Trip Report: Sleeping on the Summit of Alpha

Jul 16, 2021

Last weekend my friend Tobias and I had an amazing trip: we slept on the summit of Alpha, one of the most impressive peaks in the Tantalus Range. It was stunningly beautiful, and I took some of the best pictures of my life.


Anyone planning a trip to the Tantalus must consider how they will cross the Squamish river. While many simply fly to Lake Lovely Water, we aren’t cheaters, and so we borrowed a (very unstable) inflatable paddleboard and shuttled the two of us and our gear across in a single trip.

Party in front of us crossing the Squamish River in a much more stable craft.

From there, it’s a long hike to the lake, gaining almost 1100m. We powered up it in a few hours and stopped for a swim.

After relaxing for way too long in the sun, we started the second half of the day: another 1200m of elevation gain to reach the summit.

Once in the alpine, we were treated to incredible views.

Routefinding through alpine meadows. Omega (left) and Niobe (right) in the background.

The climb soon became technical and we were glad to have brought our axes.

The summit ridge of Alpha in the background.

I led the crux pitch in my approach shoes. It was harder than expected, and I regretted having ignored all my friends who told me to bring a #4. It was a bit scary, but I pulled through.

At this point, the light was beginning to fade and we basked in its beauty as we scrambled to the summit.

Tobias silhouetted against our shadow.

The sunset was unreal. Tobias and I snapped hundreds of photos in an attempt to capture its light, but mostly we just sat and admired the view, content as can be.

We each chose the flattest spot we could find to put our mattresses and laid down for a short night’s sleep. It was remarkably uncomfortable, but I didn’t care: I watched the stars, contemplated the drop beside me, and thought about life.

My bivy spot.

I woke up naturally at 04:50 and laid in my sleeping bag for an hour, happier than I’ve been in a long time.

Dawn

Once the sun had fully risen, we packed our gear and scrambled down the south face back to the lake. There, we met a gang of polish hikers—one of whom Tobias knew—who fed us sausages.

Tobias filtering water at Russian Army camp.

From there, we hiked back to the river at a blistering pace, retrieved our paddleboard, crossed the river, and drove home.

What an absolute heater of a trip.


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