Rugged Mountain Anniversary Climb - via Zeballos
Update August 2015: Here's a recent GPS
trail. You can save it and then open it in Google Earth.
On September 16, 1999, while hunting in the Zeballos area, I decided to try
climbing Rugged Mountain via the Nomash Valley, Nathan Creek route. My
father, George Lepore, had first climbed this mountain in September, 1959,
forty years ago.
George on the summit of Rugged Mtn.
That's Alex's touque he's wearing
I drove to Zeballos, and turned left off the main road and across the Nomash
Main bridge. Followed the Nomash Main road for 4.6 miles until I got
to the N20 (Nathan Creek) spur road. Just before N20 you'll see
a waterfall up on the left. If you get to the Nathan creek bridge
you've gone too far.
Day hike, so an early start. At first light 6:30 am, I started
walking up N20. one switchback to the left, up that, another to the
right and then keep going through the deactivated washed out road through a
short stand of timber into the slash on the other side. a few hundred
yards into this second growth you should see a bit of a rock bluff at the
timber's edge on the left. Might even have some old ribbon on
it. That was at 7:30, an hour from the truck. Head up, into the
timber all the way to the top of the ridge, then walk along the ridge to the
north toward Rugged, eventually you can see the scree field to the right and
you cut across (some up and down) to get there. At the top of the
scree is the glacier that drops down to Nathan creek.
Here are some coordinates for you GPS guys:
N20 spur base at the Nomash Main 50° 0'34.15"N,
Where you leave the old logging road to head into the bush. 50° 0'50.56"N,
126°41'43.20"W (P3) elev 680m.
And a handy map.
At 10:30 I was in the snow on the glacier. Picture time. Ice-axe
would come in real handy from now on. Even handier would have been a
partner and a Spot Messenger - the wisdom of age and hindsight.
A 15 minute break later I was heading up the snowfield to the little dropped
snow face on the final group of peaks. The climbers we had met on the
helicopter visit had turned back at this point, deciding that it was too
technically difficult. I wanted to see for myself.
Near the top of the icefield the snow got steeper and steeper, and harder.
At first I was able to kick steps into the snow, but near the top I had to
cut each one with the ice-axe. Over the lip, and then cutting steps down to
the rock again. Once on the rock I went up the line between the snow and the
rock, using the ice-axe as an extra hand-hold. It worked pretty good. Here's
a picture looking back down. You can see the snow lip and the col at towards
the left where I took the previous self-photo.
From there I went under the big hanging boulder and then followed the ridge
to the top. Near the top it got quite steep, but a short chimney helped. And
there I was, on top at 11:45. In the cairn I found a plastic pipe with a
notebook in it. Here is the note I left.
A dream come true