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Trip Report    

Observation Rock/North Face

One day trip from Mowich Lake to Observation Rock on 25 September. Beautiful conditions made for a good day.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The Spray Park trail was in good shape for this trip. The day was clear and reasonably warm making for excellent conditions. The Observation Rock ice face was as melted out as I have seen it since 2017, though this was end of September vs early September for previous trips. 

    We were warned about rock fall from an incident report written about a trip two weeks earlier. We observed two basketball-sized rocks let loose from a rock outcropping we had kept to climber's right that rolled down the face about 20 meters from us. Not a near-miss, but definitely got our attention.

This was a 12.5 mile round trip. Departed the trailhead at 0700 and back to the cars at 2100. Not the quickest, but comfortable. We departed the Spray Park trail at the prominent cairn and proceeded on the climbers trail to near the base of Obs Rock. A slog up several scree slopes and traverse below a rock wall brought us to the base of the ice climb. 

We geared up as much as possible away from the ice face due to concerns with rock fall. We had 3 teams of 2 each and stayed fairly close together in the center of the route so as to stay clear of rock outcroppings that had melted out on both sides of the route.

As mentioned, the rocks that let loose came from the outcropping on climber's right. The route(s) is marked with the red arrow in the photo below. The areas circled were what we avoided.

IMG_0272.jpeg

We each carried two pickets as well as ice screws. All 3 parties used 1 or more pickets on the first pitch, though I could only get the picket I used pounded about half way (1 foot) in. Used ice screws solely for pitches 2-4.

The upper pitches had significant water running on/through the ice, but we found that screws held quite well there. Front points held quite well also.

We bypassed the summit and instead traversed around it and walked down to rejoin our track near the climber's trail.

Observation Rock MRNP.jpg