All packed up with ice axes and crampons for today’s climb of Rainbow Peak (2314m), we left the flat at 6:30 am in order to catch the start of the Subaru Iron Man (Whistler – Canada) race starting at Alta Lake. The lake was freezing cold, but with blue skies overhead we arrived to the incredible site of some 3,000 competitors already in the water and stretching across portion of the lake ready to begin their swim…
Shortly after the race was underway so were we. Starting from the Whistler Crematory on Alta Lake Rd, we joined the trail up to Rainbow lake before leaving the beaten track and finding out own way to the summit of Rainbow peak.
The route starts off on a fairly gentle climb through the forest, winding and ascending it’s way up over handmade bridges past waterfalls and rickety old boarding over swamps. The walk from the road to the lake to about 2 hours at a decent pace and we got a good glimpse of where we were heading in the far off distance, before arriving at Rainbow Lake:
Perfect place for a second round of breakfast at the far end:
After breakfast number 2, we followed the stream until the path disappear and we were faced with the real start of our climb up straight through the middle of the below picture:
After the green meadow disappeared it was a rock scramble all the way to the top:
Once of the ridge of this first rock field we came across a small snow pack.
Simply a case of straight over and straight on up, following the sound of running water coming down from the Rainbow Glacier:
Tom demonstrating the idea of going straight up in as straight a line as possible quite literally…
After we made it over this second ridge we thought we could see a fairly simple final ascent to mound of a summit:
We were wrong. We made our way to the base of this phantom summit only discover a huge glacier guarding access to the actual summit with a vertical rock face all around its top outer edge. Nice. Thanks.
We headed onto the glacier and followed the top edge all the way around until we found a suitably steep gully in the rock to scramble up.
Almost out of this gully the terrain levelled and we were able to finally see the summit of Rainbow Peak to our left.
A short while later….
The clouds came in when we were on the top and it was bitterly cold, but they cleared slightly allowing us to take a few shots from the top:
On the way back down we had a look explore around the glacier…
After 10 hours on the hill with the following: Ascent time = 5.5 hours. Descent time = 4 hours. Distance = 35km. Vertical distance = 3400m…
… we definitely felt we had earned the right to a whole roast chicken each. mmm.
If you want to get involved with any future climbs then get in contact.