Monday, 19 September 2011

Mt Allan/Collembola Scramble 2011

Sept 18th          Mt Allan 2819m, Mt Collembola 2758m

It was Deanna's birthday weekend and the ridge walk from the north was something on her tick list for awhile so game on.  Forecast was for a cool morning so we got off to a slow start and arrived at the Deadman's Flats parking area at 1385m at about 8:45 am and were off on our mountain bikes at 9:00.  The bikes made a huge difference as the first few km's weren't very steep and we made good time, then it reared up a bit and did a little hiking and biking.  Not much for view as we were deep in the trees following the centennial trail with brief glimpses of Pigeon to the SW.  We warmed up quickly once we started to climb, we ignored the various trails off to the right and found a good place to leave the bikes after 1 1/2 hrs and a gain of 450m.

Carried on up the trail, to realize that we should have pushed it and taken the bikes further up to the intersection with the trail off Collembola where there is a small cairn.  Just after the trail started to traverse to the right angling up and towards Allan.  Great news as all the other options appeared to lose a lot of elevation to gain the correct ridge.  Eventually came out at a nice alpine meadow at about 2200m in the bowl formed by the two mountains.

Then quickly gained the north ridge of Mt Allan and popped out of the trees to great views all around.  The entire route up to the top is part of the centennial trail and well marked with orange squares.  Pretty straight forward ridge scramble however it was made a little more alpine like with snow and howling winds.  We had to brace ourselves a couple of times to keep from being blown over and attempted to keep to the lee side whenever possible.

Eventually made it to the top of Mt Allan just before 2 pm, given the gale force winds and the threatening clouds from the west we headed down the Allan/Collembola col which turned out to be much more easy going than it looked from the initial ridge.  Stopped in the sun for lunch and headed up the grassy slope towards the first hump to gain back some of the 350m lost.  It was easy going up to the top of the hump however a bit of interesting rock scrambling down the other side which took a bit to figure out.

Carried on and topped out on Collembola at 4 pm with the wind still a force to be reckoned with. As well we started to get a some small hail from time to time as the clouds got closer just to help keep us moving.  The north side of the top of Collembola required some route finding to get through some steeper rubbly ledges, it seemed to go most easily right off the top and the route actually ducked to the east side of the ridge for a short bit.  After that it was a case of making our way down steep grass interspersed with scree bits and once we came around the corner and could see north our trail up became obvious and we realized that there would be only a short treed section before regaining the original centennial trail.  Found an obvious path through the trees and hit the trail at 2025m at 6:00 pm.  After that it was a quick descent to the bikes and then a very quick descent with the bikes which made a huge difference and we were at the car at 6:45 pm.

Great day, it would have been a little more relaxed without the wind however never had too much precipitation.  If I were to do it again would likely do it in the reverse so the scrambly bits would be on ascent rather than descent and earlier in the day.  After all of the up and down it ended up being a 9:45 hr and 2300m day so a bit of exercise as well.