Dave's Report - July 30, 2006
Polar Peak - Elephant Head Loop
With the somewhat cooler weather today, the trek to Polar Peak that we had talked about doing all winter, finally became a reality. For the princely sum of $13.50 (plus tax) you can save an awful lot of time and climbing, and get transported to the top of Timber Chair. For our old legs, a great investment. John and Julia would have walked from the bottom, but hey, we are 20 yrs older than them.
At the top of Timber Chair we had to dethaw, as it was way colder and windier than we expected. We headed past the long awaited construction of the restaurant and deck - which looks great, ( rumour has it that a coffee will be $25 + tax � only kidding ), and made our way up Falling Star to the top of the White Pass chair. We had well and truly warmed up by the time we got there. The path to Polar Peak is a nice steady climb, with the amazing Elk Valley stretching below us to the North. We negotiated a small section of scree, where care is always needed, and ended up at the top feeling as though we had had a good work out, and tried to find a spot out of the wind to have lunch. For some reason that the other 3 couldn�t fathom, John said you have to have lunch at the top. So we had to hang onto our lunch packs so that they wouldn�t blow away, in what was an ever increasing gale (somewhat reminiscient of life in Australia). John said the view was worth the slight discomfort. No one agreed. Heading down we made our way toward the next ridge, heading for Elephant Head and we discovered a lovely sunny sheltered spot a small distance from the summit . We imagined how nice it would have been to have sat in the sun and eaten, sans howling wind. John was voted off the lunch site committee for the next hike.
The ridge between Polar Peak and Elephant Head, which is actually the top of the headwall above Currie Bowl has some interesting terrain. It�s very different from Polar Peak. Rocky, with deep crevasses, and in many areas,no grass at all. From Polar Peak it looks quite intimidating, however it is a lot wider and user friendly once you are on the trail. There are these lovely red dots on the rocks to let you know that you are going the right way. We only lost them once, and headed off in the wrong direction. A word of caution for those who suffer from vertigo � (two of our group). The scramble up the first part of the top of Elephant Head is a little hazardous, with a cable to hang onto as its quite steep. Two of the group went up like mountain goats, the remaining two clung to the rocks like leeches, wishing they were somewhere else. They did survive, and again we experienced some great rock formations up across the ridge. The walk down is quite steep and rocky in places, and the rocks are particularly sharp if you need to use them to keep your balance. All in all, a very enjoyable hike taking around 4 hours including the chair ride.
Its great to see the Slopeside Caf� busy in summer. We finished up with a drink and a muffin, along with some very loud � background � music. Not everyone is a 19 yr old downhiller !!