Fortress Chester Col -- Oct 9, 2004

Elevation Gain: 500 meters (1640 feet)

Climbed by: me, Mark, Theresa, Janet, Bruce.

The goal was to walk up the hanging valley in behind Chester Lake, over the col between Chester and Fortress, and down the Headwall Lakes valley. We ended up bailing due to bad weather. Years later (Sept, 2007) Mark Lane and I did a similar route, only backward, and tagging the summits of The Fortress and Gusty Peak along the way.

We parked at the Chester Lake parking lot on the Smith Dorrien Highway, and headed up to Chester Lake. I'd never been here before, and found it quite pleasant. I was also not exactly in shape! I found this easy hike to be a bit strenuous!

When we got to the lake, we circled around it to the left, and went up the scree slope to the hanging valley above the lake to the east.

Thinking we were far smarter than everyone else, we quickly abandoned the trail and veered up on the to scree slopes lining the south side of the valley. After all, any elevation we could gain now (and not give up), would be a big win when it came time to climb up the col at the back end of the valley!

Bzzzzzt! Don't do it! It was very unenjoyable! We walked at least a couple of kilometers along a scree slope that wanted to drag us to the valley bottom! Only to find that when we got close to the col, the scree slope turned into jutting rock buttresses, and we had to descend into the valley anyway!

Then, to make matters worse, it started to snow heavily. We decided to bail out on climbing up the col, as it appeared to be quickly getting coverered in verglass. Another group passed us and actually made it quite a ways up the col. Maybe even all the way to the top. We stopped being able to see them for the snow after they'd ascended maybe 100-150 meters. We stopped and ate some lunch and tried to keep warm, and then headed back down toward Chester Lake and the parking lot.