Ascent of Mount Perseus on 2020-08-02

Climber: Chris Hood

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, August 2, 2020
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Mount Perseus
    Location:Canada-British Columbia
    Elevation:8333 ft / 2539 m

Ascent Trip Report

I made an attempt on Mt. Perseus, managing to attain the 3rd subsummit (the high point is the 4th), before turning back due to a variety of factors. I used old forest/mineral exploration roads leading up Mackay Creek, then approach via the west ridge and "The Dome". Round trip time was close to 14 hours.

The road approach is restricted due to the mentioned exploration, although I initially decided that the notification signs looked old and continued along the road system. I ended up parking at an old field camp, and was soon approached by the exploration manager for the nearby program. He turned out to be ok with my presence, but was concerned as to whether I was having issues. The outcome was that he would check up on me at my estimated return time (8 PM) the following day, so I had a bit of a constraint for the length of my day. In all honesty, I would not have wanted to do most of the the route in the dark anyway!

The next morning I awoke to a porcupine alarm (huge porcupine chewing on my tire), so up went the wire fence. I headed up the old logging road system on the south side of "The Dome", climbing up-slope on roads that were growing in with alder, but really pretty good to traverse. A short, but treacherous regrowing cutblock led into forest-steep, a fair amount of blowdown, and the ubiquitous mountain misery undergrowth. Eventually, I broke out into flower meadows (gorgeous!), then it was easy alpine rambling to the summit of The Dome. The ridge leading east off The Dome is steep, narrow Class 3-4 terrain, and involves some tangling with dense krummholz. The lake basin of the north side, however, is spectacular. I ascended slightly easier Class 2-3 ridge out of the low saddle, then bypassed the next peak on steep, sometimes loose ground.

The next saddle marks the start of Mt. Perseus, and is entirely rubble-much of it loose. The ridge narrows again and is frequently loose and exposed. At one point, I stepped on a huge boulder, only to have it slide out from beneath me, flip on end, then cartwheel the entire 900m to the valley floor. Scary! Lots of boulder hopping, Class 3 terrain, loose slopes, and the occasional 4th class spot. There is some fun scrambling here, but also a lot of loose, exposed terrain. I passed the first subsummit on the south side, then scrambled up mossy ledges and corners to the second. At that point, the high point appeared ahead, much to my frustration, as I has hit my turnaround time. The downclimb off the second point was sketchy Class 4, starting with a short section over a cluster of boulders that appeared to be perched over a huge drop on the north face. A loose corner was followed by Class 3 terrain to the summit of the 3rd subsummit. At this point, I was half an hour past my turnaround point.

The 3rd subsummit was the high point of the only recorded previous attempt, and the previous party had described a 10m cliff that would need to be rappelled. I had brought a 30m rope and rappelling/ascending gear, but the drop was preceded by a sketchy-looking downclimb. That by itself wasn't an issue, but a pair of steep ice/snow gullies at the base, and what looked like minimum 4th class terrain beyond forced me to a decision. I did not bring an ice tool, and my light hikers would have significant issues with the hard snow. The turnaround time, my tiredness, the considerable amount of uphill and exposed/loose terrain on the return, building clouds, and above all, the close call on the huge boulder, all helped me to the decision to turn around, 10m vertical, and 200m horizontal from the apparently untouched summit of Perseus. I could not positively identify a cairn.

I followed the same route on return, with the long climb over The Dome and the tiptoe down through the forest and clearcut removing what remained of my reserves. This is also grizzly country, and the encroaching evening had me a bit on edge. None, thankfully, were encountered. Lots of bugs, however-more than I have seen outside of the Yukon/NWT/Nunavut. Significant blood loss was endured.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4334 ft / 1321 m
    Route:West Ridge
    Trailhead:Mackay Creek FSR  3999 ft / 1218 m
    Grade/Class:4 (with 1 rappel)
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Rope, Headlamp, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:7 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:7 Hours 15 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Chris Hood
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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