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Large Walls in the Dickson Range # 2815

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Date: 2002.08.15
Vantage Point: From Upper Roxey Creek Valley

Caption: The sun/shadow line at left is the large north buttress of Penrose North and the bump at right is the north face of the eastern summit of Mistaken Mountain.

PhotoDescr: This was taken on an ill-fated exploratory trip into the upper Roxey Creek area in August. We packed ridiculous amounts of crap (Pop Tarts, world radio, books, booze...) to a camp at about 6100', expecting to spend a few days poking around the various unclimbed ridges and faces in the area. The first day hiking in was spent battling every single species of biting insect imaginable while being ever on the lookout for the animals leaving HUGE footprints everywhere on the sandbars around Roxey Creek. From the best of our non-biological backgrounds, we guessed that there must have been five to ten moose with gaits of about three feet (too big for elk?) roaming the upper valley. We heard rocks dislodged in the night but never managed to see the beasts, strange as the valley above 6000' is not forested, has no escape paths or side valleys, and is only about 500 metres across.

The next day we attempted the west buttress of the north ridge of Peak 8000 -- a low angled knife edge from Roxey Creek -- but rappelled after a few pitches of loose fourth class. We soon declared the trip over after spending the remainder of the day squashing tremendous blackflies with enought mass to qualify as birds. On the way out Erika lodged her carbon fibre ski pole between two boulders, snapped it in half and then fell on the lower half, driving it into her stomach and embedding the shards! We spent that night admiring the cool dead skin-nibbling fish that inhabit the shores of Gun Lake (really, they get between your toes and have no fear of large, moving feet!)

To my knowledge there are only two technical routes in the Roxey Creek Valley, the north ridge of Dickson and the northeast (east in Fairley) buttress of Penrose north (its upper part is visible in photo at upper left). The large north face/buttress of Penrose North is about 1000' sheer but looks quite rubbly (keep in mind that Fairley would have walked past this feature to do the east buttress!) Although reportedly granitic, the rock leaves a lot to be desired; on Peak 8000, cracks were scarce and loose blocks plentiful. The northeast buttress of Mistaken is an obvious line if you don't mind loose rock, but it is guarded by hundreds of feet of steep talus and a blank lower section.

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