With my newly acquired VOC membership I was eagerly waiting for an opportunity to sign up for my first trip and then there it was: “Tantalus Range – beginner friendly” for August long weekend. So I signed up. However, it didn’t take long to get the two key points during the pre-trip meeting at the beach. First: The Tantalus Range might not be that beginner friendly after all. And second: nothing had been sorted out prior to the meeting. Luckily, Cora was able to convince me that Phelix creek might be a good alternative and we split from the group for a perfect intro to scrambling for a ‘skilled beginner’. As all the good things come in three, Ben joined in as well.
A warm welcome was offered by a curious black bear teen shortly before we reached the trailhead to Phelix Creek. The hike through the forest was a welcome get away from the burning sun and after reaching the lake and setting up camp we decided we hadn’t quite earned dinner yet so Cora and I went up Cabin Hill to have a better look at our next days’ destination Mt. Gandalf while Ben headed for Frodo.
After a good night’s sleep in a beautiful setting we got ready to make our way up Gandalf. After passing some alpine meadows filled with flowers and a never ending trek over large boulders the views got better by the minute and the scrambling become more fun with every false peak until we reached the summit where we were rewarded with a stunning 360° view. It might have been the best view I’ve ever had in the summer time!
Route finding seemed to be trickiest part and a nice surprise came our way when we found a mini loop around the summit for the descent. The only thing that left me unfulfilled was that there wasn’t enough snow to finally make use of the ice axe which I was so excited about.
Unfortunately, on the way back we started to hear thunder so we watched the battle between friendly and potentially rainy clouds for about 40min before we decided it might be better to descent to the car before it started pouring. The thunder continued and we did see some rain which made it easier for all of us to put up with the early return. And honestly, I think it was just a perfect trip. Thanks Cora and Ben!