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Earlier this year I added a number of new summits to the list on the Summits-on-the-air program. The smallest of which was the Weatherhead W3 peak between the main Weatherhead peak and Stave Lake. This little guy was just under 500m in height and so I thought it would make for an easy target to hike and activate on a short afternoon. I first considered it with my son Geoff but when we came out he had his two sons and the weather was a bit wet so we decided it wasn’t the trip to go hiking. That was a wise decision looking back on it.
It was now August, the day was dry and my other son Nick was willing to join me and give it a go. So we set off mid-morning and made for the Lost Creek Forestry road. Traffic wasn’t bad for a long week-end, likely everyone was still getting up after a last night of partying. On the FSR we noticed there was a lot more traffic than when I was here with Geoff. We drove up the mainline and soon arrived at the turnoff for the spot I felt we would need to park at to start the hike. The road was in good shape and we got to the fork and a second one without a problem. We parked right where I had expected to and there we got our gear organized and the truck locked up for our hike.
The initial part of the hike was along the over-grown road that we were parked at the start of. This went fairly quickly as it was mostly clear, just a few overhanging branches in the way. When we got to the area I marked as to where we turn up slope ugly dense undergrowth stared back at us! We pushed through the initial bit hoping it would change to mature forest soon, but it didn’t. We continued up very slowly pushing our way through the tall thimbleberry and small hemlock. It was a tiring task. After quite some time we achieved a short open area at the base of a small cliff, it was a good spot to rest for a bit. The next section started off steep and was a bit more open with more mature trees in this area but it still was difficult terrain.
Soon we dropped down onto an upper roadway. Now this road looked to be in poor condition on the satellite view but it showed signs of use and likely we could have driven to this spot! So that was a bit annoying but we just moved on. We followed the road a short way and then cut in up slope. The undergrowth continued heavy but it was for a short distance and then we finally entered the mature forest. Now the understory was thin and we could plan our way up the steep slopes fairly easily. After dropping down a short distance we started up a steep slope and there we stopped to rest. It was here that I noticed my one radio that had been clipped to my belt was missing. Fortunately it was on and Nick gave a call on his and could just hear my lost one in the distance. I dropped my pack and retraced my steps while Nick continued to call out on the radio. I found it just inside the last of the thicker bush area.
After returning to Nick I let him decided if he felt up to continuing, he didn’t want to be defeated by the summit so on we pushed. The route went over several steep inclines followed by some level and even drops as we made our way closer to the summit. Finally we arrived at the broad top of the hill and there we found a nice level spot that enjoyed some sun, most of the area was blocked by the thick tree-cover. After a breather I set up my yagi antenna and started making calls to activate the summit. I was able to work my wife and then Ralph. Next was club member Ken but I had no luck reaching a fourth contact from the summit despite trying for 45 minutes.
Well we had been up there long enough, and as the ascent had taken 3 hours we wanted to get back before much longer. We made good time dropping down through the mature forest and the short section before the upper road went quite quickly. If only the truck was here. Now Nick picked a spot to descend to the next clearing but he was too far east and we ended up having a small cliff to navigate as we made our way down. Soon we were back to the small clearing above the dense section. We dove in and swam our way through it, getting scratched and poked as we moved. Nick had a number of slips as he descended but fortunately nothing of a serious kind. Reaching the bottom road couldn’t come fast enough and we were both quite exhausted when we popped out of the Thimbleberry onto the road.
The last walk back along the bottom road seemed to take forever but we did finally reach the truck and were able to get a good rest as we packed up and started off the road with the truck. So it was a difficult hike but we enjoyed the success of reaching the summit and getting the first activation of it. Hopefully the next one will be much easier.