East Wendell -- Jul 31, 2008

Elevation Gain: 1934 meters (6343 feet)

Climbed by: me solo.

I'd wanted to do this one for most of the summer before getting a chance.

Due to the long approach, I needed a day without a forecast that included thunder showers. Finally, I found one!

My route took me from the Yam parking lot, up the climber's route to the east shoulder of Yam. I then took a compass bearing on what appeared to be the shorted route through the trees in the CMC valley to the north. Most of the route descriptions and write-ups I've read for this trip make it sound like the bush-whacking is akin to slicing your way through the jungle with a machete. It's not true! It was an easy walk through trees that were plenty of distance apart, and a little bit of undergrowth that was tromped through with no real effort at all.

At the bottom of the valley, I crossed the creek by way of a fallen tree, and immediately came across the trail. I didn't see any sign of this having been a road in the past -- it's definitely reverted back to nature.

I followed the trail west until it petered out at the base of the bowl at the back of the valley. I walked up the slope toward the bottom of the East peak of Wendell, and soon stood in a position where I could scope out my route.

Some of it was obvious. I don't think my route was the one described by anyone else. I mostly just went straight up the slab, deaking left and right where appropriate, and was soon at the top.

I ate my lunch and took some photos, and was on my way again. I ran down most of the scree-covered slope, slipping occassionally on scree-on-slab that lay hidden, waiting for unsuspecting scramblers.

Once at the bottom of East Wendell, I needed to decide how to get back. I thought it would be interesting to climb up the back of the Yam/Goat col, since I hoped to do the Goat traverse later in the season with Mark, and wanted to get some pictures, if possible.

I decided that since it was dryish and hadn't rained in a while, and all the snow had already melted, that I'd walk across the swampy looking area immediately between East Wendell and the west side of Yam. It turned out to be a very enjoyable walk, with occassional jumps over narrow (very narrow) slots worn into the muck by running water.

I aimed for an overturned tree, which was a good choice. I found a trail that appeared to go in the right direction, so I followed it until it started to go the wrong way, then more or less wandered up the middle of the valley toward the col. A trail appeared and disappeared here and there. It disappeared almost completely at a big wash coming off Yam, and on the other side of the wash I walked straight up the side to gain some elevation. I happened upon a trail again, which led to the scree, and then up to the top of the col. It was a bit of a slog!

I took the scree run down the front of Yam, and was back at the car after just 6:20, which seems to be a pretty decent time according to the ones others have posted.

It was fun. I would recommend it!