Percy Creek - Take Two
Eight days after the first exploration, of the upper part of Percy Creek, Jeff and I decided to return and finish off the canyon. My knee was feeling a fair bit better, but was still nowhere near where it should be. However, we returned to the creek via a similar route to our exit, and managed to drop in just slightly above where we had bailed last time. Once again, we were fairly slow on the start, and weren’t into the canyon and suited up until some time after noon.
We came upon a waterfall that we thought would be a rappel, but looking closely along one edge, we found what almost seemed to be natural steps all the way down. It was a little exposed, but slowly and carefully, we made our way down.
From this spot, there was a long, long drop down a waterfall. It started relatively flatly, but curved down steeply to a small ledge with a pool and a rock horn. At first, we thought we could maybe follow the cascade down to the ledge, but it just became far too steep, slick and exposed.
Instead, we went left, and found a steep groove from the side that led down to the ledge. The bottom section also became quite exposed, but that could be minimized by moving back into the water flow.
I went down first, and gingerly made my way into the little pool, which was a nice, cozy, secure place to set up the next rappel. Jeff followed me, first lowering the rope bag to the ledge. From here, it was about 125 feet to the base of the waterfall.
After this, there was some basic boulder walking, interspersed with some blocky downclimbs and squeezes. We were just starting to get impatient for something interesting to happen, when we came upon the next rappel: 35 feet or so down a groove into a deep pool, off a slung boulder. I went down first, got off rope, and swam/waded to the far side of the pool. When I got there, I found another rappel, with no anchor material available. In fact, the rap dropped into another pool with no anchors, and there was another drop beyond.
Knowing we could ascend out if necessary, Jeff came and joined me. It looked like we might be able to climb up the side a bit to a tree to anchor the rest of the rappel, but it was a little too exposed. We discussed our options, and tried to figure out just how much rope it would take to get to the bottom.
We had brought only 300 feet of rope this day, as we hadn’t seen any rappels over 100 feet to this point in Percy or Goldie. It would not be enough to get us down all three stages of this rappel, though. However, by adding the 65 feet of webbing we had available, we would be able to manage about a hundred and eighty foot descent. I ascended to the anchor, and re-rigged for our three stage rap. Jeff descended the second and third stages, and there was just enough rope to make it. I followed, and though the pull was very difficult, we managed to retrieve all our rope!
A couple more rappels, and some downclimbing, and we reached a trail crossing the canyon. We were pretty sure that this trail led back up to the crossing of Goldie Creek, and beyond to the road. We continued a short way down canyon, but there seemed to be no more excitement to be had in the last few hundred feet to sea level.
We returned to the trail, and started up shortly before sunset. The trail was steep, and in some sections, barely incised into the ground as it traversed across the precipitous slopes. After half an hour, we reached Goldie, and continued toward the road. We needed headlamps for the last 10 minutes in the trees before emerging onto Mount Seymour Road.