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The Essence of Autumn: Nraiteskel at Downton Creek Headwaters # 5766

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Date: 2004.10.03
Vantage Point: From ridge above lake

Caption: Looking west to the dramatic 8700' granite peaks on the Downton/Lost Creek divide.

PhotoDescr: Autumn should really last much longer; the cool weather, changing colours, lack of bugs are much more conducive to mountain travel!

These were the peaks Mike Layton and I were confronted with when we pulled the plug on the Downton traverse, a series of steep and craggy granite things that Gary Shorthouse, Paul Baker, and I went back to go explore this past weekend.

We followed the left skyline of the main peak. A very nice Class 3 ridge with a little fourth getting around the steep bit low down. There are some nice granite features in the area that might make decent roped climbs.

Don Serl and Dave Sulina also climbed this route in 1992, starting up steep snow on the northeast face of the 8600' pyramid one km south of the above peak and continuing on up the south ridge of 8700.

When Mike and I exited from the area in August, we were forced to traverse south along steep gullies on the northeast side of 8600 to gain the road. On this trip, Gary, Paul and I went in the same way but tried to exit down a bushy spur that dropped directly from the lake. Once we gained the lower debris plain, we noticed that someone has flagged a route in this section, and that with some care, a decent path of ingress could be made directly up the bluffy section next to the waterfall (see below for exceptions). To locate the flagged route, look for the rock cairns at the side of the pond right by the side of the road as it crosses the creek draining the cirque.

The peak seems to have an unknown FA date and party -- no register was in the cairn at the top. The group of summits immediately north of this one has been "named" after musical notations by Alan Greer in the 1992 CAJ (q.v.).

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