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,  12643'13.65"W  (P1)
Where you leave the old logging road to head into the bush. 50 0'50.56"N, 12641'43.20"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