is clear of snow, although there are a few remaining cornices hanging to the east face.
We navigated the bushwack, the scree, the goat paths and found ourselves, finally at the top of Boundary at 12:30.

At1:30 we began back, again with much discussion of whether to shortcut across the scree slope as the winter route goes. Finally, the group as a whole agreed to return to the ridge path and follow our tracks down.

Arriving at the rock face, after a bit of discussion, a handline was placed and one by one we were back onto the upper gully. Crampons on, the snow was much nicer now, it being about 3:45 in the afternoon. The gully is steep, so we did not speed down, some of our group side stepping, others face in. At the bottom of the couloir, this time we opted to just follow the snow, no more gear changes and carry on. There was a small area of talus, where Unicorn Creek flows that we walked in crampons. The lower gully had not the benefit of after sun and now seemed firmer than in the morning- by comparison of the upper gully. But we made fast progress, stripping crampons at the bottom for the finally scramble though the lowest talus.

Finally on dirt again, a quick stowing of helmets, the mosquitoes fiercely biting, we scooted on down, past the lakes, the late Sunday afternoon tourist (they all yielded to us- was it the axes? ;-)).

5:45 PM we were at the car, happy for a rewarding trip, and thrilled by the cooler full of cold drinks! It was a long day, punctuated by several discussions of gear, technique and route selection.