Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Mt Habrich via "Escape Velocity"

June 27, 2015
Summit of Mt Habrich

A couple weekends ago Mike and I headed up the Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish and headed into the back country to attempt "Escape Velocity", a 7-pitch, 5.9 rock route to the summit of Mt. Habrich.

We caught the 9:30am gondola up (they let people heading for the backcountry load 30min before the general public), double checked the map at the upper gondola station and started our approach. We headed up the Sky Pilot Valley trail to an obvious bivy site (about 60 min. up the trail) and caught a spur on the left that up towards Habrich. The trail to this point had been relatively well groomed with a steady but reasonable incline.  That was about to change.

The next hour or so of hiking was pretty much straight up the side of the mountain until we reached the Habrich col.

Let the fun begin.....

When we first emerged at the base of Habrich we headed to the right into a small meadow and could not find the start of the route. If you are heading up to climb Escape Velocity, be sure to stay on the trail, keeping left at the Y near the base of Habrich, and keep ascending until the trail ends at a col. The route starts at the end of the trail, marked by bolts protecting the first pitch.

The start of the route is NOT here

When we arrived at the base of the route we randomly ran into Graham,  a friend from the ACC, and his climbing partner,  Helen. We had not met Helen before but we were schedule to head out to climb Forbidden Peak with her a few days later. Small world!

Mike following the 3rd and 4th pitches
We started climbing the route at about 12:30pm and after some fun, alpine style rock climbing we topped out at around 2:30pm. The 5.9 pitch seemed to be fairly graded with some awkward moves and the rest of the route was casual and fun climbing with good rock in between grassy ledges and with good protection where you needed it.

Mike on the Summit, waiting his turn to rappel

Graham and Helen were still on the summit when we topped out so after a few photos and a quick snack we shared ropes to speed up the 7 rappels back to the col. From there it was another couple hours of hiking back to the gondola for a ride down to the cars. The full climb took about 8.5 hours car-to-car. A fun alpine-style day trip with excellent views of Sky Pilot, Howe Sound and the surrounding Squamish backcountry.

Helen rappelling the 5.9 pitch

Click here for photo Album

Click here for Topo

Click here for Approach descriptions

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