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Revolutions -- Partway Round Downton Creek
Timestamp Free: 2020.07.11 - 21:17:14
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Lillooet Ranges / Cayoosh Range / Cayoosh Range East
  (2 days)
Participants: Jordan Peters, Mike Layton Class 3-4
An attempt to encircle the entire Downton Creek headwaters.
The evocation of far is a peaceful corridor . . .

- William Faulkner Light In August

On a rainy workday in November (likely a Tuesday, things always seem worse on a Tuesday), my mind strayed from a pile of paperwork on my desk and disappeared into the pale green and whites of the Shalath map sheet. The mountains around Downton Creek at the east end of the Duffey Lake Road form a perfect horseshoe of peaks. Over forty kilometers. About twenty-six distinct peaks. A perfect, connected system of ridges that never falls below 7400 feet. You could go up the mountain on your left and some days later come down on your right on the other side of the road. A total of 13,300 feet of elevation to gain.

Mike Layton and I had attempted Peter Croft's spectacular Evolution Traverse in the Sierras last year but we had gone too light. Mike had packed starvation rations, but mostly it was my decision to take an overbag instead of a sleeping bag that had pulled the plug in the frosty September days. I felt bad and vowed to make it up to Mike. The idea as hatched and nurtured in secret throughout the planning season this past year was to encircle the entire headwaters of Downton Creek in a massive clockwise horseshoe revolution. In a vicious pun I started referring to this trip to Mike as the Revolution Traverse.

Was it ambitious? You bet! Was it foolishly large? Mmmaybe . . . .

Though Croft's traverse is at a high enough altitude to make the crux 5.9 climbing a bit dicey, at eight miles long it is about a third of the distance as the traverse I had planned around the Downton. Yes, the majority of the peaks in my proposal appeared non-technical and the final third of the traverse is famous scree-running territory, but there looked to be a crux in a knot of granite...

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