Mount Rexford is large spire of high quality granite just north of the U.S. border and just south of Chilliwack. This mountain is the tallest in the general area just east of Slesse Mountain and Nesakwatch Creek and just west of Centre Creek. It rises approximately 650 meters above its local surroundings to the west. The east side offers a tremendous local relief above Centre Creek of over 1,500 meters. This mountain has good access for a peak in B.C. with driving via logging roads and a good climbers trail from both the west and east sides.
Mount Rexford was originally known as Ensakwatch Peak until it was renamed in recent times. Before the Chilliwack River Road was built in the 1950s, this area received little attention. Access was big concern with days of heavy bushwacking through slide alder and devils club just to reach the peaks in this area. After the Chilliwack River Road was built logging companies established 4wd roads up both Nesakwatch Creek and Centre Creek and the mountains here started to receive attention.
The first ascent of Mount Rexford was in July 1951 by Herman Genschorek and Walt Sparling, and the first winter ascent was in January 1978 via the Northeast Ridge.
Getting ThereFrom Vancouver or Hope, B.C., take the Trans Canada Highway to exit #119 with a sign for Sardis. Drive south through the town of Sardis for 5.5 kilometers to just before a bridge crossing the Chilliwack River. Turn left here on Chilliwack River Road. Drive 30.3 kilometers then look for a sign that says Riverside Camp Site. Turn right here and follow the logging road to the south. At 400 meters you will reach a junction, turn right here for access to the west side of the peak via the Nesakwatch Creek trailhead. Turn left here for access to the east side of the peak via Centre Creek.
From the West: Continue driving up the Nesakwatch Creek FSR (high clearance 4wd highly recommended). Drive for 5.6 kilometers to a clearing area at 640 meters elevation. You can walk from here (2.3 kilometers of road walking) or continue up the eroded FSR road on the left. The road is not in great shape but is doable (high clearance 4wd required). Drive or walk 2 kilometers to a T then proceed left up an overgrown FSR. I'd recommend parking even a jeep at the T, the "road" ahead is choked with Alder. Hike 300 meters up the road then switch back to the left. After about 100 meters, look for flagging on the right. This is the trailhead.
From the East: After turning left at 400 meters (see above) drive up to the locked gate. You will need to call the Department of Fisheries at Slesse Creek at 604-858-7227 to obtain a key to unlock this gate. They are open Monday through Saturday 8AM - 3:30PM. There is only 1 key, so first come first serve. Drive up the 2wd drive road for 3.5 kilometers until a bridge is crossed over Centre Creek. From here, the quality of the road degrades into high clearance 4wd only with many crossditches used for erosion control by the logging companies. Continue driving up the road for 7 more kilometers to reach the trailhead 860 meters elevation, 42 kilometers total from the start of Chilliwack River Road.
West Ridge - This moderate alpine rock climb is considered the standard way up the spire and while not technically harder than the Northeast Ridge, is a much shorter climb. Grade II 5.5, mostly scarmbling. Use the Nesakwatch Creek approach.
West Face - This climb is a variation of the West Ridge which finishes on the steep summit headwall via a series of crack systems. Grade II 5.8 - 5.10. Use the Nesakwatch Creek approach.
Southeast Arete - This indirect route provides a class 4 way to the summit of Rexford. This scramble wanders a bit and has some elevation loss. Grade II class 4. Use the Nesakwatch Creek approach.
North Face - This climb is used on the Ensakwatch Enchainment and reaches the summit of Rexford from the South Nesakwatch Spire / Rexford notch. Grade II 5.5. Use the Nesakwatch Creek approach.
Northeast Ridge - This route is the easiest way up from the east (Centre Creek) and is the standard descent route if approaching from that direction. The climb stays on or near the ridge crest and offers 500 meters of pleasant scrambling on solid rock. Grade III 5.4
East Ridge - This classic climb takes the long striking ridge for 500 meters rising directly above Centre Creek. The most popular climb on Rexford. Descend the Northeast Ridge. Grade III 5.7
Southeast Peak, South Pillar - First ascent by Drew Brayshaw and Shaun Neufeld on 7/2/06. Takes a series of steep crack systems on excellent granite. Use the Nesakwatch Creek approach. Grade III 5.11
Southeast Peak, West Route - This is the easiest way to the summit of the southeast peak. Approach from near the start of the West Ridge route on the main peak. Grade II class 4.
Southeast Peak, East Ridge - This is the easiest way to the summit of the southeast peak via the eastern Centre Creek approach. Low class 5 and unpleasant.
Pillar of Pi, Northeast Buttress - This long, steep, and difficult alpine rock climb is the original line on the Pillar of Pi (east face of the north ridge of Rexford's southeast summit). Grade V 5.9 A2, 18 pitches. Approach via Centre Creek.
More to come...
CampingThere are lots of camping options. One idea is to camp at the many campgrounds on Chilliwack River Road. There are several high bivi sites below the spires with good access to meltwater. The best one on the west side is probably at the notch directly below the Southwest Ridge of North Nesakwatch Spire. The best one from the east is probably near the trailhead with access to water from Centre Creek. Do not go up here late season to bivi and expect water. There won't be any.
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