14.5 hours moving on 2.5 hours of sleep. I'm a fool, but a fool that loves the Coast Mountains!
My friends Bala, Mark B., Mark J., and I had made an unsuccessful bid for Meslilloet last October. This time though, with longer days and a smaller group, Mark J. and I met the challenge of this remarkable mountain.
Meslilloet Mountain is located NNE of the North end of Indian Arm, and is famed for its glacier - on North aspect - being the closest one in proximity of Vancouver. With that notion, one could believe falsely that this mountain would be relatively easy to visit. The drive in on the Mamquam Main FSR is in good shape for the most part, but once you're on the S100 road it's 4x4 high clearance country. We had to walk the last 3 km of the road due to significant blowdown and washouts.
At this point, there is some marking tape that indicates the start of the climbers access trail, which is the best way to describe it; more accurately I would call it a moderate bushwhack with sparse marking tape indicating that other mountain lovin' fools had stepped the same steps before. Our intention was to make our way towards the site of our last trip's base camp, Triple Point Lake; as named by Robin Tivy of Bivouac.com fame. We used this lake again as our base camp for this trip.
Once we set up camp, we were off towards Meslilloet; from here on we're following the Northerly ridge of Meslilloet NE1. Once near Meslilloet NE1 there are two obvious routes, drop down and cross the glacier, or follow the - now trending to be NE - ridge. We opted for the ridge route, making route decisions to save on extraneous elevation gain. It's also at this point you get a proper view of the mountain, and how spirit crushingly far it still is...
Just before the last significant bump, directly East of Meslilloet, we traversed across the glacier, near its upper terminus, towards the objective. After the glacier crossing, this is where the meat on the bone is! The climbing was a damn good time! The climb is broken up into two sections. The first is the scramble up towards the minor bench from the glacier; routes vary from class 3-4. From the bench to the summit, Mark and I took separate routes. Our routes were class 4, maybe 5... The rock quality is a bit suspect as things are loose. During our descent we found an easy class 3 route on the SE side of the summit.
The views from the top were fantastic. There was a stark contrast for me - look South and there's civilization, look North and there stand proudly my next personal challenges; The Judge, Five Fingers Group, Robertson, The Crown Jewel of Garibaldi Provincial Park. I was happy to have been back out in the mountains, as I'm just coming back from an injury.
The going back was tough and hot. The lack of sleep was catching up with both of us. I even had a hallucination of a man holding a sign as we were nearing Meslilloet NE1. Once back at camp, we wolfed down our dinners. It was a blissful and clear night full of stars, beer, mountains, and friends.
The next day we hiked out in about three hours. Mark did an excellent job keeping us on track with his GPS. He's quite handy with it.
This is a mountain that inspires me to greater challenges.