October 4, 2015
Pemberton / Birkenhead Lake Area, BC
Prospector Peaks are a collection of two peaks in the Cadwallader Range north of Pemberton, but unlike other dual-summit objectives this has one being clearly the true peak. The NE peak is roughly 100 m higher in elevation than the SW, and is a relatively eye-catching objective in its vicinity especially when viewing from the north (thank to its glaciated face). Alex, Dean, Ben and myself ascended it on the second day of our upper Phelix Creek peak-bagging camp, after successfully ticking Mt. Weinhold and then Mt. Taillefer off our list.
Earlier in the trip we’d already downgraded our ambition to save Standard Ridge/Peak for another trip, so slept in till almost 7 am. From our camp below the SE slopes of Mt. Taillefer we picked a rising traverse line due East avoiding the temptation to gain too much elevation. We bypassed a couple high points on the right hand side and upon seeing a huge bowl (with significant amount of elevation loss) ahead we started contouring to the left on a broad ridge plateau. This eventually led us to the base of our objective.
There’s another peak in front of us that we opted to ascend up and over on the way up, but side-hill around on the way back. The rock was loose but from the top of this peak we did get a great head-on view of our objective. Slogging up the SW (false) summit was uneventful and in short time we were looking at the final steep scramble.
The true summit looked fairly involved from afar but not quite the case. The rocks were again, loose but the scrambling never exceeded Class 3 and with Alex leading the way up we soon made to the summit. We took a long break up there before committing to the long descent back to car…
Retracing our steps back down the ridge and over the SW peak went uneventful and at the base of that 3rd peak we opted to side-hill around. There’s one section of horribly loose talus but overall I’d still prefer this option versus going up and over. And then it’s that broad ridge plateau traverse. We followed more-or-less our uptracks but did do a few deviations. Back to camp, we spent half an hour packing up and resting and then it’s time to get ready for the unpleasant bushwhacking fest… I had to say the down-hill bushwhacking wasn’t nearly as bad as expected, but the slide alders down by the creek was a different game though. That part was just as horrendous as what I remembered on the way in, but oh well… I had to get used to this as I’m in the West Coast now…
Overall this was a great trip with a very capable group. Although it wasn’t quite on the agenda, it did get me introduced to the West Coast bushwhacking… This area, though remote, does offer some great peak-bagging opportunities with those long ridge walks and I’m sure I’ll be back sooner than later. The drive back home was long (4 hours) but after a last-minute check with weather forecast I figured I had to make use of the next day…