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Daybreak Peak

Moderate Scramble
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Quite Dense In Places
Friday, May 17, 2013

Eric, Steven, and I headed off of another multi-day trip and after much deliberation decided upon the Willmore Provincial Park area. Our initial plan was to carry on for a 3 day backpacking trip up to Mount Persimmion but given the variable weather this was modified to a series of day-trips instead. Setting out from Rock Lake (a little over an hours drive North from Hinton) at the Willmore Staging Area we geared up and headed down towards the North Boundary Trail.

Daybreak Peak was visible from a few point along the trail (and the road on the way to Rock Lake) and it looked to be in pretty good condition, if a little far away. This part of the North Boundary Trail was generally in pretty good shape except for slogging through very wet marshes which had been decimated by horse travel (horses can do way more damage to a trail than bikes). After crossing the marsh and reaching the first river crossing we hooked North following the Eastern shore of the river and slowly getting closer to the lower slopes of Daybreak Peak. Generally the terrain beside the river was pretty good and we followed it as long as we could until things started to get a little cliff-ey and then broke off into the trees. In retrospect we may have gone into the bush a little early and had to gain and loose a fair bit of elevation along the way while travelling through some deadfall. In relatively short order we made it through the trees and up to some scrambling terrain. Scrambling was mostly going up decent scree intermixed with some nice solid rock slabs. Mountaineering boots might not have been the best option here but I was wearing them in case crampons were needed. Soon we left all of the trees behind and started to get awesome views back towards the North Boundary Trail with The Rajah stealing the scene! Higher up the scrambling became more interesting with a few slabby bypasses that could allow for some fun moves (bypassing down onto scree on slab/ledge was always an option though). Once on the ridge we started to have some doubts as to what the actual summit of Daybreak Peak was (being the first or second highpoint along the ridge). Bivouac listed the gps coordinates as the second highpoint but there was a decent sized cairn at the first highpoint. We decided to carry on to the second highpoint as it afforded better views and built a cairn when we got there (and set up a register). As part of my grad studies program I do a lot of thin film deposition and had used some scrap pieces of gold and platinum coated (only several nanometers thick) plastic to make a nice shiny register cover, hopefully it should last over a few seasons until the next visitors show up!

Views from the summit are pretty excellent and we spent a fair bit of time looking back on The Rajah and the multitude of unnamed (and probably unascended) peaks further into Willmore. Our original plan was to carry on to the next highpoint along the ridge (called Highbreak Peak on bivouac) but it looked to be a little too technical than what we were planning for the day. After some more time admiring the views it was time to start out descent.

The weather today was quite interesting with rain showers to both the East and West of us but clear blue sky directly above (the large valley where the North Boundary Trail goes must affect air patterns to a large degree), in any case we wern't complaining. On the descent we took a more direct line back to the creek and travelled along its banks back to the trail (which led to a bit of scrambling to avoid getting wet, always nice to get new scrambling sections when you don't expect them). Once back on the North Boundary Trail it was a straightforward slog back to the car which became quite frosty once we passed through the protective shroud of the valley and into freezing rain that was falling over Rock Lake. Great daytrip, have to come back to this area and make an attempt on The Rajah and other peaks at some point in the future.

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