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Mount Cook - West Route
Timestamp Free: 2020.08.11 - 21:02:49
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Garibaldi Ranges
  (1 days)     Elevation Gain: 800m
Participants: Chris Majewski, Scott Nelson
Difficulty: 2: A few moves of class 2
This route offers an enjoyable off trail hike and scramble up Mt. Cook. No 3rd class climbing is involved.
After climbing Wedge and Weart the previous 2 days, I was due for a break. So far the VOC's 2nd annual Mountaineering Camp had been pretty darn good. Chris Majewski and a few others were taking an easy day as well. Their climb of the north arete of Wedge the day before involved a 100 ft. fall down 45 degree ice caught on a boot axe belay.

The plan was a rest day, but the weather was good and by 11:00 AM I was itching to do something. We settled on Mt. Cook. Chris and I and a few others set out from the Wedgemount Lake Hut, following a trail northeast swinging to the left of a couple of small outcroppings. The trail ended just past the final outcropping. We climbed up and right here through meadows and rock slides to reach an alpine bench below Mt. Cook. The prognosis for going straight up looked ok, but we followed the bench to the left instead to enjoy the views. This turned out to be a wise move, as the stability of the rocks on the slope improved dramatically to the west, making the indirect route worthwhile. The walk back east along the broad summit ridge was very pleasant with good views of Wedge, Weart, and the mountains to the north. From the end of the long ridge walk, some easy scrambling got us to the summit of Mt. Cook with no trouble whatsoever. It was 3 hours up from the lake.

On the way down we took a more direct route, following what seemed to be a trail, but loose rocks all over the open slope made the traveling a bit tedious. We would have been better off sticking to the bench + ridge route from the way up.

Overall, this was an excellent activity for a non-technical rest day at Wedgemount Lake. You could even do this route as a day trip from the cars if you wanted to. Be warned though, it's over 2000m of climbing from the parking...

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