On the Remembrance Day Long Weekend in 2012, Zach and I head up to the Keith Hut in the Joffre Group for some late season mountaineering. It ended up being one of the greatest mountaineering trips of my life that I would recommend to anyone. The Joffre Group offers some great mountaineering experiences and the Keith Hut makes the nights very comfortable. I learned one major unfortunate lesson, a little bit of snow on boulder and talus fields leads to black toe nails.
Joffre Lakes/Keith Hut - 09 Nov 12
We have finally reached Keith hut after a big march from the 99. The Cerise Creek Trail took us about four hours to climb most of which was in the dark. The trail itself was well marked and was relatively easy to follow but icy. The hut is great but everyone knows it, so it is quite busy to say the least.
We will try to summit Vantage Peak tomorrow.
Keith Hut – 10 Nov 12
We woke up early today after a night sleeping in the kitchen, good folk up here. We departed at 0830 for Vantage Peak and got within 150m of the summit before turning around, this may have been the wrong decision but it was past the turnaround time. We definitely took the most indirect route up the mountain because initially we started up the ridge to Mt Matier. After realizing our mistake we shifted to a more direct ascent up Vantage, which ended up going through a series of cliff bands which took way too long. On our descent we found a much faster route up the mountain.
No matter, new attempt tomorrow morning. At least the trail is broken.
Kamloops – 12 Nov 12 (Written one day after returning from the Keith Hut)
We got up at 0600 and were out of the Hut by 0730. This time we took a much more direct route. We went down through the bottom of the valley instead of traversing around the moraines at the bottom of the Anniversary Glacier, where we meet up with yesterdays trail. From here we went up a snow slope and then up through the “3rd cliff band” before we again reached the summit pyramid.
Unfortunately, we were stopped 25ft from the summit. The exposure, wind and technical difficult of the final moves made it impossible with the gear and training we had. We turned around and descended the same route as yesterday.
We were back at the Hut by 1400 and on the trail again to the cars by 1530. The walk down the trail was the most horrible hiking experience of my life. It was dark, the trail was steep, covered in ice and I had a 95L pack on. I was driving back to Kamloops by 2030 and arrived home at 0300. I probably set a world record for the slowest drive from Joffre Lakes to Kamloops due to a major snow storm.
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