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Just a few feet above this step, the very steep slab suddenly ends and the thick vegetation covering most of Colden's summit begins. Right in the middle of the steep upper slab, a fairly obvious herdpath leads straight up through the thick vegetation towards the summit ridge, which is only about 50 feet away. From there, it is a short flat walk over to Colden's summit and the big perched boulder that marks the top of the trap dike route -- our descent route!
at top of slide
Final summit cliffs
Jenn on Colden highpoint
We are wet from brushing past damp branches on the herdpath leading to Colden's summit. A stiff wind is blowing on the summit, and the day is quite cool, even approaching cold. We have a quick snack at the perched boulder.

We can see directly down to Avalanche Lake from here. The toothpick-like structure of the hitch-up matildas can clearly be seen. It the steep slide stretches away below us, and the v-shaped depression slightly off to the right hides the trap dike itself. It will be a long and tiring descent, and we're slightly worried by the dampness we've encountered so far. Downclimbing on damp rock can be tricky. We're also mindful of the sky - if there are showers, it could complicate things even further.
The Famous Rock
Our descent route
Steep and damp
We decide that conditions are still good enough to attempt the descent, and the weather for the moment looks relatively stable and dry. That could change at any time, though, so we make haste and start our descent. We stay off to the edge of the slide on the very damp and mossy stuff, and out on the slide itself when the footing is 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.
Towards Lake Colden
Down the slide
Jenn waits for guidance
A quick hand belay
Nearing the dike
Scramble into the dike
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.

Just before starting our rappel, I stupidly manage to drop my camera, lens-first, onto solid bedrock. The sound of shattering glass is not encouraging. The front end of my wide-angle lens looks mangled, with shards of glass and dislodged pieces of lens casing. Great.
Descending in the dike
Looking down the dike
Top of 4th class step
The lens does seem to still function, so perhaps the damage isn't as bad as I fear. You may notice a few pictures with funny-looking fuzzy stuff in some of the corners - that's the broken glass.
A quick rappel
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