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This weekend, summer gave us another chance for a warm sunny hike: would have been a waste not to take it. Dan, Pavel, Stephan, Carlos and Evgeny joined in, and Saturday morning found us driving up the Duffey Lake road and into the Joffre Lakes parking lot. Those boulders and roots along the trail to the upper lake reminded me how much more pleasant it is in the winter! Once near the upper lake, we came across a sign post and followed the route to Tszil glacier. It’s a fairly well trodden trail when on the grass or in the trees, and while we found ourselves off to the side of an occasional cairn when on the boulder field, angling to the right whenever in doubt brought us back to the trail.
Spotting the much spoken about moraine, we first went to the right of it but ran into abundant deadfall covering the boulders. Oh well, let’s see what the moraine is like from the top. It turned out to be quite wide except for a couple of more narrow, half-a-foot wide spots. So, I got a chance to try out my newly-bought trekking poles in action, and they surely made my walk along the moraine more secure. Spotted four mountaineers ascending the steep north face of Slalok: looked pretty amazing! Up the short cliffy section, and then boulders, boulders, boulders to the Tszil-Taylor col. We crossed a couple of small icy snowfields where I would have liked to have an ice axe or traction aides, especially if we were to descend the same way.
While Tszil looked somewhat intimidating from the col, the scrambling turned out to be a lot of fun with no exposure and excellent sturdy rock. We first traversed to the left below a large rock, then followed our intuition to the summit. The views were spectacular! The whole Cayoosh range was up on display, and Slalok so close! We toyed with the idea of going up Slalok just to see how far we could get, but then decided Taylor was a surer objective. We didn't even notice how 40 minutes on the top passed; it was 3:40pm, and if we wanted to get to Taylor, we should hurry! So Pavel, Evgeny and I packed quickly and hastened down. From the col, it was 30 min to the top of Taylor, zig-zagging between short cliffs at a good speed. A few quick pictures, and down we go. Back in the col at 5:10, with two hours of daylight left. We avoided the steeper snowfield by hiking on the boulder field, and walked along the moraine still in good light. Dusk descended on us at the 2nd lake when the headlamps went on, and we caught up with the rest of our group between the 1st and the 2nd lakes. Huge thanks to Dan who courteously accepted the role of a guide for the other two in the group and descended straight from Tszil, allowing us to bag a second peak. This was a Wanderung hike organized by me.