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Cathedral Park - Matriarch to Grimface traverse
Timestamp Free: 2020.03.29 - 06:18:12
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Cascade Range / Canadian Cascades / Okanagan Range / Cathedral Ridge
Participants: Doug Wilm; Matt Nikkinen; Drew Brayshaw
The traverse of the three high summits in the Grimface Massif gives an excellent day out on wonderful granite - a true classic at a moderate technical grade (III 5.7, mostly class 3-4).
Doug, Matt and I, needing some project for the long weekend to celebrate Doug's upcoming wedding, hence his last week of freedom, decided on Cathedral Park. A few years previously Shane Cook and I had become seriously lost while trying the same thing and ended up on the border - it was all Shane's fault, honestly. So there was a bit of a score to settle. The Matriarch to Grimface traverse is glowingly described in Beckey Vol. III. In summary it is a long ridge traverse over 3 summits plus some subsummits, and is mostly scambling with a few rock pitches to 5.7+ and one short 2-bolt bolt ladder.
We headed up on Saturday morning and drove leisurely up the Ashnola River from Keremeos. Lots of cars in the parking lot for the lodge but only one other vehicle in the Wall Creek parking. In the last year or so a new bridge across the Ashnola at km 38.1 has shortened the Wall Creek approach by about 2km.
We headed up the trail, finding little difficulty in following it. The point at which Shane and I had veered off a few years before was, in hindsight, glaringly obvious as the wrong valley and I blushed a bit to think how trustingly I had followed Shane into no man's land. The Wall Creek fork becomes unmaintained after it leaves the Centennial trail but is pretty easy to follow, having the odd flagging tape in sections where it detours around swamps and windfall, and it took us about "five and a bit" hours to make it to high camp in the meadows below Grimface - we had all left watches behind on this trip making it a timeless interval indeed. There was no one else in the whole valley - nice on the BC Day weekend, indeed!
The night was passed with a campfire and contemplation of the stars and mosquitoes. Come the dawn we racked up and headed for the rock. We wandered up...
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