Steven Song's Peak-bagging Journey

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Vermillion Peak

After 3 days of intense trail-breaking, I still had enough energy to push another ascent, so I turned on my laptop again... Kevin Papke was planning on Mount Haffner, which I hadn't done yet. Of course I'm interested in. Granticulus also invited me to do Mount Allan, and I managed to convince him to do Haffner. So 6 of us, 4 skiers (Kevin P, Kevin B, Vern, Eric), and 2 snowshoeers (Grant and I) met at Numa Falls Parking lot at 9am in the morning. Weather was cloudy, but again, just like the day on Emerald Peak, we were hoping for inversion.

We were lucky to find packed ski tracks up the treed slope which saved us a lot energy and time. As we gaining elevation, we noticed the trail venturing more towards climber's left than we should for Mount Haffner, but we decided to just keep going. Following tracks is always better than breaking trails by ourselves. Higher up, just like 2 days earlier, we entered the clouds, but soon broke through. Inversion again!

Since we were in the trees, we couldn't see where we were going. Further up, a glance to Mount Haffner revealed that we were too high on Vermillion. Grant and I hadn't done Vermillion yet so we decided to give it a go first, while Vern, Kevin B and Eric decided to ski down to the col and do Haffner first. I didn't bother to follow the tracks higher up since I was snowshoeing, and we quickly made to the south ridge. We managed to keep snowshoes on all the way to the false summit, where the ridge gets narrower and sketchy.

I knew the ridge is fairly exposed based on the summer view. It didn't look that bad thank to the big cornices hanging on climber's right side... Those cornices were very suspicious and we couldn't trust every single footing without carefully probing. At places the actual ridge narrows to a sharp knife edge. I'm sure it won't be like this in summer time, but given the fact I couldn't trust the snow, following the rock edge was the only option. The rock wasn't that stable neither and there were a couple of loose pieces that I dislodged. The snow was also rock hard at places, and sugary at other places. I couldn't afford a slip so I crampon on for the rest of the ascend. Grant was following my footprints so he didn't need crampons. The strategy was to be really patient and careful, and eventually we made to the summit.

Since we still wanted Haffner, we didn't linger long on the summit. Retracing our steps back down was definitely easier but still required caution. Even our own steps could be traps. Thankfully we both made back safely. This ridge reminds me the winter attempt of Mount Lady MacDonald, and I will never repeat this section in winter... If one day I come back here on skis, I'll give the summit a miss.

We soon started the traverse to Mount Haffner, down a steep slope to re-join Vern's up tracks.

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Vern skiing up the headwall
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Vern skiing up the headwall
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The burned forest
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The burned forest
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At treeline
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At treeline
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Rockwall & Mount Goodsir
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Rockwall & Mount Goodsir
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Rockwall
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Rockwall
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Mount Gray
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Mount Gray
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The south ridge
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The south ridge
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The summit ridge
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The summit ridge
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Me leading the summit ridge
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Me leading the summit ridge
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Grant approaching the summit
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Grant approaching the summit
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Stanley Peak
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Stanley Peak
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The Rockwall
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The Rockwall
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Ottertail River Valley
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Ottertail River Valley
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Hungabee & Deltaform
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Hungabee & Deltaform
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Temple, Quardra, Bident
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Temple, Quardra, Bident
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Whymper & Castle Mountain
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Whymper & Castle Mountain
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Storm Mountain
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Storm Mountain
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Stanley Peak
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Stanley Peak
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Mount Ball
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Mount Ball
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Mount Assiniboine
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Mount Assiniboine
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The Vermillion River valley
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The Vermillion River valley
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Vermillion Pass area
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Vermillion Pass area
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Vermillion River Valley
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Vermillion River Valley
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Stanley, Beatrice and Ball
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Stanley, Beatrice and Ball
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Vermillion River Valley
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Vermillion River Valley
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Rockwall & Goodsirs
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Rockwall & Goodsirs
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Mount Ball
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Mount Ball
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Hungabee & Deltaform
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Hungabee & Deltaform
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Me on the summit
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Me on the summit
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The summit ridge
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The summit ridge
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Grant descending the summit ridge
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Grant descending the summit ridge
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Grant descending the summit ridge
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Grant descending the summit ridge
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Our tracks on summit ridge
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Our tracks on summit ridge
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Descending the south ridge
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Descending the south ridge
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Descending the SW slope
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Descending the SW slope
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Descending the SW slope
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Descending the SW slope
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Photos taken by Steven