Brett – about 1600 m and 22 km – 9 hour RT. About 6 hrs up and 3 hours down. Bike trail for 55 min – bike out – 13 minutes!
Brett had never been on my radar but I took a picture from Isabelle a couple of weeks ago and Kevin wanted to do it so I started to do some research. Sonny and Dave Stephens had it in their top 5 or ten and Andrew and Bob said it was one of the most difficult – second to only Smuts! Now I was interested.
The bike in was a 55 min ride and push and we went by some cairns and hid the bikes at the largest cairn by lots of broken rock in an open area. We found no real trail and just thrashed up the blowdown and deadfall mess – on moss and broken rock – angle up to right to gain hanging valley at most open spot. Travelled up valley on broken rock and then up on right through larch trees/ramps to the low point in ridge.
Hiked ridge for a while until it turns to rock. Two downclimbs. First one we went down on left side as go down and I cleaned rock off the ledges. We stuck to the ridge crest as close as could to get full scramble value and usually better rock. One section of broken knife edge was dicey. There were usually options to go around difficulties (moderate scramble) on the climbers right /west side but usually looked slabby and down sloping or broken so easier but not necessarily safer. The second downclimb was a layer of the same poor quality friable fractured quartzite that we had on Isbelle. We were right on the ridge so we went part way down (5 m)and didn’t like the rock quality – steep, dirty, broken and loose with no good landing. Rather than backtrack and go down lower and around which looked scrappy and loose, we decided to bring out the 30 m rope, slung some rocks and climbed along the crest which involved a 5m downclimb into a notch and then up a pillar. The climb back up out of the notch had a fun 5.4 move on the pillar but we felt much safer on better rock. Vern has a picture of the pillar as he downclimbed it on his way down the ridge. Rest was easy to summit – close to 6 hours with rope work. The ramblers apparently bypassed the second downclimb by going 20 m down to the right earlier and around on ledges . I think it is safest to either do that or the technically harder ridge crest than doing the full downclimb which looked very steep and scrappy.
Good views – somewhat spoiled by smoke. I am always somewhat wary of alternate descents but this one was 10/10. We went south to a col and then great scree. Down 3-400 m in 15 min. Then 15 min sidehill down and right to a col on south west side of peak. Then excellent sheep trail all the way back around to the low point in the ascent ridge. The peak could be ascended easily this way but the treadmill scree would be murder. Descended into valley and followed easiest open lines along valley bottom and then down through deadfall mess back to bikes. The 13 minute bike ride was a real rush.
Overall a good stand alone trip with a good descent, good views. I was not that interested in doing Pilot and Brett on the same trip. The scrambling on the ridge was fun but I was not impressed with the rock quality in several spots. Definitely a difficult scramble based on taking the ridge crest or doing the second downclimb – could be a dangerous area if not careful, rushed or tired from doing Pilot.
Pictures are here