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Trip Report    

Observation Rock/North Face

This climb took place on Sat, Sep 5, 2015.

Left the TH at 7am. Hike up to Spray Park was uneventful. Signs of recent snowfall at Spray Park. It was quite wet and a little cold & overcast. Not many hikers. Hiked the standard approach in but dropped down to the lake, then traversed up and over to the base of the climb. The Flett glacier has been heavily melted out. The ice ramp had about 8" of snow over reasonable alpine ice on the first pitch. It took ice screws and pickets well. Mixed results with pickets on the second pitch and mostly had to use ice screws. Ice screws only after the second pitch. Pickets would only go in about 1". Ice was buried from 8" near the bottom to 1-2" on the last pitch. Ice on the last pitch was brilliant, plastic and convincing. Great stuff. We opted to descend via the standard scramble route but by the time we got to the col a huge storm rolled in, very dark and ominous. We hurried down as snow and sleet fell, often putting us in a whiteout. The students did great, one got their last required ice climb for intermediate credit and the other two got their first ice climb in. Very rewarding day for all. Got back to the cars around 8am so 13h RT for a team of four. One member of our party spotted a very large black bear just off the trail on the hike out. Lots of campers at Mowich CG which is to be expected on a three-day weekend. Saw some large mushrooms (amaninta muscaria) at Spray Park.

Brought 5 pickets and 6 ice screws per team of two. Would have brought perhaps 3 pickets and 8 ice screws based on what we now know about the climb's condition. The very long ice screws worked super well so apparently the ice depth is sufficient that the screws don't bottom out on the rock.