Marriot Basin Alpine Loop

The six peaks we climbed. In order of ascent from top to bottom right: Academy, Wishbone, Oblate, Rancherie, Rohr; then Wonk to the left of Rohr.

We left Vancouver at 5 arriving at the Marriot Basin road by 8AM. Temperatures were still freezing when we parked Ben’s Mazda just off the highway near the start of the road.

Gorgeous walking through the fall colours of the forest en route to the hut.

Boring trail on forestry road changed to beautiful subalpine forest, open alpine meadows, and stunning lakes. The weather was perfect, barely any clouds in the sky. We reached the ACC Wendy Thompson Hut in under 2 hours, and had a quick rest and some food.

Easy scrambling on Academy Peak.

Soon we were heading up to the col north-west of Academy Peak, reaching the summit in a little under an hour after leaving the hut. We had climbed around 1100 metres from the highway. Atop the views of Marriott were glorious, with fresh snow and blue skies. The myriad lakes in Marriott Basin were glorious, sitting amongst slabs and alpine meadows, turquoise, green, and dark blue.

Summit shot atop Academy Peak – the first of six peaks for the day.

On the summit, we met Matt and talked about the joys of scrambling in the Duffey. We took our longest break of the day, nearly 45 minutes, and descended to the Academy-Wishbone col. The descent involved a bit of route-finding to maintain a class 3 route. From the col, the way up to Wishbone was just a simple hike.

The summit was nice, but we did not linger, and continued the traverse to Oblate. The col’s were continually higher, and we reached Oblate easily after a short descent off of Wishbone. From the summit we could see the only question mark of our route – the NW ridge of Rancherie Peak.

Easy walking on the ridge near Oblate and Wishbone.

We reached the base of Rancherie, put the polls away, and attacked the band head-on. A short move of unexposed low class 5 brought me over it, while Ben and Alex opted for a more exposed class 4 section. From there the route was easy and we reached the summit of Rancherie.

The one tricky step near Rancherie Peak.

There a decision was made to continue over Rohr and Wonk. It would add around 650m elevation to the trip. We dropped to a low col, and then Ben and I ascended Rohr easily, first up the face and then joining the trail on the ridge.

Gorgeous views looking north off the ridge.

Alex skipped Rohr, having been there before, and headed for the Rohr-Wonk col. Ben and I were tired when we reached the summit. We stuffed in some food, took some photos and headed down to the col.

Summit shot with the Joffre Group behind, on Wonk or Rohr.

The way up Wonk was simple and we met Alex on the summit. We took a few photos of the Joffre Group as a front moved in and made the lighting more dramatic. A gorgeous day in the mountains. We then headed down to Rohr lake via a heather and boulder ramp off the NE ridge system of Wonk. We reached the lake at dusk and picked up the trail.

By the time we reached the Rohr – Wendy Thompson junction, it was near dark, but we jogged down and reached the road before needing headlamps in the forest. We walked down the road in the dark and reached the car after 12 hours on the go. Great trip in the Duffey – maybe one of the last snow-free scrambles of the year.


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