Recourse Peak

August 9, 2020


Chehalis Area / Harrison West, BC

Recourse Peak might be the least sought-after objective in the Chehalis “VRC” Group as it’s rather just a mere bump on the NE Ridge of Mt. Clarke. It doesn’t even boast 100 m topographical prominence. It’s most commonly done as part of the traverse from Viennese Peak to Mt. Clarke and is rarely done as a separate objective in its own. However, the inclusion in Matt Gunn’s Scrambles in SW British Columbia had given Recourse Peak some degree of attention. The standard route is the NE Ridge from Viennese/Recourse col and goes at “difficult scramble” with one tricky step that’s often aided by a fixed sling. For Lily and myself this was done as part of the traverse and earlier in the day we had climbed over Viennese Peak.

Viennese, Recourse, Clarke Traverse. GPX DL

The lower ridge of Recourse Peak required us to step onto snow. I had my Trango Ice Cube mountaineering boots and felt fine to just boot it up. Lily had her approach shoes and decided to use an ice axe and crampons. We together only brought one set of snow gears and that turned out to be a great decision. Above the snow arete we then scrambled up through some weaknesses in the lower cliff bands. It wasn’t difficult to stay on the path with the least resistance, and that sling at the crux spot provided some visual aid. We just had to aim for that sling. At the crux I tried to not use the sling but opted to grab the sling in the end, as the exposure was real and none of us wanted to risk a fall. Without the sling this step might be “low 5th class”. There was still some fairly sustained 3rd class scrambling with considerable amount of exposure above the crux and the route-finding wasn’t very obvious. The terrain eventually levelled out near the summit and the views were ass-kicking.

The start of Recourse Peak’s NE Ridge

Lily ascending the lower snow slope with Viennese Peak behind

Me approaching the crux. Photo by Lily Q.

Lily climbing up the crux step.

More exposed scrambling above the crux.

Looking back at the west ridge of Viennese Peak

The clouds came in and out obscuring Viennese Peak

A closer view of Viennese Peak with the clouds

One more photo of Viennese Peak as it has such a striking profile

The upper slopes of Recourse Peak was fairly easy

The head-on view of Mt. Clarke from the summit of Recourse Peak

Partial Summit Panorama from Recourse Peak. Click to view large size.

Partial Summit Panorama from Recourse Peak. Click to view large size.

Lily on the summit of Recourse Peak

Looking far south towards Mt. Baker and Fraser Valley

The north faces of Mt. Bardean and Mt. Ratney

Lily with Mt. Clarke behind

Viennese Peak from the summit of Recourse Peak

A wider view over the SE Ridge of Mt. Clarke in the foreground

Me on the summit of Recourse Peak

We searched around and couldn’t find any residual snow patches for melting water. The nearest patches of snow was near Recourse/Clarke col. I was hoping to bivy on the summit of Recourse Peak for better views but we had to prioritize the water source, so after snapping some photos we immediately descended the SW Ridge. The descent was a little trickier than expected with at least one or two exposed spots and fair amount of route-finding. We did not descend all the way to the lowest point. Once we found a good flat spot with access to snow we decided to call it a day. We still had almost an hour daylight time but we just wanted to relax and chill. There was even some cell services so we both did some live Instagram updates as the position was really good. The sunset was sick.

Lily descending exposed terrain on SW Ridge of Recourse Peak

A zoomed-in view of Mt. Judge Howay to the west

More about descending the SW Ridge of Recourse Peak

Looking ahead towards the NE Ridge/Face of Mt. Clarke (5.6)

Me on the SW Ridge of Recourse Peak. Photo by Lily Q.

We settled here for the night.

The south ridge of Grainger Peak to the north

Low clouds came in and out obscuring Grainger Peak

Me soaking in the sunset. Photo by Lily Q.

Lily and our cooking spot

Robertson Peak dominates the skyline

This ice axe was essential in chopping snow for water

Evening alpenglow on Mt. Bardean and Mt. Ratney

The southern skyline at dusk including Mt. Baker on the horizon

It’s sunset time!

Looking back at Recourse Peak from where we bivyed

A closer look at the sunset over some remote Garibaldi area

Mt. Judge Howay at dusk.

The night wasn’t very cold but without a tent nor a sleeping pad I still felt quite cold towards the morning in my Western Mountaineering +2 bag. It was okay though as I did manage to catch up some sleep. On the second day the trip continued with an ascent of Mt. Clarke via NE Ridge.