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Sat, Aug 14 2010 - Painted Tepee (View Original Event Details)

Coordinator(s): Jim Foster
Participants:Alan Wiley, Alan, Jim Foster

Write Up:
What started out as a benign approach turned into an epic bushwhack. At this point in the summer everyone's plans have changed dramatically and so I ended up with only one person who remained signed up, Alan Wiley from Alberta. He asked to invite a friend, Alan Kennard, and I agreed after hearing about his ability. The weather was 50% scattered showers and true to its word when I arrived at the Two Med Camp Store a light rain was falling. By the time we got our gear on it had stopped but I still wore my rain pants and parka. The 5 mile approach took us up lake and past Rockwell Falls then up the switchbacks to gain the upper bench. The map showed a relatively clear area at the tip of the southeast ridge which is approximately where I wanted to exit the trail. We found a small trail leading off the main trail toward the base. It came to an end rather soon and then we were bushwhacking through dense understory that was totally laden with moisture. I pushed through the wet vegetation and the Alans drafted me to avoid some of the wet but they still got soaked. We finally started up the mountain and made our way up steep grassy slopes, around and up slippery rocks, along cliff bands and into the middle of a gully that was imposing in both directions. We decided to go up and were quickly in class IV terrain on slippery rock. The last pull onto the goat path above was a total vegetation belay. The rest of the approach to the summit block was the typical route finding puzzle we all face when climbing in Glacier. We made the bottom of the summit block in four hours from the cars. The rain had not reappeared so we were in relatively good spirits but rather wet. After some lunch we donned our harnesses and I scouted around for the best line. I realized that the rock was still quite damp and was very worried about negotiating this climb on the sharp end. Denis Twohig had given me some beta and the southwest ridge proved to be the easiest line. Once on belay the climb went rather well and I was able to gain the summit in about a half hour after setting three pieces of gear. I built our anchor and then belayed the two Alans onto the summit. After our summit photo we all rapelled to the base on the two 100' ropes I brought. We needed the full 100 feet. Once Alan Wiley touched down the rain started again so we quickly removed our rock climbing gear, put our rain gear on and headed down. The climb was marked as an X in the Journal because we were scouting out the route up and down. Having been up a route we definitely did not want to descend in the rain, the next task was to find a different route off the mountain. I knew from previous scouting that if we followed the upper talus toward Cobalt Lake the cliffs tended to fade out so we started side-hilling along this talus slope. At the first cliff horizon we found a good gully to descend and were back into another talus slope. At the second major cliff horizon though we had to carefully work down a rocky spine, then back along a wet ledge to within about 8 feet of the talus below. We dropped our poles and packs and jumped off this ledge onto talus. Not particularly graceful but it worked. The final cliff horizon was the worst of all. An open slope led to the edge of a 50 foot cliff that extended as far left and right as we could see. I noted a large flake of rock to my right that had pulled away from the cliff forming a chimney and was hopeful that it might lead to a way down. I dropped into this chimney about 3 feet and headed down a 30 degree vegetated slope to the edge which ended in air on slippery rock with about 30 feet to the bottom. A large chock stone had gotten wedged into the bottom of this chimney that looked like I could lace a rope around it. With Alan Kennard's help in holding me from pitching over the edge, I threaded one of our climbing ropes around this chock to set up a rapel station. Because I could not turn around (too tight) I could not place webbing. When Alan Wiley descended to the rap point, he was face in and tied some webbing around the chock stone and restrung the rope so we could pull it. We all made it safely off this cliff and continue our descent. We finally made it to the trail at around 1600 and the rain finally ended. We had two more showers though before we made it out. The entire climb lasted 9 hours 45 minutes with a total elevation gain of 2,700 feet, the last 100 feet as a technical climb. Total calorie burn was 5,708 and we walked 25,277 steps.

Have some photos from this event that you'd like to share in our photo album? Please forward them to Tim Anderson at Please note that we prefer to receive the photos in approximately 640x480 or 750x500 pixels - do NOT send original high-res photos. If you have a LOT of photos, please submit up to twenty of your favorites (only) for a day event, or up to forty of your favourites for a multi-day event. Thank you.

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