After bagging Tyrwhitt and Pocaterra the day before, Jon, Kev and I were ready for something a little tamer on this particular day. Once again it was a fabulous morning with nary a cloud and no wind. I had wanted to do Chester Mountain for a couple of years already so we decided this was the one for today!
Choosing Chester proved to be a good decision. We were the only ones in the parking lot at around 0900 and we proceeded quickly up to the Chester Lake meadows. We noticed some sheep high up on the Chester col and headed up. The scree ranged from solid to loose on the way up to the col. but overall it was a very easy climb. We all did an estimate for how long it would take to get to the col. but were all way off! It only took us about 35 minutes thanks to Jon's blistering pace! (He thought it would take 1.5 hours!)
Once we got to the col we could see literally dozens of sheep down on the slopes on the other side. We took a short break and then headed up the steep scree slopes to the main summit.
[The Chester Lake hike starts on a very wide road. I've walked, biked, skied and snowshoed this section. Walking it sux the most. :)]
[The route from near Chester Lake is obvious. The red line may or may not still be there though...]
[Looking down from part way up the scree grunt to the col.]
[Another view of the grunt - there is a moraine-type feature from running water that is composed of loose shale and hard dirt that is not great to be on. I should have been further to climber's right here.]
[Kev and Jon at the col, looking south.]
I LOVED the scramble up to the summit of Chester from the col. The rocks are really 'grippy' and you can literally scramble right up steep slabs for most of the climb. Unfortunately Jon and I got quite a bit ahead of Kevin so he didn't make it quite to the top after encountering some steep terrain that he didn't feel comfortable with. Jon and I made the summit and since there was no summit register we simply put a small notebook in a Ziploc bag up there and sucked in the excellent views.
[Views back down the ascent gully towards Commonwealth Peak and Ridge (L) and Little and "Big" Galatea on the right.]
[Vern and Jon at the summit of Chester Mountain with Sir Douglas to the right of Jon.]
[Jon at the summit with The Tower, Galatea, Gusty and Fortress just sneaking into the photo at extreme right.]
[Great views south towards Smuts, The Fist, Shark and Tent Ridge with Mount Assiniboine in the far distance.]
[The Fortress is a favorite scramble in the area that I combined with Gusty and Shark in one day with Dave Stephens one year in order to help him attain 100,000 feet for the year. Stupid peak baggers... :)]
[Looking down at Chester Lake and most of the approach terrain from the Spray Lakes Road.]
The descent was uncomplicated and fairly quick once we hit loose scree. The walk back to the car was a bit too long - but isn't it always? The best part was that we didn't run into anyone else all day. September really can be the best month of the year for scrambling.
[Heading down to the col on scree.]