Bernie's Report - June 30, 2003
Our Mt. Proctor Experience
Aussi Dave's report: Last Friday (June 27) we had a few hours to kill so we decided to walk the northern trail to the top of Mt Proctor, up to the Falls at Fairy Creek & then up between the 3 Sisters & Mt P. We started from the Chamberof Commerce at 9.30, Bernie & Linda ,Niva,Wojtek & his son Conrad,Anita & me (Aussie Dave ). Our hiking Buddy Steve had work commitments but made it to the trail head to see us off. It was already warm but the first 40 mins. or so was along a broard well marked trail through shaded forest areas , with the sound of Fairy Creek always to our left.
We reached the Falls which are very beautiful although not all that big & then started to gradually climb up through denser growth but fairly good going all the same. We cut off the trail & had our first "snack " by the creek & discussed what lay ahead.We did have some time restrictions but said we would go as far as we could & start to head back down around 2.00.
We left the coolness of the creek, found the trail again & from there on it was an ever increasing upward grade & being between two 4000 feet ridges man was it warm. For the next hour or so no one said much except Wojtek but he talks all the time anyway, even in his sleep according to his wife! The grade was relentless,the scenery spectacular,the company fantastic & it was a grind.As we got to about 3000 ft the trail came & went due to snow sections & we were now following an avalanche course right up the centre of the valley.The occasional trail marker appeared so we pushed on. By about 12.30 we were sitting below what appeared to be a couple of reachable peaks & debating as to where the trail might be .We decided to rest & have lunch & then bid farwell to Bernie & Linda who had to head back (that evening as I pondered my aching body I wished I had gone with them instead of going on)
We said our goodbyes,wished each other good fortune & they & us were gone. Wojtek was convinced the approach was to the right up a steep ridge & we were sure it was to the left further up the gulley & following a tree band. Wojtek decided to do a "Frank Sinatra" ( I did it my way.....dumb move )& go his way. We had radio contact & cell phone contact but it aint smart to split the group.
We climbed up & up & the further we went the further the summit appeared to be. The trail was obscure and at about 3.00 in very steep & difficult circumstances we decided to call the ascent off. We had been going up for 5.5 hours at this time. We stayed in good contact with our other companion who had no idea where he was & had no trail to follow. He made his decent by keeping Mt Fernie in sight & figuring if he stayed in the gully he was in & followed the creek it would eventually run into Fairy Creek & we would all be reunited..........We were all hoping that would be the case.
It took us about half an hour to regroup & we (Anita,Niva,Conrad & myself) started back down. About 10 mins later Anita pulled a muscle behind her left knee so we had a brief stop for tape & repairs to her leg & away we went. It was still hot & the going was a little slower because of the injury. Wojtek muttered something on the 2 way every 15 mins or so to let us know he was still lost.
After another grueling 2.5 hours we were back down to where we stopped by the creek on the way up & were starting to get a fix on where our lone companion was. As it turned out he exited his gully below us so we had to walk about a half an hour before we found him stretched out on a picnic table just below the Falls...(He was still talking...not sure who to )His legs were scratched to bits from bushwhacking but we were together again. We were all stuffed by now so after a short sit we walked on to civilisation.At 6.30 we exited the forest & all our thoughts turned to cold beer & hot tubs.We had been out for 9 hours.My opinion is that this is a very tough hike. There is another way up Mt Proctor(we will try that next time) but if you take our route go well prepared.
On the "PAIN SCALE" I rate it 11 out of 10
Bernie - firstname.lastname@example.org