The Northeast Buttress of Mt. Slesse
The Chilliwack River Valley provides access to some fine alpine climbing, most notably Mt. Slesse and Mt. Rexford. It is a beautiful place, and is heavily used as a destination getaway for swimming fishing and camping.
Both Slesse and Rexford have numerous routes, none of which should be underestimated. Access to the peaks is via forest service roads.
Mt Slesse lies at the end of Nesakwatch FSR which parallels Nesakwatch Creek. In December of 1956, a TransCanada airplane slammed into the mountain in bad weather. there is a memorial to the crew and passengers on the approach hike. The wreckage and bodies were never recovered, and have long since been swallowed up by the Slesse Glacier. Some debris remains in the area, notably the propeller of Propeller Cairn. It is all protected and all artifacts must be left in place.
The Chilliwack River Valley is about 3 hours east of Squamish and Vancouver on Highway 1 (Trans Canada Highway). Exit at mile marker 119 and go through the town of Sardis (south). Chilliwack proper is North of the highway. After about 3 miles one comes to a bridge crossing the Chilliwack River. Turn left just before the bridge onto the Chilliwack River Road. For some reason, this felt wrong to me when I did this, and we continued across the bridge, but the turn is in fact there, and missing it just adds time to the trip. This road will provide access to Mt Slesse and Mt Rexford.
For the east side of Slesse drive 30 KM from the Chilliwack River Bridge to just past the Riverside Recreation Site. Turn right on Chilliwack South forest service road (FSR) then right again at the next junction onto Nesakwatch FSR. Drive as far as you can on this road; we didn't get too far in a low clearance car. The goal is a small parking area at a spur road to the right 6 KM from the main road. This will provide access to all east side climbs, the Northeast Buttress Direct route, and north face climbs. West side climbs are via the Chilliwack-Slesse Creek FSR, 21 KM from the Bridge. Turn right and head up 8 KM to a large parking lot. The trail from here follows an old road bed to a memorial, then turns and climbs STEEPLY to a forested knoll. This trail and parking area provide the best descent from the Northeast Buttress route. With the knoll being a reasonable bivouac for a fast party. It is a long haul to the parking lot from the trailhead though, so plan accordingly. We used a mtn bike to complete the loop. Make sure you know how to get off the mountain before you go up!
Browse More Classics in Mt. Slesse
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Mt. Slesse:
Featured Route For Mt. Slesse
: ... : Mt. Slesse
This is an absolute classic route, one of the 50, moderate, with excellent climbing, exposure, and adventure. It is not to be underestimated though, as it is also very remote and requires a certain amount of detailed planning and luck with the weather. It has been climbed in a day, but most parties do it in two nights and 3 days. Day one is to get there, arrange the shuttle and hike to the propeller cairn or wooded knoll, day two for the climb, and beginning of the descent to the forested kno...[more] Browse More Classics in International
The NE butrtress route, including the Bypass Glaci...
Looking back at the west side of Slesse from the f...
The west face of Mt. Slesse
BETA PHOTO: Photo showing access across the Bypass Glacier to ...
On the descent ... NE Buttress behind (left skylin...
|By Peter Spindloe|
From: North Vancouver, BC
Feb 19, 2008
I'm excited that Mt. Slesse has been submitted, thanks John! It's high on my list of goals for this summer. I recently read the book about the air disaster: Disaster on Mt. Slesse
It's a pretty interesting story, although the authors had to stretch a bit to fill out a book. I'm looking forward to seeing more info here and then hopefully posting something of my own near the end of this summer.