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Mount Galatea and Mount Chester

Difficulty: 
Moderate Scrambling
Elevation [m]: 
3184
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
20.6
Ascent Time: 
3:05
Bushwhackyness: 
Very Little
Tripdate: 
Friday, August 17, 2012

I had my eye on a nice tiring day trip for this weekend and decided upon some of the peaks around Chester Lake. Some of my other scrambling friends had been musing about bagging all 4 Kane peaks (Galatea, Gusty, Fortress, and Chester) in one go but after getting on the trail going on only 3 hours sleep there was no chance of that happening. In any case my route started from the (very spacious) Chester Lake parking lot down the Spray Lake road and went up to Galatea following Kane's description. Doing the approach early in the morning before the sun starts beating down on the rock between Galatea and Gusty is a good idea as it heats up really quick. Galatea was bone-dry and went pretty much as Kane describes. Sticking to the ridge crest was a little too sketchy for my taste and some downclimbing made it much more reasonable. I was kind of surprised that there was no cairn on Galatea but the rock shelter is a more impressive piece of summit engineering in any case. After a quick bagel, some imitation gatorade, and long looks to take in the surroundings it was back down to Chester Lake and over to Mt. Chester. On descent I ended up taking an unintentional glissade (on the one trip when I didn't bring my axe!) which almost ended in horrible injury falling off a cliff but was narrowly avoided by grinding my pants to shreds on some sharp full-of-friction scree.

At least today, Mt. Chester didn't really present any challenges and was more of a scree slog (with some lovely textured slabby sections thrown in) to the summit. Heading up to the col between Chester and Little Chester was fairly uneventful except for being pursued by a pack of goats heading up to graze on the Headwall Lakes side of the slope. After the col stick to the Chester Lake side if you want more slabs or Headwall Lakes side if more scree and follow the countless dozens of cairns up the last 300m or so. When looking at my gps after this there was a big difference between elevation gain/loss from google earth to gps gain/loss (400m!), the smoothing effect from google earth's topo data isn't noticeable most times but it defiantly glosses over the rolling nature of the terrain here.

In any case the Chester Lake area is really pretty and boasts excellent summit views from both Galatea and Chester but if you are looking for solitude defiantly head out during the week and it is notoriously busy on the weekend.

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