Vayu - July 2005
Trip Summary
On July 16-17, Chris Tarling and I drove five hours, bushwhacked three hours, and crossed glacier one hour, all for one hour of fourth-class scrambling along the northwest ridge of Mount Vayu. Since we had plenty of time, we climbed the nearby Peak 8800. The views were excellent, the area is very nice, but its difficult to decide whether such a short route merits the long approach.

See our GPS tracks [MapSource + Garmin Legend].

sunrise over the Pancake Glacier
As mentioned, the drive is long. We left Vancouver at noon and headed past Pemberton, up the Hurley River road, along the Bridge River FSR, and Jamie Creek FSR to its end at 5:00 pm [1550 m]. From here, we bushwhacked for three hours to get above treeline to the pocket meadows [2000 m]. We took different routes on the way up than we did on the way down: staying high versus following the creeks. Basically, the first part closest to the road is ugly, regardless of which route is taken, while the second part uphill is definitely easier closer to the second creek. The unpleasant parts involve the usual thick brush interspersed with swamp. In addition, the mosquitoes were terrible. The bugs thinned out after reaching the pocket meadow and leaving the trees. After another half hour of walking on moraine and locating a good stream crossing, we reached a nice flat bivy site [2097 m] near the stream just below the snow and the glacier. We cooked dinner in the fading light and enjoyed a starry sky.

We rose at 4:00 am and were moving by 4:45 am (Chris had to be back in Vancouver for dinner). After crossing the Pancake Glacier, we climbed the snow to gain the northwest ridge of Vayu at 6:15 am. The sun hit the snow just as we finished crossing the glacier. We used crampons but these would not have been necessary had we left camp one hour later. The ridge looked difficult and steep from where we stood but as we soon discovered, it was third and fourth class. The one section that seemed exposed leading to the 5m rap had an obvious third class bypass to the right. It seemed a bit contrived to bring a rack for 10m of climbing and a 5m rap when there's a comfortable ledge traversing just a few metres nearby. We reached the summit of Vayu [2794 m] at 7:20 am. Having made it earlier than expected, we took our time with photos while enjoying the clear sky. We then descended the easy east ridge to the Vayu-8800 col and hiked/scrambled to the summit of Peak 8800 [2686 m] at 8:35 am. We returned to the col, took the rope out of the pack, and descended the snow roped together, being careful around a pair of crevasses on the way down to the Pancake Glacier. We were back at camp at 10:00 am, packed and headed down at 10:40 am, back at the car at 12:40 pm, and in Vancouver after 6:30 pm.

Chris kicks steps up from the Pancake Glacier to gain the northwest ridge of Mount Vayu. The yellow glow is from the early morning light (either that or I had my camera on the wrong setting - a real photographer would have stopped to set the white balance)

Chris' silhouette climbs along the northwest ridge.
our waypoints (see map)

Alpine Select. Kevin McLane. Elaho Publishing Corporation. 2001.


Peak 8800 and the eastern view from the summit of Mount Vayu. Mount Sloan can be seen just above the summit of 8800.

Peak 8800 (left) and Mount Vayu (right) as seen from our bivy site. The northwest ridge of Vayu is the righthand horizon. The east ridge descent is the lefthand horizon. The col between 8800 and Vayu is the descent back to the Pancake Glacier; beware of bergschrunds. In the foreground, Chris smiles as he squeezes the foot juice from his sweaty socks.
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