Sept 29, 2010
Chris and I went for an awesome ramble up in the Callaghan Valley, scrambling up Ring Mountain and Mount Callaghan. The weather was too nice to be stuck inside, so we took the day off work and took our out of shape office legs for a stroll in the hills. We drove the rough 2WD road to the trailhead, about 100m from Callaghan Lake. There's a nice flat trail which takes you approximately ten kilometres, past the Callaghan Country Lodge, around Conflict Lake, through beautiful meadows, and finally gaining some elevation up to Ring Lake.
A beautiful chilly morning in the meadows
From Ring Lake, we contoured around the north side of the lake, and headed up over talus slopes and steep scree towards the northeast ridge of Ring Mountain. Most people climb Ring Mountain in the spring, when you can drive high up on spur roads off the Squamish Main, and then ski off the summit. This way, you have a fantastic spring ski trip, and all the dangerously loose rubble is covered in a frosting of snow. Volcanic peaks are like cakes, they're best served with frosting.
Chris climbing up along the talus and scree enroute to Ring Mountain. Ring Lake is down to the right, and Mount Callaghan is in the centre. After descending off Ring, we went up over the peak on the left before continuing east to the main summit.
Chris taking his time and being careful with the loose blocks on this part of the scramble. In the winter, there are some gullies to the left which can be easily bootpacked. A helmet is highly recommended!
Surprisingly, there was actually a few metres of good scrambling just before reaching the summit plateau. We both thought it was just going to be a big choss pile.
Looking north towards the Squamish glacier, and Little Ring Peak. Fred introduced me to chossy peaks several years ago when we climbed that peak in a whiteout. We also spent some time in a tent stormbound on that glacier on a different trip.
The views were not too shabby for a Wednesday. It's views like this that makes it hard for me to focus sometimes.
Chris downclimbing the steep loose section off Ring Peak.
Our route followed the ridge just to the left of the snow. The Ashlu-Elaho divide is in the background, a really good ski tour!
After carefully reversing our steps off Ring Peak, we descended to the Ring-Callaghan col, and ascended talus to reach the a minor summit west of Mount Callaghan. From here, we found a short ramp bypassing cliffs on the east side of that summit, and then dropped down onto the mellow Callaghan glacier, and continued along the glacier and over a few sub-summits.
Chris and Exodus Peak in the background. A highly recommended spring ski trip that can be done in a day from Dipper Creek.
Looking north towards Ipsoot and Rainbow Mountain. I think I'm going to have to spend some time skiing there this winter.
Chris, on top of the stock market as usual. I'm sure he thought the views from the summit were pretty good too.
Silly summit shot with the wide angle at the top of Mount Callaghan.
Looking south at the Squamish Cheakamus Divide. I've never gone skiing here!
We thought about going over the summit, and then dropping down onto the SE trending ridge leading back to the car to make a nice loop, but ended up going back via Ring Lake due to the fading daylight and lack of energy. Ring Lake itself would make for a good spot to camp. Our descent down towards Ring Lake was slightly more exciting that I hoped for, as we dropped down into the wrong basin too soon, and ended up downclimbing next to a waterfall to bypass a cliff band.
One last look at Ring Lake.
Reflecting on a beautiful day in the mountains. I can't wait to get outside again!