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Mount Michener

Difficulty: 
Moderate Winter Scrambling
Elevation [m]: 
2506
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
11.5
Net Elevation Gain [m]: 
1213
Total Elevation Gain [m]: 
1337
Ascent Time: 
4:45
Bushwhackyness: 
None
Tripdate: 
Friday, March 1, 2013

Mount Michener is one of the most iconic peaks in David Thompson Country (and also one of the most difficult to access, unless you have a boat I suppose) as it rises above the far shore of Abraham Lake; a winter ascent makes the approach considerably more reasonable when the lake is frozen over! Ken and I had been talking about a trip up Michener for some time and after hearing aboutSteven and Mike's succesful trip a few weeks ago decided to give it a go in (what seemed like it would be) a patch of decent forcasted weather. Talking to Steven about it he heard that Kevin was looking to go up Michener at some point too so we decided to team up.

Parking on the side of the road at the closest point across the road to Michener we geared up with crampons and rope and wanderd across the lake just as the sun was rising. The morning lake crossing was probably the highlight of the trip as the intense winds in the area keep the lake mostly snow-free so that the awesome pitted and cracked structure of the ice is easily apparent. The first few steps on the ice were a little bit nervewracking (being able to see so far down) but after a few minutes it became easier to appreciate the beauty of the lake in winter. It took about 40 minutes to wander across the lake to a cove under our ascent ridge after which we started wandering upwards and eventually came across some well defined tracks (probably Mike and Steven's from a few weeks ago). As the day went on the weather started to worsen and the winds gust. By the time we were at treeline visibility was pretty limited and we wern't able to see the summit until we were standing on it! As we had heard from Steven sticking on the ascent ridge and then heading up (climbers right) around a rock feature on scree made for a straightforward way to near the summit block. The last scrambly bit before the snow slope to the summit proved to be quite trecherous with melting snow over the last few days putting a thin ice glaze on clusters of semi-loose rock making any holds sketchy at best (coming down this was actually easier but still really slippery). Once past the sketch-slope it was a short plod on up to (what we think was) the summit cairn. Visibility was 10s of feet by that point so we couldn't see much, after a quick break for some pictures and dropping off a new register it was time to head back down out of the wind and ramble back to the lake. Given the snowfall that was builidng up while we were ascending the look of the mountain changed considerably on the way down and our tracks were already pretty filled in leading to some extra bushwhacking. By the time we got back down to the lake it was lightly raining which give the lake an odd texture (pools of water on the surface) that was kind of neat.

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