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April 14, 2010
A summer-like fall day. Followed Nameless Col #33, Vol 5, 4th Edition to get up, parts of #33A Nameless Ridge to get down, and a tiny bit of #33B in a failed attempt to get to the hot spring.
There is neither cairn nor flagging marking the trail start for #33, but it's easy to find 15 m west of the culvert. A little bit of week-old bear scat down in the forest. Some clambering over felled trees near the end of the forest, and there's no cairn there either, but again, the trail's obvious. There is really no evidence of the old road anywhere.
Tried to head over to the hot springs via the traverse. The starting trail is virtually nonexistent until almost at the draw. We crossed the draw (which has some snow in it still). Not 20 m into the "chossy rubble slope" the slope failed and slid, carrying me down 2 m before I could get to stable scree. Every step started a landslide that ran 5-10 m and brought down microwave sized rocks from the slope above. Not wishing to die in rockfall or a landslide, I pulled a u-turn and crossed the unstable part back. Again I was carried down on sliding rock and again started dangerous rockfall from above that I was lucky to avoid. I could see no other trail of any kind to suggest I was in the wrong place. The whole slope is quite dangerous. So I might suggest avoiding the traverse route unless you have a death wish.
We climbed the north end of Nameless Ridge. The horizontal rockbands are easily skirted, assuming by "easy" I mean climbing a steady 45° slope. We wandered the entire ridge, but did not exit either of the two suggested routes. From the last top, the ridge splits. The suggested routes say to stay to the left; we noticed an obvious and prominent game trail heading down from a promontory about 1/3rd down the right ridge. Accordingly, we cut to the right ridgetop instead of making up a route down the left ridge (there is no evidence of a trail of any kind on the left ridge). A few steep descents through some rockbands got us to a large flat that ungulates clearly use often. The excellent game trail headed downslope to the right (west) from the flat and traversed a steep gully with willows before petering out on the next ridge to the west. We dropped down the crest of this ridge around some rockbands to a series of meadows at the start of the forest (only slightly harder than I make it sound). About 1 km of easy bush bashing brought us to the highway only 600 m from our car. I can't speak to how easy the recommended descent routes are, but the one we used was reasonably straightforward and has the advantage of cutting a significant part of the road walk out. I'm not sure it's reasonable to go up that way, though.
There was a lot of grizzly digs up high at the col, but nothing is recent. Aside from the odd sheep/deer/elk tracks, it was a pretty wildlife-free day. The larches peaked last week, and the larches on the east face of Nameless Ridge have now lost ~50% of their needles. Colour remains, but it won't for long.
Photos and a GPS track will eventually show up on my blog at drandkc.blogspot.com
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