Mount Fortune is one of those peaks that's best saved for a day when you really don't have many other choices. On Saturday, March 2 2013 we made our first attempt at this little peak. Due to rain / snow the night before, the snow pack was completely bottomless and saturated with water. The clouds were low and getting lower and our mood as we crossed the lake was following that same trajectory - lower and lower!
[Crossing the lake in depressing weather with Fortune ahead of us]
[Crossing a stream on the lake.]
[Tracks on the lake - almost the size of my hand!]
We finally decided to turn around about an hour into the trip and drove home. At the very least we figured out the confusing maze of xcountry ski trails necessary to easily get to the lake without too much bushwhacking;
Start as Nugara says.
When you turn right and go up the first hill, take the leftmost track which descends past a "steep hill" sign. You should be going the same direction as traffic on the way in.
Follow this track for a while until you can spot the opening of the lake to your right, through the trees. You should be bushwhacking less than 1-2 minutes at MOST before you come out at the lake.
[Another group is also heading back - but I don't think they were targeting Mount Fortune.]
On Saturday, March 9 we were back for effort #2. Why weren't we skiing? Why bother at all? Avalanche risk ratings were at 'considerable' for the alpine. I have a deal with my wife that until the kids are 18+ I don't ski in 'considerable' ratings if I have a choice. And why bother snow shoeing? Kev Papke needed two more summits to complete his 50 and considering he's raised over $150,000 for a good cause I think that made it worth it!
This time around the parking lot was sunny and warm. We had Wietse and Bill along as Dave S couldn't make it. It was funny to see the disgusted look on Wietse's face as he strapped into his brand new pair of snowshoes!! (He's a ski snob, as am I usually. If I can ski something I'm not EVER going to snowshoe it. Unless I'm REALLY desperate to get out. :))
Thanks to our recon work the week previous, we found the lake very quickly and proceeded to cross it with no issues. I started feeling positive that this wouldn't be the gong show of the week before but I was a bit premature in this thinking.
[This is much better than a week ago! Cone Mountain is impressive in the background.]
[The boys head for Mount Fortune]
[On the road, going around to the southeast slopes]
Once we traversed to the left on the road running past the east face of Fortune, we found an old track heading up through the trees. Homerun right?! Well, not exactly. About 100 vertical meters up the slopes we lost the old ascent track. This was brutal.
The next few hours were spent struggling through knee to waist deep snow (this is on snowshoes!), falling into the deadfall under the sugary, bottomless snowpack and trying desperately to somehow swim up slope! It was not fun. We had no choice though! Kev needed his 49th summit so we pressed very hard until finally popping up on the summit ridge.
[At first we have it easy, on an old 'shoe track...]
[Now it's no longer easy!! Knee to waist deep crud for the next 2 hours!!]
[The struggle continues]
[Finally on the ridge. Sheep on the right, Cone Mountain on the left.]
We took off the 'shoes and proceeded past some fairly aggressive sheep to the summit with awesome views of many familiar peaks all around - my favorite being Engadine and Buller from this angle.
[Bill comes up the summit ridge with Tent Ridge, Smuts and Shark in the back ground. It was very windy to the summit.]
[For a small summit it boasts incredible views - especially to the east and south.]
[The UNNAMED GR ("Fortulent") from Fortune]
[Old Goat and Nestor from the summit of Fortune. There used to be a warden's cabin up this valley - we found it years ago when exploring the area.]
[Summit panorama includes Sparrowhawk, Red Ridge, Bogart, Buller, Engadine, Galatea, The Tower, Chester, Tent Ridge, Smuts, Commonwealth, Shark... you get the idea!! ++]
[I wonder if Old Goat has a route up this side instead of the climbing / scramble route on the other?]
[Looking NW towards Mercer (l) and Turbulent (r).]
[Looking over Tent Ridge at the Burstall Pass / Haig Icefield area peaks including (l to r) Murray, Smith Dorrien, French, Commonwealth, Robertson, Sir Douglas, Birdwood and Smuts.]
[My favorite view from Fortune was of Mount Buller - the summit block looks impressive from this angle!]
[Mount Bogart with Red Ridge in front.]
[Vern on the summit of Mount Fortune]
We briefly considered extended the trip to "Fortulent" but due to a late start we didn't have time and Kev and I needed to get out the next day to complete his 50 summits anyway.
[Descending the ridge]
[Wietse crossing Spray Lakes on the way home]
[Go left here, ALL the way left - not down the tracks just to the left!]
[This is how far left you go - down the steep hill. Then follow it for at least 10 minutes or so before you'll get to the bottom of a hill with the lake opening through the trees on your right.]
The trip back was fast and pleasant - much better than the slog up!