Summit Elevation (m): 2393
Trip Date: November 05, 2016
Elevation Gain (m): 1600
Round Trip Time (hr): 8.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 18
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 3 – you fall, you break something
Difficulty Notes: Access from the west involves getting permission from landowners. Some slabs and routefinding but mostly hiking and easy scrambling. Note: We did both Centre and Caudron Peaks in one trip combining for the stats listed above.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
Map: Google Maps
As part of my long-planned trip up Centre Peak – the highest peak in the Livingstone Range – I always wanted to tag Caudron, it’s southerly neighbor, in the same trip. It just seemed to make sense. Given how much work went into planning the route and getting permission from various landowners to drive and hike on their land, it made even more sense.
After a great ascent of Centre Peak, we turned our full attention to the west ridge of Caudron. We both had commented more than once over the approach and scramble of Centre that Caudron looked more involved than we were expecting. The west ridge looked easy enough, but just under the summit block, the slope steepened somewhat alarmingly and we wondered how easily we could scramble it. Lingering snow and ice were also visible, making us feel like our approach shoes might be too light. But there was nothing to do but get our noses in it at this point – so up we went! You might wonder why we didn’t just traverse the ridge between Centre and Caudron, but we assumed based on Rick Collier’s report that this was suicide. Upon reading of such a traverse in Caudron’s summit register, we now wonder if Rick didn’t look closely enough.
Once we got over a few humps and bumps on the west ridge of Caudron, we were faced with the imposing sight of the narrowing and steepening ridge to the summit. We could see a route that deviated slightly climber’s left near the summit block before likely going back right to the apex. As usual, the terrain wasn’t as severe as it looked once we got our shoes into it and soon we were traversing climber’s left to an obvious chimney next to a rock pinnacle just under the summit block. As Phil ascended the chimney, I noticed that he had excellent holds and ledges to work with and soon made short work of the moderate crux. I followed him up and then led up some slabby terrain to the summit itself. It was strangely windless on Caudron Peak – very odd considering how windy Centre Peak was! There was a glass jar standing in as a summit register, with only one entry from July. Cornelius scrambled the ridge directly from Centre to Caudron – only offering that it was very difficult. Kudos to him!
After taking in the views and enjoying the surprising lack of winds at the summit of Caudron, it was time to start down. We descended the west ridge until it forked left leading down to Caudron Creek. We were very happy to follow the easy ridge through light forest all the way to the ATV track we’d noticed on approach. We continued following the old ATV track as it crossed Caudron Creek at which point we followed the same trail we’d been on earlier in the day. We followed this very pleasant track along the north side of the creek until it became obvious that we were deviating too far from the road. At this point I simply crashed right through the creek and up the steep embankment to the road. Phil reluctantly followed. The cold water felt pretty good on the tired feet.
Both Phil and I enjoyed Caudron Peak much more than we thought we would. Originally it was a matter of bagging the named summit since we were in the area anyway and it made sense on an energy level. After the moderate scrambling on the upper mountain and easy descent ridge, we both agreed that we enjoyed it more than Centre Peak. The views and lack of wind at the summit didn’t hurt. If you have the energy and you’ve done all the work of getting permission to drive and hike into Centre Peak from the west, I’d highly recommend tacking Caudron onto your day. It’s worth it.