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The West Gully on Strachan # 6177

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Date: 2004.12.21
Vantage Point: From top of gully

Caption: Paul Baker gullying on Strachan

PhotoDescr: This lesser known route is only briefly mentioned in Fairley but it provides an excellent winter/spring hiking route, sometimes offering some good hard neve, as we experienced this day. It is essentially a moderate snow ramp that never really gets past thirty-five degrees, but lower down where the gully becomes walled in there are some excellent 20-30 foot ice smears, easily top-ropable, that look to provide some good practice only an hour-and-a-half from the car. In late summer this gully would be an unsavory, greasy streambed.

Hiking this route after work on the summer solstice to watch the onset of fall has become a bit of a tradition amongst a semi-secretive group of sun worshippers. Halfway up the gully on this day, I realized I was completing the "antipodean ascent" on the day of winter solstice.

This gully is obviously extremely dangerous in periods of high avalanche danger, which is not as often as one would expect; it does receive some sun. It does however create a bit of a criminal feeling in one, travelling those "out of bounds" areas that writers of letters to the editor always scream so much about!

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