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View Full Version : Trap Dike, water and ... death.



Neil
07-04-2004, 08:56 AM
After doing the east Colden slide we viewed the Trap Dike with keen interest coming back along Avalanche Lake. There was lots of water pouring down the crack. Back at the parking lot my son chatted up a park employee who said that some hikers died there and to make sure it was dry before attempting it.

Anybody got any additional comments?

Wild
07-04-2004, 10:43 AM
I climbed it a few years ago when it was pretty wet, and it still wasn't bad. It certainly warranted more caution, but it wasn't a death trap by any means. It is definitely more dangeerous in the winter, when it can be a grade 2 ice climb, with considerable avalanche danger on the slabs above.

The hikers who died in the Trap Dike may have done so a long time ago. There have been deaths and rescues in the past - Don Mellor's guidebook mentions this - but I haven't heard about anything recent.

Neil
07-04-2004, 11:10 AM
Perhaps they exited the Dike too early and got onto very steep, wet rock. From Avalanche Lake it dosn't look like the Dike itself would be 'death' material.

Grumpy
07-04-2004, 11:58 AM
Originally posted by NeilL
After doing the east Colden slide we viewed the Trap Dike with keen interest coming back along Avalanche Lake. There was lots of water pouring down the crack. Back at the parking lot my son chatted up a park employee who said that some hikers died there and to make sure it was dry before attempting it.
My experience is that "park employees" don't always really know what they're talking about. But they're human, and that doesn't stop them from yakking. (I bear in mind as I type that comment, I am human, too.) And a hair-raising tale or two about the Trap Dike would make good telling, apochryphal or not.

Anyhow, I'm not aware of any recent incidents -- especially fatalities -- associated with climbing Mt. Colden via the Trap Dike. "Recent" means within the last 5 years, at least. But the potential certainly is there, both in the Dike proper and on the open slide. The advice to avoid the climb in wet weather is not inappropriate or overblown, in my opinion.

I climbed the Dike with a couple of other people during the mid 1960s in early-mid September. There had been a snowfall overnight, and we ran into ice-coated rock as we ascended above the waterfall. We were not prepared for that. It was a "hairy" adventure. God, it is said, protects fools and small children. I was at least 21 at the time, and so were my companions, and I sense that God was looking out for us that day.

G.

Paul_Bear
07-06-2004, 08:36 AM
Originally posted by NeilL
Perhaps they exited the Dike too early and got onto very steep, wet rock. From Avalanche Lake it dosn't look like the Dike itself would be 'death' material.

I remember one fatality that was similar to this scenario with an out of control slide on the slabs. I don't remember whether it was summer or winter conditions. I'm sure it was more than 10 years ago, maybe 15.

masshysteria
07-06-2004, 05:08 PM
NeilL,

The exact thing happened to me last August. It had rained the night before our attempt, maybe a quarter inch at the most. What I have heard refered to as the 'crux' of the climb, the waterfall, was as far as we got. There was quite alot of water going over it, and the only way around it is to jump left to right in front of it, then shimmy up the right side. All this while the falls are spraying you and the rocks. I was not comfortable with it, and there was no way in hell I was going to let my 12 yr. old son attempt it. Retreat was sounded with our health and our pride intact! And we never even got to the slabs.
We did go to the top from Lake Colden, where we passed a ranger coming down who had heard we were attempting the Dike, and she was very concerned for us. Needless to say, she was quite relieved that we did turn around.
Don't let a long distance view lull you into underestimating the hazards involved with a climb. Overanticipate the potential hazards you might run into so you're prepared for it. And by all means, DON'T be afraid to turn around!
Try the Dike someday, but do it in dry weather. Be safe!

woodstrider
07-07-2004, 04:01 PM
I've heard of two fatal accidents, both in winter. One was a solo climber who died in the Dike, and another was one of a group of three who died on the slabs.

I, too, was very ambivelant about doing this route, but it was not as hard as I thought it would be. And I am afraid of heights! I found the view down into Avalanche Lake dizzying. The hardest section is a 10-15 foot near vertical section. This is the crux. There are good hand and foot holds. Get out above this to the right.

Cheers