Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tue, 25 June - Parry Peak and Mt Bancroft without the knife's edge

The wind kicked up around 2:00am and continued all day.  The tent held up well but the noise of the wind and fear for my tent made for poor sleep.  Packed up in strong winds at 6:00am to protect my tent and climbed up to the summit of Mt Flora.  I decided to attempt the cross country route over the divide to James Peak.  The winds were at least 35-40 mph with gusts even higher and I had to put all my layers on including my rain coat, winter hat and balaclava, and my heavy gloves over top my wind gloves.  

It was an exciting, if difficult, climb in the wind but the views were spectacular.  Mt Eva had an old shell of a radio building which gave a break to the wind to let me get a snack but the rest of the route had the wind howling in my ears.  Mt Parry was a great climb but when I got to Mt Bancroft the winds were up around 45mph and it was difficult to move around.  I looked down at the scary knife edge that connects Bancroft with James peak and I could hear the wind just whipping through and I chickened out.  Leys map notes it has lots of scrambling using your hands, is a bit technical, and not recommended if you don't do well with exposure.

I had really wanted to try it but with the high winds it didn't seem safe.  Still I took a long time to decide.  You could see the official CDT trail after James Peak and it was just a short half mile of knife edge and another half mile of safer hiking on talus?  I would be rethinking my decision as i made the long difficult rocky climb down toward Loch Lamond lake then the long climb around and up James Peak.  At least I got to glissade down a snow field.

Down lower where the wind was less it was easy to think I had made a poor decision given the elevation loss and gain I had to make but when I got on top of James and saw the knife edge from the other side I was glad I skipped it.

The wind continued as I spent most of the day hugging the divide, mostly with little to no tread to follow.  The views, especially of iceberg lake and the many lakes were fantastic.  Dropped down to Rollins Pass and the next section, around the Devils Thumb was fun.  A long and exciting day and my ears are still ringing with the memory of the sound of the winds.

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