June 2, 2003

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    • #7440
      [Ed: Imported from Americas Roof ‘Summit Trip Reports’ forum]
      [By: Olivier Kozlowski on June 8 2003 at 1:28 AM]

      We started up the Bull of the Woods route early Monday morning in perfect weather. BOTW is the way to go at this point. There are only a few places where you’ll hit snow. One of the first is just past the fence above BOTW pasture. You’ll see the trail curve to the right ahead of you heading into the trees and disappearing under snow. DON’T follow the trail here. Instead, go straight up the grassy, virtually treeless, side of the hill right in front of you. We tried to follow the trail and postholed our way through, following the apparent trail, only to emerge at the top of that hill & look down at the grassy incline. There are a few other snowfields you can skirt around and some (particularly above La Cal Basin, which we did not dip down into to follow the trail) where you’ll have to cross and may posthole some, but it’s not even worth lugging up snowshoes anymore for those short stretches. As we approached the summit, it was rather disturbing to watch a SAR helicopter making repeated passes overhead. I’m still not sure what they were looking for; let’s hope it was a training run.

      On the way down, we chose to try the Williams Lake route. Conditions were worse here, but snowshoes probably wouldn’t have helped much, since you’d be putting them on and taking them off repeatedly. After the scree & snowfields, I found some really nice glissading down some snow patches, while Andy chose not to engage in the fun. Eventually I found myself looking steeply down towards Williams Lake with Andy nowhere in sight. The route seemed to follow a roughly 60 degree snow filled chute down towards the lake. I did my best to stay along the sides of the tree-lined route, but had to traverse it at one point. I postholed, recovered and began an involuntary 30-40 foot glissade. Not fun. Anyway, I called Andy on the radio to warn him and was disturbed to hear him admit to being lost. I understand there isn’t much of a trail to follow up past Williams Lake, but with snow on the ground, route finding was more difficult. Andy eventually spotted other climbers descending and I waited for him at Williams Lake. The route out from the lake is where you hit the most annoying snow, postholing in several stretches. We crossed an avalanche debris field en route to the trailhead. In retrospect, Andy regrets advocating the Williams Lake route back to save 4 miles. I, on the other hand, was glad to have the chance to see both routes.

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