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Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Mox Peaks (Twin Spires)

Climb of Easy Mox and Hard Mox peaks in the Chilliwacks over four days.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

Fun trip to the Chilliwacks that was well worth the planning and research to prepare for.  Beautiful views of the Pickets, challenging climbing, northern lights, bugs, bears and loose rock.  Great trip.


Departed 5am from Seattle and arrived 9:30am at Depot Creek TH after an easy border crossing at Sumas.  Parked at the lower parking lot due to road conditions even with the 4 wheel drive.  Departed at 10am for Lake Ouzel with hopes of getting to Glacier Col.  A true climbers trail, with some navigation challenges due to lots of large downed trees across the trail. The trail left its mark on each of us, one by one, throughout the day. Jiri’s face got scratched with a stick, Sara was stung by a phantom wasp, and I scrapped my knee.  The rope landlines are still up, maybe even the original ones!?, for the slabby slimy waterfall climb. Due to the heat and trail conditions it took us 8 hours to reach Lake Ouzel. Exhausted we decided it was best to camp at the lake and finish the approach in the morning. 




Jiri rigged his tent with trekking poles instead of tent poles and Sara ate dinner inside her tent to avoid the mosquitos and biting flies at the lake (see photos 1). Beautiful flowers and refreshing cool waters at the lake.  

Next morning we departed at 4am for Glacier Col with plans to do Hard Mox.  Approached the headwall to access the glacier by crossing the lake outlet stream in water shoes or walking around lake.  Scrambled up headwall using cairns to guide us occasionally.  Roped up for glacier.  When we arrived at the camp at Glacier Col it was 6:30am. We encountered another group of 3 planning to do Hard Mox that day as well.  We decided to change our plans to do Easy Mox instead to avoid rock fall danger.  It ended up working in our favor as the climb combined with the hike up to high camp equaled a worthy day.  We quickly pitched camp, repacked our packs and launched for Easy Mox.

Photo02.jpgGreat camping at Glacier Col camp with views of the Picket range (see photo2). 


Water source was available at Glacier Col camp via rushing glacier melt off.  We saw the northern lights one evening from this camp too.  


Easy Mox: 

Departed at 7am for Easy Mox from Glacier Col camp.  Roped up for traverse to based and encountered several hidden crevasses.  Recommend dropping down to 7000 ft and then traversing.  Do not be tempted by the “notch” in the ridge if traversing directly over from Glacier Col. The climbers at camp had said it did not go, and as we traversed around the backside we could see why-rock cliff. The 4th class rock wall was accessible on snow ramps at the time we did the climb.

APhoto03.jpgt the base of the rock face there was a circular snow chunk (see photo3). 

The previous climbers said they went to the left of this chunk (directly under the last rappel) and found wet, slippery, downward facing slabby climbing (see photo3b). We opted for the right side of the snow chunk.  Although this was very dirty and looked unclimbed recently it was better than the alternative!  Rock did not look like route description photos found online suggesting that snow was melted out lower than usual.  We climbed over top of circular snow chunk and then up (see photo above).  Reached a belay/rappel station at approx. 60 m out.  Second pitch to second belay/rappel station was much shorter.  Scrambled up to notch and then continued along ridgeline.  Stayed directly on the ridgeline with only 1 minor deviation. 



Descended steep gully to left side of ridge.  Traversed over to base of climb (see photo4).  Great views of Hard Mox from ridge (see photo below).

Climbed one easy 5th class pitch to summit ridge and scrambled to summit. 

Photo05.jpgSummit register is a cute pink Hello Bunny flask (photo5). 

Descended with a double rope rappel and reversed route back to notch. This can be done as two single or one double. Belayed one hard move on decent traverse due to exposure. As we were climbing down we were able to spot the other party on the first roped pitch of Hard Mox. We waved and shouted cheers in their direction and were able make contact across the spires.


One single and one double rope rappel to base (60 m rope) (see photo6).  Nice platform at base to put crampons back on.


Hard Mox:

Departed Glacier Col camp at 4am and traversed to gully that led to Col of the Wild. 

Photo07.jpgTraverse was mostly on scree because much of the snow was melted out (see photo7).

Photo08.jpgAscended to Col of the Wild (see photo8).  There are three towers at the top of the col.  Go between middle tower and far right tower to start the climb. 

Ascended Ridge of the Gendarmes (encountered 10 ft boulder move) following footprints most of the way.  Descended on backside of ridge, did an exposed traverse to the snow finger. 


Rappelled the snow finger on a single rope to the base (see photo9). 


Dropped crampons at base of rappel.  Ascended to base of West Face of Spire by climbing the LEFT gully first for a very short distance then traversed over to the RIGHT near rappel anchor.  This is an alternative to the 4th class chimney. We encountered a significant amount of loose rock in this right gully.  Went one at a time in some cases.  Reached the base of the West Face of the summit spire at the top of the gully.

Photo10.jpgClimbed west face in 3 pitches, complete with loose foot and handholds! (see photo10)

Photo11.jpgThird pitch 5.2 of Hard Mox (see photo 11).  Route can also go slightly left up an easier gully.  We summitted at 11:30am, 7.5 hours later. Seeing the summit registry with photo copies of Becky’s first ascent and many others from the 1960-1980s was pretty cool. It is not often you come across an original registry with so few listed in its pages, truly a Bulgers enthusiasts climb.

Descended off the summit using 1 single rappel and 1 double rope rappel.  Did 3 more single rope rappels down the gully (very carefully!) to return to our crampons. 

Photo12.jpgAscended snow finger first in moat and then on snow with crampons and ice ax back to rappel station (see photo12). 


Ascended back to exposed traverse (see photo12b).


Photo13.jpgSara finishing the exposed traverse on the backside gully (see photo13).  We belayed this traverse on the return.


Descended Ridge of the Gendarmes very carefully (see photo14)!  Reached Col of the Wild and returned to camp by 6:30pm.


Once back at Glacier Col camp we had a bear sighting!  The bear appeared from Lake Ouzel side, crossed col and descended down into basin below the Mox Peaks to frolic in meadows.  When the rangers tell you there are bears on the glaciers..  its true!


The next morning we arose and watched the sunrise before descending to the glacier. We were able to shave off three hours on our descent, but the log crossings still felt relentless..  These peaks are appropriately named because you need a lot of moxie to climb them!  We encountered a significant amount of loose rock, which took some strategy to avoid. However it was well worth it and a great trip overall.




2 - 60 m twin ropes (highly recommend a 60 m rope for the single rappels)

1 rack - set of nuts, #0.5,#0.75,#1,#2 Camelots, 4 small CHH Aliens (purple(now black), blue, green, yellow)

Used small Aliens several times during the climbs

4 doubles, 4 singles

Water shoes for stream crossing (not critical)

Color printouts of guide book and trip reports with photos for route finding

 Rock shoes



Seattle to Trailhead:  4.5 h (5am – 9:30)

Trailhead to Lake Ouzel:  8h (10am-6pm)

Lake Ouzel to Glacier Col: 2.5h (4am-6:30am)


Easy Mox:

Glacier Col to summit of Easy Mox: 7 h (7am – 2pm)

Summit of Easy Mox to Glacier Col camp:  4h  (2:30- 6:30pm)


Hard Mox:

Glacier Col to Hard Mox summit:  7.5h (4am – 11:30)

Summit to Glacier Col camp: 6.5h    (noon - 6:30pm)



Glacier Col camp to Trailhead:   5h  (7am – 2pm)

 ---Eileen Kutscha, Sara Ludeman