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West Ridge of Slalok: the Zen of Boulder Hopping
Timestamp Free: 2020.03.31 - 15:24:51
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Lillooet Ranges / Joffre Group
  (1 days)
Participants: Warren Piers, Henry Doornberg, Sam Thompson, Don Luymes
Difficulty: 3: Class 3
A very pleasant daytrip scramble up the blocky West Ridge of Mt. Slalok via the interminable (and largely avoidable) boulderfields of the Tszil Valley.
My friend Warren and his regular climbing sidekick Henry came down from the Rockies for our almost-annual Coastal scramblefest. Most of these affairs have been on the one rainy day of summer, so this year the dry sunny forecast for the long weekend was especially welcome.

After an over-charged stay in Whistler (we aren't exactly hardcore, are we?) we found ourselves at the Joffre parking lot at 6:30. Warren had previously made his most valuable contribution to the success of the trip when he casually invited Sam along, at a chemistry conference. Sam (who IS hardcore) slept in his car at the trailhead and emerged while we threw way too much stuff into our "day"packs. He looked more and more quizzical at our ices axes, rope, helmets, harnesses, buckets of trailmix . . . he came well equiped with lowcut hikers and a day-old slice of pizza.

We charged up to Upper Joffre Lake in an hour or so and then headed up to the Tszil-Taylor col. Here began the boulder-hopping. Talus of all sizes and shapes. I kind of enjoy talus, but my Rockies brethren yearned for scree, or at least loose rock so they headed up higher on the flank of Tszil to find some. Sam and I soldiered on among the blocks. Some rock-hard snow patches here soon made Sam regret his lack of axe and decent boots. But for all that, they all beat me to the col by a long shot.

From the col we angled up the light-grey stepped ramp left of the ridgecrest, and then traversed some snow to avoid having to climb over the summit of Tszil. From the Slalok-Tszil col we headed up the west ridge on more boulders. The first step in the ridge has an amazingly convenient switchback of grassy ledges that deposited us onto yet another boulderfield. The broad boulderfield narrowed at a steeper headwall below the false summit....

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