Photos by Greg Maurer of www.alpenglowpro.com. Photo Workshops, Limited Edition Prints and Panoramas.
The Chehalis Range
Mt. Bardean Tuning Fork Left 510.b
The Chehalis Range rock is quality just like the Bugaboos and it's only 5 hours to the trailhead from Vancouver. This area was first scouted for climbing possibilities in the 1930's; it wasn't until the 1950s when the Alpine Club of Canada explored again. It was largely forgotten until the 1970s and 80s when a modern climbing resurgence occurred. Since then, Vancouver climber Don Serl has over the years been a major driving force in establishing new lines.
The rock is solid grandiorite, clean and blocky with great friction and has pretty good cracks. Although it should be noted that cracks on Mt. Bardean are often thin and bottoming. Be prepared to bang a few pins--thin blades mostly.
The Tuning Fork is the prominent double line in the centre of the massif. The left side was first climbed by Don Serl, Mike Down and Jim Elzinga, and tended to be quite direct in line. The second ascent was done by Kobus Bernard and party. The third with some deviation was done by Paul Kendrick, Doug Dean and Greg Maurer. The deviation was mostly because we couldn?t figure where Serl and Co. went directly. At an obvious cave (big enough to bivy) we turned left around the edge of the face and dropped on to an inclined ramp and found a hidden 2+ pitch corner system. It shows well in the photo. We crossed right, over the east facing wall of the corner back onto the face and continued from there. Relatively easy climbing led to a steep headwall, (second crux 510.b) which was climbed in about a pitch and half while the sun set. We bivy-ed on the summit in garbage bags (mexi-bivy sacs). The climb is mostly 5.8 and 5.9 in difficulty
Drive to Chehalis Lake via Mission, and then go right on Hwy 7 toward Harrison Lake. Turn north at the Sasquatch Restaurant following that logging road to the north end of the lake. Park near Statlu Creek and follow the skid road and then a trail to Statlu Lake. Follow this trail to the west end of the lake and head up the valley and boulder fields until you see a big gapping gash canyon. On the right hand (west side) is a hidden goat trail to the terraces above. Bivy sites are on the exposed glacial slab terraces below the climb.
Cross the easy hikeable summit of Bardean to Mt. Ratney and do a couple of raps down the north ridge. The first rap is overhung into the famous Dudra/Rode overhang. I think they protected the exit with a tied off scarf. Scramble along the divide and down-climb or rap to easier ground leading back to the bivy site and look at your route with new eyes.
Gear: A couple of 9 millimeter 50m ropes. A selection of small pins and versatile mountain rack.
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