Summit Elevation (m): 2786
Trip Date: Saturday, October 2, 2004
Round Trip Time (hr): 5.5
Elevation Gain (m): 1020
Total Trip Distance (km): 15
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you break something
Difficulty Notes: Some moderate scrambling and loose terrain along with limited route finding make this a moderate scramble.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd); RE2
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps
This was the third peak in a 3 peak day that Dave Stephens and I did. Note: Reading this report many years later (2021) I am more than a little bit amused by how huge this day seemed to us back in 2004. Nowadays days of 30km+ walking with long bike approaches are more the norm than the exception for me. This is even more amusing when you consider that I’m now 46 years old compared to 29 when I did this trip with Dave. Funny how that happens. The first two summits were The Fortress and Gusty Peak. On hindsight this probably wasn’t the best choice for the third peak but nonetheless we did it. The bike ride to Watridge Lake was pleasant and seemed to help flush some to the lactic acid out of our legs in preparation for the 1000m we still had to climb.
We quickly hiked up the trail to the beautiful Karst Spring and promptly got ourselves lost in the bush because we didn’t read the directions before heading out. I had some coordinates plugged into my GPS but since we were in thick forest I wasn’t getting very clear signals. To make a long story short we stumbled around and got good and lost, found the right trail and then promptly got lost again because I thought we were headed in the wrong direction!
After running across some of the biggest bear scat I’ve ever seen (quite fresh!) we finally found the ascent ridge and started to climb. At this point I was seriously doubting that we were going to summit. The scramble up the ridge was surprisingly committed and although technical difficulties were few, I felt that this was a much harder scramble than Gap Mountain which has a more difficult rating. There were many places along the ridge that we were exposed and the ‘no fall’ zone was substantial. Don’t get me wrong though. This was the best scramble I’ve done in a while (since Mount Galwey).
The most depressing thing about Shark is that what you think is the summit, isn’t. It almost is though so if you persevere you’ll get there eventually! I was feeling very light headed from the lack of food and from 3.5 liters of Gatorade so Dave’s offer of gummy bears and M+M’s was most welcome. We didn’t linger on the summit very long because we knew that we had a committing climb down yet and didn’t want to be bushwhacking in the dark. Especially with a large bear sneaking around – probably high on the abundant mushrooms we came across…
The scramble down was actually easier than I was expecting and other then some cut up hands we did ok. We actually found the right trail on the way down and realized that we should have started up around 20 meters before the bench at Karst Spring. Trust me though. The trailhead is NOT obvious and neither is the trail. I don’t think this summit is very popular.
The bike ride back was fast and we completed the trip up and down Shark in just under 5.5 hours. Total day stats were:
- 14km biking,
- 22km walking,
- 9,600 feet total height gain / loss,
- 13 hours.