Sunday, October 21, 2007
Read's Tower/Mt Sparrowhawk
trailhead 5642ft 10,239ft summit vert gain 4597ft
My first attempt at a 10,000 footer
The picture at left was the last picture my camera took before the batteries ran out! Its 5:56am and I'm taking one last look at the maps before I set out. I guess I'll blame forgetting extra batteries on the early hour but the route was long and I needed every ounce of daylight for this solo trip.
With Suz out in Tofino learning how to surf, I thought I'd try a solo trip to Read's Tower and up if conditions allowed to the summit of Mt Sparrowhawk. Both are on the east side of Spray Lakes.
In lieu of my own pics, I'm relying on pics I found on the net of the route. This led to an amazing coincidence...
this is Mt Sparrowhawk as seen from Spray Lake, I was surprised to discover its just as orange as shown on my map.
Here is a nice view of Spray Lake on the way up to Read's Tower.
At about 9000 ft on Mt Sparrowhawk, I found myself on the final pitch to the summit. The snow however was substantial and wind polished to a marble finish that was really too dangerous to try by myself without an ice axe. The really weird thing is that through the snow pack were two sets of footprints set like concrete. That's not so weird but when I went online looking for pictures to show where I had been, I found this one on the left dated 3 days before my trip! The footprints in this picture are the very ones I was following! The internet is pretty cool. So as it turned out I was following William Marler's footprints. I don't know him but it blows my mind that I found out who's footprints those were. Sherlock Holmes himself would be impressed.
And so I enjoyed the view of the surrounding peaks including a great vantage of Mt Galatea 10km to the south. It was pretty cold to stay more than 10 minutes before making my way back down.
A funny thing happened in the cirque. The cirque has a very narrow opening before it drops straight down to the watershed. In the doorway that I was forced to go through, I thought I could see a brown animal sitting a prominent rock. It was 50ft away from me and I was joking to myself that that rock looks like it has a cougar on it. What a perfect spot to hunt in this bottleneck. Then I saw the brown shape move and I realised that there was an animal on it! I did a quick scan and realized I had no where to go and no way to avoid this spot. I gave a low yell and started throwing rocks into the ground beside me. Before I could get properly terrified though, it jumped off its perch to reveal itself- a mountain goat. I laughed with relief but was puzzled it was perching like a hunching cat on this promontory.
Scare and all, I'll definitely go back here when there is less snow. I'll make sure I have camera batteries too.