A Slog up a Rainbow

If you ever read “Unknown Mountain” by Don Munday, you’ll read not only about the incredible experiences Don, Phyllis Munday and others had pioneering new routes into the Coast mountains and particularly the Waddington Range. You may even get some small measure of feel for what is it like to bushwhack slide alder, devils club and other glorious flora common to coast rainforest. While our slog to Rainbow Mountain’s SW ridge was in no way comparable to the Munday’s grand sufferfests up Princess Louise and Kingcome Inlets and through wonderful stream crossings like Scar Creek up to the Waddington Homathko, it reminded me of the joys of bushwhacking. First mistake, starting from 700m when freezing level is 1000m+. Here’s the trailhead to Surf’s Up and Rebob going up to the Flank Trail.

We started from the Alta Lake Road Rainbow trailhead.

Instead of the route to Sproat which then becomes the Rainbow Valley route to in and Tonics lake; we took the right/north trailhead which goes up the north side of 21 Mile Creek. Our plan was to work our way up the Alpe D’Huez switchbacks of the mid-section of the Flank trail then try to work the contours over the SW ridge of Rainbow and gain Rainbow Mountain to check out the view and maybe ski Rainbow glacier down to 19 Mile Creek and then exit at Alpine Meadows.

Can you say “too ambitious”?

Can you say cement-like snow?


Trees got a little less tight. Snow still like cement from the tree bombs. The ski-out’s just gonna be a joy.

Obligatory shot of the Spearhead;

Fissile on right; Overlord/Fitzsimmons on left. Taken from a lookout on the Flank Trail. Someone less brain-dead might have even thought about using their

seasons pass to get up high and go bang out a few peaks … duhhh.

Sharon taking a break to take in the view of the two mountains.

By 1pm we haven’t reached out turnaroun time yet but its glaringly apparent that we ain’t getting there. The snow from 1400m to 1600m isn’t bad but it’s probably another 3 hours to get to Rainbow and since neither of us fancy a headlight ski we decide to call it a day and a learning experience.

One of maybe 6 decent turns of the day

Getting out was horrific. The snow got knee-crushingly worse.Getting out was horrific. The snow got knee-crushingly worse.

Total ascending that day was about 1300m over 6 and a half hours. Next time I’m doing what everyone else does and getting the one way heli drop at the peak

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