Forum Index > Trip Reports > Easy Mox SE Face - August 28, 2018
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Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors



Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 2010 | TRs | Pics
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Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors
PostWed Aug 29, 2018 9:52 pm 
Who: Josh Lewis and I
What: Easy Mox via the SE face from Col of the Wild (Two technical pitches; Class 5.5)
When: August 27-28th for myself; August 26-29th for Josh
Bulger #97

Easy Mox turned out to be a bit more difficult to get than anticipated. Rewind back to August 2015, Josh and I climbed Spickard, Rahm, Redoubt and Hard Mox in one trip, leaving Custer and Easy Mox.

Now back to this summer. I started a new job in mid-July, leaving 5 Bulgers left to do for myself when I started. Being a 2 week on, one week off rotational job, I would have a few weeks to finish up the last 5 Bulgers, two of them being Custer and Easy Mox. I figured we could get them both in one trip when I was off work August 1-8. The plan was for me to pick Josh up in Bellingham and drive him to the Hannegan Pass Trailhead, then I would drive around to the Depot Creek Trailhead outside the Chilliwack Provincial Park in Canada, crash in my van then approach to Lake Ouzel the next day and solo Custer and meet Josh at the lake in the evening. We would then climb Easy Mox the next morning, and I would hike out while Josh solod Custer and started his hike back to the Hannegan Pass TH.

Well, on August 6th, after I solod Custer via its south ridge (which btw, is by far the best route on this peak...mostly solid the entire way except the last 350 feet), I laid out my sleeping bag at the nice sandy spot by Lake Ouzel and enjoyed the pleasant afternoon in a wonderful place, and drifted in and out of napping. Darkness came and Josh never showed up. Then sunrise came and he still wasn't around. I was all alone in this alpine wonderland. I decided to hike up to the Redoubt Glacier and hoped he just was slightly delayed on his long approach, which took him over Hannegan and Whatcom Passes, then over Tapto Peak and past Bear Lake. I waited on the rocky rib that bisects the Redoubt Glacier at about 7400 feet hoping to see him pop over and running down the glacier so that we could tag Easy Mox together. I didn't feel up for soloing it via its north ridge route as I only had a 30 meter rope (Josh had the other 30m), and I wasn't sure I would be comfortable possibly downclimbing some of the route. When 11am rolled around, I began hiking back down, as I had to catch an early flight back to work the next morning. Unfortunately for us both, Josh crossed over Redoubt Col just 20 minutes later! He ended up getting Custer as well, but didn't attempt Easy Mox either. Evidentely his route was filled with very tedious terrain and took much longer than anticipated.

Fast forward to the last few days, I was again off work from August 22-28, and Josh and I agreed to try it again. Josh believed he found a much better route to get to Redoubt Col, so I picked him up in Lynnwood this time on the 26th (since I had returned to Renton for a while), and dropped him off at the Hannegan Pass TH around 3:30pm (4 hours earlier than last time). He began hiking the trail in a light rain. I then drove back around to the Depot Creek Trailhead and crashed in the van for the night. Knowing I only had to hike to Redoubt Col the next day, I slept in, and got a leisurely 10am start. From the rain the previous day, all the brush in Depot Creek was soaking wet, which slowed me down a bit. I passed the waterfall and made my way up the climbers shortcut to the Redoubt Glacier, bypassing Lake Ouzel. Josh also had a shorter way to go, only having to get to the col, rather than the lake. At 3:30, I arrived and took a nap at the nice bivy spot, awaking later in the evening to watch the sunset. I was getting more and more worried whether Josh would make it, because if he didn't, this was my last chance to climb this peak, as my next time off wasn't until mid September, possibly too late for Mox. Just moments after the last glow of sunset faded though, I hear a loud distinct "Matt" yell from Josh, who had just arrived at the col! I was honestly suprised and immediately sprung up from my slumber (it was quite cold at this point) and yelled back to let him know where I was. We met up and chatted about how we both got soaked in the bushes on our approaches, and how it had rained on Josh that whole afternoon after I dropped him off. We ate dinner and set up our bivy. Just after it got completely dark we were huddled in our ultralight sleeping bags trying to stay warm during the coldest night I have had since I was in Bolivia in April.

Non smoky views from Chilliwack Lake
Non smoky views from Chilliwack Lake
Depot Creek Valley
Depot Creek Valley
Climbers shortcut route.
Climbers shortcut route.
Easy Mox from Redoubt Glacier
Easy Mox from Redoubt Glacier
Redoubt
Redoubt
Moxes
Moxes
Fury and Challenger way out there
Fury and Challenger way out there
Nohokomeen Glacier on Jack
Nohokomeen Glacier on Jack
Custer
Custer

I did not sleep at all that night, as the moon was incredibly bright, and I wasn't very comfortable since I didn't have my leg pillow (usually is my down coat but it was cold enough I was wearing it in my sleeping bag). We finally emerged from our sleeping bags around 8am, and ate a quick breakfast. Excited to finally start moving, we started making the traverse east towards Col of the Wild at 9. It was entirely on boulders, however they were surprisingly solid and made for quick boulder hopping to the final slope below Col of the Wild. We ascended the final 800 feet or so trying to find the more solid talus. The final 200 feet or so was the worst but still very manageable, and we made it to the col around 10:15. Using my 3 sentence Beckey route description, I quickly spotted the initial pitch, located in the steep gully immediately left of a prominent gendarme. We scrambled up the initial Class 3-4 gully for 40 feet or so and traversed right on a nice ledge as it brought us over much more exposed terrain; with a steep drop to the gaping pocket glacier on the north side of the col. The only roped climbing we did was ascending the 5.4-5.5 near vertical gully from the end of this first ledge. After about 50 feet of climbing on very blocky rock, the gully eased to class 3 and I belayed Josh up.

Here we put the rope away, and continued to the top of the gully, then following Beckeys description, traversed right on a nice ledge for 40 feet, then back left on a higher ledge for 80 feet, rounding a small rocky rib. We then saw the large white Class 3 slab that would take us up the next 250 feet or so. This scrambling was fun and very solid. We met up with the north ridge and finished via the last pitch of the normal route. It was solid and easy enough we both solod it and found ourselves on the summit at 11:45, just under 3 hours from Redoubt col! I really enjoyed that climb, and actually think it's just as good as the normal route, and in late season definitely better as you don't have to deal with the glacier or any moat issues. See the photo further down for a good route topo, using a photo I took of Easy Mox, from Hard Mox back in 2015.

Bear Mountain
Bear Mountain
Col of the Wild
Col of the Wild
Looking up Easy Mox
Looking up Easy Mox
The gaping pocket glacier I mentioned directly below us!
The gaping pocket glacier I mentioned directly below us!
The first pitch, up the gully left of the gendarme
The first pitch, up the gully left of the gendarme
Looking up the long white slab
Looking up the long white slab
Josh scrambling up
Josh scrambling up
Hard Mox
Hard Mox
Josh soloing the start of the last (second) pitch
Josh soloing the start of the last (second) pitch
Only 30 more feet of Class 3 to the summit!
Only 30 more feet of Class 3 to the summit!

We were elated to have finally climbed this peak. In hindsight, I probably could have solod the standard route 3 weeks prior, but that would have left Josh in a tough place to climb this peak. It was worth the wait. We both were confident in that we could now definitely finish the Bulgers this year. Since there was no register, I brought one up, and while Josh ate his two day old ragged looking pizza, I ate my signature bag of Gardettos. The new register has pink flowers, Hello Kitty, and cute little kittens and puppies on it to remind you that this is one easy mountain wink.gif  Josh failed to being the Easy Button for added theatrics but in his defense his approach was much longer.

Josh on summit
Josh on summit
The new register
The new register
First entry
First entry
Trust me, I don't look cool at all
Trust me, I don't look cool at all

After a 20 minute summit stay, we began scrambling down 30 feet to an established anchor. We made one rappel with the 60m rope we brought, and continued scrambling down the white slab, then down the two ledges to the top of the initial gully. Just as I started down the upper gully, I noticed some very old rappel slings around a large block just above the first pitch we climbed. It was so old and faded I missed it on the ascent! I backed it up with a new sling and we rapped down, and finished the scramble back to the col of the wild. We were successfully off the technical portion, and we made quick time getting back to Redoubt Col, which we arrived at 1:45. I was hoping to make it back to Abbotsford at a reasonable time for really no reason at all, so I quickly packed up, and thanked Josh for making the long painful approach, twice to come out to these peaks. I quickly made my way back to Depot Creek Road by 6pm and out. Josh started his hike back over Bear Mountain, and made it back to the Baker Highway this afternoon.

Josh downclimbing
Josh downclimbing
Descending the white slab
Descending the white slab
Rapping the first pitch
Rapping the first pitch
Leaving Josh behind again at Redoubt Col
Leaving Josh behind again at Redoubt Col

Here's a good route topo of the SE face. Honestly, this is a good route, with only a couple spots to really watch your footing for loose rocks.


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Ski
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Ski
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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 10:57 pm 
up.gif

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Stefan
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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 6:07 am 
So, I would like to hear Josh's route!  Anytime you can cover that amount of distance in that amount of time is impressive.

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Matt Lemke
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Matt Lemke
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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 6:28 am 
Stefan, yeah for sure impressive! I'll map out his route and add a map later today.

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RichP
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RichP
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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 7:51 am 
Great job, guys. I didn't know Josh had done so much of the list.

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rbuzby
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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 10:02 am 
Quote:
his long approach, which took him over Hannegan and Whatcom Passes, then over Tapto Peak and past Bear Lake.


Holy smokes!  Wouldn't it be easier to just take the Chilliwack trail to the camp at Bear creek, then follow the ridge crest SE up towards Bear, where you can drop down into the Bear creek drainage, below the incredible north face of Bear,  and then over to Redoubt?

You have guys have tons of energy, way to get out there.


Also, Bear seems to get no love or respect. I guess it isn't on some list that people go by.  It's a great peak, a fun scramble with one class 4 move at the top. And it's North face is one of the greatest in the Cascades.

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cartman
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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 10:21 am 
Excellent report of a rarely done route.  I only know of two parties who've done Easy Mox from that side.  From your description, it sounds more straightforward to go your way.


rbuzby wrote:
Wouldn't it be easier to just take the Chilliwack trail to the camp at Bear creek

No.  From Indian Creek Camp to the border the "trail", or what is left of it, is reported to be dense jungle.  It hasn't been maintained in forever.  There's no brush, if the trails are in good shape, all the way to Tapto Lakes and beyond to Sublime Ridge.  And the scenery is spectacular.

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iron
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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 10:23 am 
pretty sure that's the same route r3h did and we did (2015).

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rbuzby
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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 10:49 am 
cartman wrote:
From Indian Creek Camp to the border the "trail", or what is left of it, is reported to be dense jungle.


No kidding?  I know there isn't much budget for trail maintenance, but I am surprised the Chilliwack doesn't get any.  Maybe they are letting it go wild to protect us from the Canadians who might sneak across the border that way.  I feel safer already.



(Edit: It's only about a mile from Indian to Bear creek. A brushy mile might still be faster than off trail.  Of course the scenery is a totally different question.)

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cartman
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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 11:23 am 
Actually, I stand corrected.  The info I thought I remembered was from cascadetraverser's report, but the real schwack is north from Bear Creek Camp to the border (see days 7 & 8 of his report).

After doing Custer and Rahm, Mesahchie Mark and I ran into Marc and Tom coming out from Depot Creek after their big trip and chatted with them for a few minutes, which is when I first heard about that brush.

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Matt Lemke
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Matt Lemke
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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 3:47 pm 
rbuzby wrote:
Quote:
his long approach, which took him over Hannegan and Whatcom Passes, then over Tapto Peak and past Bear Lake.


Holy smokes!  Wouldn't it be easier to just take the Chilliwack trail to the camp at Bear creek, then follow the ridge crest SE up towards Bear, where you can drop down into the Bear creek drainage, below the incredible north face of Bear,  and then over to Redoubt?

You have guys have tons of energy, way to get out there.


Also, Bear seems to get no love or respect. I guess it isn't on some list that people go by.  It's a great peak, a fun scramble with one class 4 move at the top. And it's North face is one of the greatest in the Cascades.

Yes! Thats what he did this more recent second trip. Josh went up Indian Creek and up to the west ridge of Bear, traversed below the north side of the summit, then down an east facing gully into the upper bear creek valley. Then past the lake and to Redoubt col. That was the best route he found.

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Trailcat
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PostTue Sep 04, 2018 9:48 pm 
Matt - Congrats on teasing out a rarely climbed route.  I must say that you look pretty cool in the summit photo, wearing the pack I sold you earlier this year! ;-)

Incidentally, I happened to run into Josh on the Chilliwack Trail last Wednesday afternoon as he was hiking back to the trailhead.  He gave me some good beta on approaching Bear Mountain, which my partners and I were heading in to climb.  Except for a couple zones of bad brush, the west ridge really is a good approach route.  We took five days for the climb, because we are old and slow, but a fast party could readily do it in three days.  Here is my trip report:

http://trailcatjim.com/bear-mountain-american-chilliwack-mountains/

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