Mt. Sloan: Another Stormy Labour Day Weekend

Our camp: three yellow tents

On the September long weekend we set out in the direction of Mt. Sloan, despite a weather forecast that caused the plans for the traditional VOC Mountaineering Camp to go to the wind. Faced with a forecast like that, after so much sun, perhaps we wouldn’t have gone hiking either, but we had made plans in advance to go hiking with our friends Jan and Warrick Whitehead and my brother Tal (visiting).

We woke up early, and drove past Pemberton and onto the Hurley River FSR which was rockier than usual. We marvelled at Maya’s talent at sleeping on bumpy logging roads. At the turnoff to the Ault Creek FSR we saw some hunters – out in time for the beginning of hunting season. Later we heard many repeated shots, and figured they must be trying to shoot down an elephant or a dinosaur or something (or else they were very bad shots). We tried to drive over the waterbars, but I quickly decided that it would be faster to walk, since the car was heavily loaded with five people and their gear.

Tal Peering Over the Edge

We hiked up the logging road in the rain, about 5km to its end. There we had a nice surprise – we found a flagged trail in reasonable shape going up into the alpine. We had lunch at a lake on the way, and spotted some large bear tracks which must have been recent. In fact, we saw lots of bear scat, which was not surprising considering the berry treasure trove we found a little higher up. We hiked out of the trees, left the flagged route and headed cross country to another lake where we were going to camp. Just as we arrived it started pouring, so we hid under a large boulder for a while, and then watched a very bright rainbow down the valley. We had a windy dinner and went to bed hoping to wake up in the sunshine.

Snow in September (photo: Warrick Whitehead)

We woke up to more rain. After breakfast we started hiking up talus slopes towards Mt. Sloan, hoping to scramble to the top. After a short while it started snowing. The snow piled up around us, making the rocks slippery. We considered turning around, but decided to continue a bit longer. We stopped at a tarn shaped like a tooth, and admired a phallic gendarme on a ridge not far away. The sun came out for a short while and we had lunch. The weather seemed to be improving, so we decided to scramble Sloan after all. This involved a few rock climbing moves, and then scrambling up a steep gully. As we got higher the wind and snow picked up.

The tricky step. “How the hell are we going to get up there?!”

We arrived to the summit, and saw no views at all. In fact, we cowered behind a rock, away from the wind, hoping that the clouds would open up for long enough for us to admire the undoubtedly glorious hidden views. In the summit register we found a note written by Gerber Land in the 60’s, the same mountaineer from Bralorne who had written the funny note we found on Mt. Face last year. In fact, not far from there is Mt. Land which was named after him, after he died in a climbing accident.

We started hiking back down, and for a few minutes managed to get a good view of Mt. Land, and our camp by the lake. The hike down was faster (as always), and soon enough we were back at the tricky step, which provided more entertainment now that it had to be down climbed in the snow. We arrived back to camp, and reunited with Warrick and Jan (who had been feeling bad since the previous day). Another dinner in a sheltered spot by the trees, and more prayers to the weather gods.

Mt. Land and the large lake

next day we decided to go for a walk towards Mt. Land and a large lake we had spotted on the map. Soon enough we were at the end of the lake, and some of us scrambled up to the ridge which leads to Green Mt., hiked along it for a while, and dropped back down to the large lake. We got back our campsite, had lunch and headed back down the trail. A lengthy stop for blueberries followed, and back to the car for the long drive home.

More photos

This entry was posted in British Columbia (and nearby), Hiking & Scrambling, Hurley & Lillooet Valley, Trip Reports. Bookmark the permalink.

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