Crater Slabs (October 2011)

Trip Date: October 15, 2011

Participants: Saravie Brewer, Max Bitel, Brittany Zenger, Geoff Zenger

Difficulty: 4

To find a more detailed trip report, please see my report of the route from the previous year.

For the second year in a row, early October brought a string of fair weather days, and Max suggested that we repeat our trip from the previous October to Crown Mountain via the Crater Slabs route, and this time bring Brittany and Saravie along with us for a taste of more serious scrambling.  We met up at about a 6:45 at the base of Grouse, where we left a vehicle and shuttled over to the entrance of Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, where we parked just outside the gate (as the gate is closed from 7pm-8am at this time of year) and were hiking up the road at about a quarter to 8.  The previous year we started our trip by hiking directly up to Dam Mountain from the base of the skyride and dropping down from Crown pass to Hanes Valley, but the direct route into Hanes Valley from Lynn proved to be much more efficient, and I recommend doing the trip as a loop for anyone who’s able to organize a vehicle shuttle.

We quickly made our way up Lynn Valley, and then Hanes Valley, and stopped for lunch high on the talus field before the gully that starts the route proper.  In order to give a lengthy headstart to another pair that we encountered wanting to do the same route and minimize the risk of being hit by rocks kicked down by them, we took our time and enjoyed the sunny autumn air, and began our way up the gully shortly after noon.  The route was dry, and once again we were able to provide plenty of entertainment to the crowds up on the summit of Crown gazing down upon us as we made our way up the slabs.  Near the top of the slabs, I made my way off to the left hand side of the main couloir with Brittany and Saravie (the easiest way out), while Max headed out on to the slabs directly below the summit and once the rest of us had established ourselves on the summit block, he made his way straight up to us.  He reports that the upper section of the slabs just below the summit venture into low-5th territory and that anyone who found the lower slabs challenging should exit straight up the couloir as the rest of us did.

Full of adrenaline from the climb up the slabs, Brittany was strangely hesitant to climb the summit block, but in the end we all got our photos of a beautiful fall afternoon and relaxed to enjoy some home made banana bread (far superior to Clif bars, I must say).  We left the summit at around 4:15, and made our way back to the Grouse mountain chalet, arriving after dark, only to buy our downloading tickets and to find that the red skyride was undergoing maintenance and that we’d have to line up for the blue skyride.  Had we known how long the line would be, we would have hiked down the BCMC trail in the dark.  However, as we already had our tickets, we settled down in the cafeteria to eat dinner and wait… and ended up waiting nearly 3 hours, finally arriving back at the base of grouse around 11pm.  Despite this delay though, the day could not be damaged, and an exhilarating and fun day was had by all of us.

Verdict: 3/3

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