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Colonel Foster / South Peak - Early summer
Day Trip 17hrs return
Date: July 05 2011
Weather: Mixed / Warm
What a great trip up Colonel Foster! We left the parking lot at 2:15am and had a pleasant hike up noticing that the Park Ranger had done some clearing of the trail. Crossing the slide paths in the dark was no issue with the Petzl Ultra Headlamp. We reached Landslide Lake just before 6am, took a short break and then bashed our way around Landslide Lake. This section proved to be the worst due to poor overgrown trail conditions during snow melt. Once we reached Foster Lake the route up to the Saddle looked interesting as a lot of snow had melted. The snow ramp up to the upper snow bowl looked fairly narrow and possibly not do-able. Luckily once there we were able to sneak up a narrow snow ramp and gain access onto the snow bowl. By 10am we were having an early lunch on the saddle and checking out our next moves. Due to lack of snow the Snow Gullies were looking steep and half melted out in the upper sections. We took the right gully, but it was not until we came down that I realized we should have taken the left Gully. On the route we selected, Tawney was reaching the limits of her comfort zone when the snow disappeared and we were forced to climb on steep loose rock while passing by rappelling slings. After a few short steps we reached a short chimney that took us up onto the steep open slopes. The rest of the way up was fairly straightforward and we were sitting on the South East summit just before Noon. The clouds were starting to roll in and I was concerned about getting down. Instead of down climbing the route we took up I was able with some effort to find an exposed scramble down the West bowl. We made it safely back down to the Saddle by 2pm. Tawney was feeling a lot better now we were back on snow, plus the weather was clearing up again. The descent down to Landslide Lake took no time so we cruised right by and took a breather at the bridge which crossed Foster Creek. Now all we had left was the 9km hike out the ERT that we did that morning in the dark. This time we got to see the trail, and by 7:20pm the trail-head was in our sights. Patting ourselves on the back knowing we had climbed the Colonel in 17hrs, we quickly loaded the car and headed into Campbell River for food.
How to get there?? Hike upstream on the Elk River Trai for 10kms. Cross over the bridge which drains Landslide Lake. Once on the other side look upstream for rock cairns, which lead to a worn trail in the timber. Hike upstream for 1 km before reaching Landslide Lake.
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