Go back to Canada.
Sometime around midnight on Friday, Shirley, Blondie & I once again found ourselves crossing into Canada. We drove to a rest area just outside of Hope, BC and crashed for a short night in the back of our pick up. Short night led to a late morning wake up and by the time we arrived at the foot of Yak Peak’s south face (a steep but friendly 40 minute hike) it was pushing 10am. No fewer than 5 parties & a total of 15 climbers were spread out on the lower 4 pitches of Yak Check (a 12-pitch 5.9), our line of choice. As we had no topos for any other lines on Yak, we cursed our laziness, hiked back down to the car and enjoyed a leisurely brunch in Hope. We decided to try and salvage the day by driving out to Marble Canyon (~2+ hrs north) for a taste of Canadian limestone. This worked out great except for the very hot conditions, a wasp nest that Shirley disturbed (& got tagged on the ankle…which 2 days later is twice its normal size) following me up pitch 1, and the subsequent (& spirited) retreat. We rounded out the day by letting Blondie cool off in the scenic Pavilion Lake. I liked the place. Think I’d like to come back in a more reasonable season (October?) for some nice multi-pitch limestone climbing (that is, if I can talk Shirley into it).
We stuck around Hope Saturday night and were at the base of Yak by 7am on Sunday… wanted to make sure we were the first in line. The weather looked iffy and we were a bit concerned about rain for most of the day. Fortunately dry conditions prevailed and it even got hot after lunch. The climbing was fun…somewhere in the 2-3 (out of 4) quality star rating. The lower pitches were low angle and mostly easy (solid rock too). Somewhere around pitch 7ish I think, the rock got dirtier, steeper and the difficulties picked up a bit to a 5.8-5.9 range. The following pitch (where Yak Check deviates from Yak Crack) was probably the funnest of the day: a sharp leftward traverse using some hollow sounding flakes for underclinging and protection. Above, a mix of cracks and slabs put us on top (the lower summit of Yak Peak) by 1. A quick hike down the scramblers’ trail to our packs and we were driving home by 3pm. Unfortunately we hit some major traffic jams and a long line at the border making for another late evening (11ish pm) return home.
The south face of Yak Peak from the highway-side parking. Yak Crack/Check start up (pitches 3 & 4) a splitter crack on the face of the semi-obvious 500-foot flake just right of center (Aug. 2011).
The cluster bomb of climbers on pitches 3-5 of Yak Check. This is what we get for waking up late. Hiked down and came back (earlier this time) on Sunday (Aug. 2011).
Marble Canyon cliffs towering over Pavilion Lake. Apparently there are ~15ish pitch routes there. Near to Cache Creek in British Columbia (Aug. 2011).
Blue Gold (5P, 5.10a) starts just right of the obvious left-facing dihedral with trees (Aug. 2011).
Leading pitch 1 of Blue Gold (5.9) in Marble Canyon. This is the first of five pitches of this 10a limestone trad route. We did pitch 1 before Shirley got tagged by some pissed off yellow jackets & we bailed (running and screaming; Aug. 2011).
Shirley & Blondie on the approach hike to the base of Yak Peak's south face (Aug. 2011).
Shirley starting up pitch 3 of Yak Check (5.7ish crack...and quite spectacular; Aug. 2011).
Shirley starting the lead of pitch 3 of Yak Check belayed by me. Photo taken by our time lapse camera from base (Aug. 2011).
Shirley leading the spectacular pitch 3 of Yak Check (Aug. 2011).
Shirley on pitch 3 of Yak Check (Aug. 2011).
Yours truly following the low angle splitter crack on pitch 3 of Yak Check (Aug. 2011).
Starting up pitch 4 (5.6) of Yak Check. We linked this with the next 5.6 pitch into one 80 meter (some simul) lead (Aug. 2011).
Shirley leading pitch 6 of Yak Check. Another 5.6 affair (Aug. 2011).
Shirley leading pith 8 of Yak Check. Nice clean dihedral to some oat meal rock higher but NTB (Aug. 2011).
Shirley following pitch 9 of Yak Check. Some fun traverses via hollow-sounding flakes to a cool pull onto the face (where she's at). Best pitch of the day IMHO (Aug. 2011).
Shirley starting the nice pitch 11 of Yak Check (Aug. 2011).
Shirley leading pitch 11 (5.9) of Yak Check (Aug. 2011).
Yours truly topping out on pitch 11 of Yak Check (Aug. 2011).
Starting up pitch 12 of Yak Check. A largely bolted affair with crimp pulling & some slab moves thrown in (Aug. 2011).
Shirley following pitch 12 of Yak Check (5.9; Aug. 2011).
Leading pitch 13 of Yak Check. This is the final pitch of climbing (one more pitch of mostly 4th class bushwhacking remains; Aug. 2011).
Shirley on the finishing 5.9 slab of pitch 12 of Yak Check (Aug. 2011).
Shirley hiking up to the false summit of Yak Peak above Yak Check route (Aug. 2011).
The false summit of Yak Peak (where Yak Check deposits you) and a large snow field that has to be crossed on the descent (Aug. 2011).
Hiking back down to our packs. Some large chunks of ice that came off the east face of Yak are visible (Aug. 2011).
The spectacular south face of Yak Peak (Aug. 2011).
Blondie at the base of Yak Check route on Yak Peak (Aug. 2011).
Blondie and Shirley hiking down the steep but friendly trail from Yak Peak (Aug. 2011).
Go back to Canada.