Date: Aug. 16, 2018
Partner: Julian Stoddart
Grade: D-, 5.7
I had climbed Mt. Rexford twice from the West (Nesakwatch) side but this was my first (and hopefully not last) time visiting the East (Centre Creek) side of the mountain. With the road no longer gated, we were able to drive Julian’s truck to what has effectively become the trailhead where the mainline becomes overgrown and a new spur switchbacks uphill. In fact, we overshot the correct spot (it was marked by a small cairn) and parked two switchbacks higher at a different overgrown spur. This added some bushwacking on the way in and some road hiking on the way out.
There is a short bit of unpleasant bushwacking from the old road to get down to the creek. However, after crossing the creek, it is easy hiking up to a steepening area of gulleys and waterfalls . The easiest route takes a gulley (some 3rd class) trending up and left toward the Pillar of Pi and once in the open upper basin traverses hard right, hugging the base of the East Ridge. Nice open slabs then lead up to the diagonal fault that accesses the crest.
The lower third of the route was quite vegetated and was sufficiently exposed that I often had the impression that I was trusting my life to various branches and bushes. Eventually we came to a steep section and after investigating options out left without success, we decided to pull out the rope and belay a pitch up a short corner.
Above, the angle kicked back and the rock became much cleaner. We rambled along until the ridge steepened once again in its upper third. This was the highlight of the route with solid rock and some enjoyable easy climbing. We mostly stayed near the crest with occasional detours to the right until near the top, a traverse left led to easy ground and the summit.
From the summit, we descended the Northeast Ridge. We made a few rappels in the upper section from fixed anchors but were predominantly able to downclimb with the occasional tricky move here and there.
To regain the basin from the ridge crest, we descended the obvious dike/fault capped by a large chockstone. Although it looked unpleasant, this turned out to be relatively easy. Overall, we both felt that the Northeast Ridge was a more enjoyable route than the East Ridge because it’s not nearly as bushy and the difficulties are all up high on clean, solid granite. However, the East Ridge still made for an enjoyable day on a classic peak.