|Jul. 1, 2007 (Sun.)
|Elevation: 4714 feet; Order of Height: 11
|Participants: Andrew Lavigne, Jennifer Innes
I wanted something different, something a little more alpine, a little more like mountaineering. I settled on a couple of slide climbs, put back-to-back, on Mount Colden. We'd climb up the south-east slide, and then downclimb the Trap Dike.
Although there was oodles of clear sky and sun on the way down, there seemed to be a dark cluster of low clouds enveloping the high peaks. Gloomy was the name of the game as we started out from Adirondak Loj. There was a relatively low chance of rain, which we didn't want while scrambling on steep slabs of rock.
The lower part of the slide consists of a lot of gravel and boulders. The terrain is fairly open at this point, and it is a simple matter to chart a reasonable course up the slide. If you look up, way, way up, you'll see the very top of the slide, which looks impossibly steep from this point. It isn't impossible, of course, but it is steep! It requires confidence in your boots' ability to grip the coarse and grippy anorthosite. Soon after climbing the steep top part of the slide, we entered the thick scrub of the summit ridge and we shortly at the big boulder near the summit.
It is a little damp today, and so we take care to stay off anything that doesn't look clean and dry. There are a few wet and tricky ledges that have to be downclimbed, and in one spot we use a bit of cordalette as a hand-line. Eventually we work our way over to the upper access point into the dike. Half of our descent is now over.
Next we need to descend the narrow, blocky and steep confines of the dike. The dampness of the past few days means there's a lot of wet rock in the dike, too, and so care is needed when descending. When we reach the steepest part of the dike - a 30-foot 4th class step, we decide to opt for a quick rappel, rather than downclimb. Our decision to do this is aided by the fact that someone has recently left a rappel ring tied to a tree.
Once below the 4th class step, it is easy scrambling down to the base of the dike. The small delta of trees at the base of the dike has been recently wiped out - victim to last winter's avalanche in the trap dike. Well, the access to the base of the dike is now easier!
It is regular hiking from this point on, all the way back to the trailhead.
See the image gallery link below for a more detailed writeup and the set of pictures.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References:
Image Gallery: July 2007 Colden Slides Climb