Greg Hill.ca

The Matterhorn of the Monashees

I have yet to really explain my lower carbon month. For the month of April all my travel is done sans gas. For years I have skied and adventured, but every one of those adventures was powered by gas. Initially I thought it was a good statement, and that I would learn a lot through the action. We should all do a little bit more for old MN (Mother Nature), and I like most people can do more.  The more I thought about it the more I recognized that I would barely offset the construction of my bicycle. That is probably true but I am realizing that its the change in thought pattern that is important. Recognizing that I can be eat more locally, grow a bigger garden, bike in to town, or to my local mountains. I am not going to change the world but I can help.

 So far I have biked over 300km around town and to my mountain adventures. Two days ago I biked north of town, 48 km up highway 23 to a boat launch. I was there quite early and I enjoyed some time in the sun looking up at our objective. 

I have attempted Frenchman’s Cap two times and both times we had an awesome run but we never stood on the summit. This peak is the 11th highest mountains in the Monashees and very imposing. For this attempt I had more information on the summit ridge and I wanted to make sure we had enough time to attempt it.

Eventually the boys drove in, canoes in tow. Somehow lots of boys were psyched on the adventure and we had a party of nine, 4 canoes and one kayak. I lost a few demerit points because I did not tow my own boat up, ahh well… we all have to make some concessions.

Frank,Joey,Aaron,Mark,Bruno,Sean,Chris,Darek and myself drank a few beers, roasted some sausages and slept out under the stars. At 7 am Saturday morning we canoed across and into the mist.

From there we hiked a little in our boots and soon enough we were touring up Park creek. The first 6 km wasn’t the smoothest with lots of river crossings and frustrating moments.

Eventually it was time to start hiking up the run, and finally we could see what we would be skiing down.

It always feels so big and remote in this part of the range. Which always makes me feel so small.

In the past we always turned around at the ridge, since it is rocky and steep.Today we gained the ridge and started to break it down into smaller manageable pieces. A knife like ridge here, small cliffs over there, all easily bypassed or surmountable.

Aaron stepping it out onto the south face for a brief moment of exposure.

After years of wanting to stand on this amazing peak, seven of us were there.. So cool, after a few minutes on the summit it was time to get cruising. Since the first 50 feet were scree filled and unskiable, we walked down to the snow and started shredding.

So great to finally leave some turns on this hanging summit. As we made our way down the ridge I kept my skis on but there were still some hazards to manage.

Eventually we were all shredding our way down.Some of us enjoying the last turns of the season. Pretty epic.

A long tiring slog out to the canoes, a paddle across and then mission completed… well for everyone else as they loaded up and drove home. I meanwhile had dinner, slept under the stars and woke up to rain. Then 48 km of road riding and home by 9:20..

  1. yann May 9, 2012 at 9:06 am

    good work guys ! Thanks for the info about the trip Greg ! Since you see that mountain every time you drive on hwy 23 N. it was teasing my girlfriend and I for a while. Meghan brought the idea to me and we went for it on May 6-7th. I usually don’t rely on GPS too much but it was quite useful for this trip, which turned out to be a 30km round trip and about 2400-2600m elevation gain. Not being machines like you, it took us about 11hrs on Day 1 from the gravelly beach just +/- 200m S. of Park ck outflow to reach camp spot on gentle slope below Levers glacier at about 1970m. Then on Day 2 we were skinning by 5:00, reached the summit via SW ridge at 11:00 and back to car by 22:00, very long 17hrs day… Definitely not the best time of the year to get through sometimes nasty valley bottom bushwack. On the way back we found that the N. side of Park Crk offered decent gentle toe slopes with remaining consistent snow down to about 700m elevation. Not enough snow to ski Park ck flood plain. Complex avalanche terrain, so better do the trip in April with good snow coverage in valley bottom and good stability up high. Definitely worth the grunt though !

Leave a Reply