Whistler Mountain II, "Frankie Peak" II
"Larry Mountain", North Castle

June 14, 2009

Mountain heights:       2214 m, 2375 m, 2375 m, 2327 m
Total elevation gain:   approx. 1350 m
Roundtrip time:           9 hours               

Solo scramble.

After a thoroughly breath-taking ascent of Whistler Mountain and Frankie Peak a month earlier, I returned to see if the trip could be extended to a twin peak of Frankie and possibly beyond.

The ascent of Whistler was again brutally easy, thanks to the well-used trail. Of course, without the cloud layer of May 18, the experience was totally different. I left the trail early to visit the former site of the Whistler Mountain Lookout – a short and worthwhile diversion, with very good views (obviously….it used to be a lookout!)

The summits of Whistler and the GR between Whistler and Frankie were easily reached. Although the low visibility and therefore eerie traverse to Frankie Peak a month earlier had a charm all of its own, the relatively clear skies of the present day were preferable – turning around to see the colourful hues of Whistler Mountain and Table Mountain a pleasant reward.

After taking in excellent views from Frankie Peak, I started east towards the next unnamed summit. Within a minute the mountain suddenly dropped away with a significant cliff-band. Initially it appeared that my progress had ended, however, a ramp down through the cliff-band soon appeared, granting relatively easy, but exposed access to the slopes below. Once down, the remainder of the traverse to unnamed was short, easy, and incredibly scenic. The vertigo-inducing drop down the north side of the connecting ridge was spectacular, as was the stunning strata of the north sides of Frankie Peak and unnamed. I quickly reached the top and as planned named it “Larry Mountain”, in tribute to Larry, my step-Dad of 27 years. Happy Father’s Day, big guy!

At this point of the trip, instead of returning the way I came, it seemed only logical to make a loop route by heading southeast to North Castle and then southwest out to the road. This route turned out to be very easy and as expected, very scenic. The striking colours of the connecting ridge and those of Mount Gladstone were gorgeous, even though thick, dark storm clouds were rapidly building over the area. For a moment, I considered running up Gladstone, but wisely reconsidered, looking at the increasingly dark skies.

From Bob Spirko’s and Sonny Bou’s websites, I knew there was a decent way to descent North Castle, but neglected to bring their route descriptions. As such, I ended up doing a fair amount of bushwhacking and side-sloping to get to easier terrain. By that time I was almost down to the trail anyway.

An excellent day and a very entertaining loop route.  

Part of Barnaby Ridge

What's left of the Whistler Mountain Lookout

Whistler Mountain (left foreground), Larry and Frankie (distant centre), Castle Peak (distant right)

More of Barnaby Ridge

Interesting clouds and the Sun

A hazy view towards Mount Darrah (far left), Pengelly, and McGladrey
the peak at the far right is unnamed and is higher than all the others

The north face of Larry Mountain

The ridge to Frankie Peak

Looking back to Whistler (left) and the GR to the east

Looking west and northwest from the summit of Frankie

Table Mountain

Table again

The awesome drop down the north face of the connecting ridge of Frankie and Larry

Same as above

The ridge and Larry Mountain

Larry Mountain

Looking back to Frankie

A small tree and developing storm clouds

The ridge to North Castle

Mount Gladstone

Windsor Mountain (left) and Castle Peak

The storm clouds get darker

Looking back to Frankie and Larry

Gladstone again

The first part of the descent

The namesake of "Larry Mountain" (on the right); he's very mature for his age