Elevation gain: 1100 m
Ascent time: 5:45
Descent time: 4:20
Scrambling and climbing with Mark.
We saw this summit from the top
The ascent started with some heavy bushwhacking (characteristic of the area), followed by a pleasant ascent and traverse of grassy slopes leading to the ridge. A head-on view of the second 500 vertical metres of the ascent revealed the ridge to be lined with some pretty serious rockbands – hopefully they could be scrambled up, but we had a little climbing gear just in case.
It took only 15 minutes of scrambling before the climbing stuff came out. The rockbands were far more serious than those of Glendowan immediately west and Dungarvan to the east. We were able to ascend some of the bands, but others eluded us, even with climbing gear and we had to find ways around them. Fortunately, all had weaknesses up them and in fact, the entire ascent could have been scrambled if one desired to do it without a rope. The downside of this would be a fair amount of scree slogging. Nevertheless, there were still plenty of decent rockbands to scramble up.
The crux was a vertical band of limestone that circles most of the peaks in the area. This required a couple of moves (perhaps 5.4) up 3 metres of slightly overhanging rock, but that 3 metres was atop another 10 metres, making a fall pretty serious. More steep, but fun scrambling and some easy climbing followed. We eventually topped out on the west end of the ridge to discover that the highest point lie a few hundred metres to the east. Traversing the burgundy argillite ridge was fun. Only a steeper section right before the summit provided a challenge. Mark led the final ascent and quickly we were on the cairn-less summit.
The descent was sort of a fiasco. Initially, we made great progress, finding an easy route down that bypassed all the sections we had used a rope to ascend. With all the difficulties behind us, we decided to descend into the drainage to the west of the ridge and follow it out to the trail. It wasn’t until we got to the bottom, that I remembered that Kevin, Bob, Raff, and Jason had tried this route on their way down from Glendowan and had met with significant resistance in the form of deadfall in the drainage. We thought we’d cut our losses and re-ascend slopes to Glendowan’s south ridge. This was fine, but the bushwhack down the other side was sheer misery.
A good day of challenging scrambling, easy climbing, and tons of route-finding.
The terrific east side of Anderson Peak and some flowers
Colourful slopes to the west
Approaching the south ridge of Cloudowan
Mark on the first part of the ridge; Blakiston to the left and Anderson to the right
Checking out the upcoming difficulties (right); Glendowan to the left
Starting up the more difficult terrain
Mark stems up the same rockband
Attempting a steep step; the rock was not solid and I had to back down
More steep rockbands
Looking for a route up (didn't find one and had to go around)
Mark approaches another serious step
Mark leads us around that rockband
At the top of the crux step
More fun (and somewhat scary) scrambling
At the top of that step
Atop the ridge, with the summit in the centre
More of the ridge traverse to the summit
A surprising patch of grass near the summit
A couple of more serious rockbands were easily circumvented on the left
Mark leads the final gully to the summit
Me at the top
Mark at the top, with Glendowan behind
Me at the top again, with Cloudy Ridge to the left
The two summits of Cloudy Ridge
The connecting ridge to Glendowan
Finding an easy route on descent
The descent drainage, with Anderson Peak behind