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Blanshard Needle - West Face Ascent
Timestamp Free: 2020.10.22 - 05:44:07
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges
Participants: Justin Brown and Geoff Baart. Lengthy approach with some rough elevation loss and gain between Alouette and Blanshard. Routefinding on exposed, sometimes loose pitches to 5.6 (harder off route). Some pitches are difficult to protect.
A fantastic climb of the west face of the Blanshard Needle by way of Alouette Mountian and the Alouette Mountain Trail.
Cr..CRACK...CR..CRACK!!! I awaken to the sound of Geoff springing upright in his bivy sac beside me. "We've got company!" he says, as he dons his headlamp and quickly shuffles out of his bag. I feel a sudden rush of adrenaline flood my drowsy body and I'm instantly completely alert and scrambling for my headlamp. The two of us shone our lights into the blackness of night that surrounded us, half expecting to find some hideous creature bearing down on us. "Did you hear that?!" Geoff said. "I heard something" I replied. At that point my hearing was so concentrated that all I could hear was a deafening ringing sound. I pushed the light button on my watch and saw that it was 3am.
Geoff and I had departed from near the Mike Lake parking area in Golden Ears Park the previous evening around 8pm. Our plan was to do most of our travelling up the Alouette Mountain Trail in the dark to beat the 30+ degree heat of the day. We had parked at the bottom of the Incline Trail and set out up the steep shortcut to the old fire access road pushing our mountain bikes. This trail cuts off the first few kms of the old fire road by climbing directly up the mountainside for about 1 km to rejoin the road higher up. Bikes are not permitted to be ridden on this trail. We reached the road and from there we were able to comfortably begin the ride up the mildly graded road. With darkness fast approaching, we soon found ourselves pedalling up the road in the cool night air donning our headlamps.
Our master plan was to ascend the west face of the Blanshard Needle the following day. This was a climb that Geoff and I had talked about many times before and finally, had agreed on attempting as a trip for his upcoming birthday.
We pressed on through the darkness pausing briefly here and...
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