Title: Cayoosh Mtn, BC, Nov 28, 2015
Post by: radka on 12/05/15, 06:36 PM
Last summer, after our big adventure in the Northern Pickets, we arrived at Luna Camp on day 8, where we ran into some very friendly folks. We learned that they had just done Challenger. We exchanged contact information and stayed in touch.
Last month, we met up with a couple of them at a climbers' social event. A week later, we received an email, offering us to stay at their time-share condo in Whistler over Thanksgiving for free because they couldn't make it. What a generous and kind offer! We had never skied at Whistler so off we went. The condo was in an awesome location, right in the middle of the village. We couldn't have been more spoiled!
We spent day one skiing the lifts on Blackcomb Mountain (first time lift skiing in at least 1.5 years) and on day two, we met up with another friend of ours to explore the Whistler "slackcountry". Our friend chose to ski "Couloir Extreme" at the end of the day, which we skipped...'cos it was really steep and our legs were noodles already. We snapped a few pictures from the top of the couloir.
On day 3, we decided it was time to do something away from the resort. We settled on checking out the Armchair Glacier on Cayoosh Mountain since the trailhead was ~4000’ and about an hour drive north on 99 from Whistler. We found the trailhead pretty easily as the weather station there is a nice landmark. When we got out of the car, it was cold, 14 degrees F. We “parked” next to a van with 1 person outside putting skins on multiple sets of skis, while the rest of his party remaining in the vehicle. I should have asked what the terms and conditions were for such a task but didn’t think about it until later.
We skinned up the logging road, alternating between 1 hand in a pocket and the other holding the poles. After about 20 minutes we were warmed up enough that we didn’t have to do this anymore. Another couple with a dog caught up to us and the dog was going crazy in the snow! The surface hoar we observed since arriving progressively got bigger as we contoured onto northern slopes and was the biggest we had ever seen.
Cayoosh Mtn first views
It took about an hour or so to skin the road, which had multiple open water drains to cross. From the end of the road a prominent skin track was already in place and going in the direction we wanted, so we followed it.
The skin track had about a hundred kick turns on it and 1 section where a few people decided to boot it. Along the skin track was lots of 4-6” deep soft powder snow sheltered from the trees. After a couple hours we finally reached tree line and soon the moraine. The snow transitioned from powder to a mixed bag of goodies – windboard, windcrust, melt\freeze crust (temperature inversion), and in places still powder. Here we caught a glimpse of the party of 3 ahead of us, maybe only 30 minutes ahead of us now. We had some lunch on the moraine then continued up the spine of it before traversing to the other side.
We went another hour before reaching our turnaround time at 2:15pm. The summit was still another 1000’ feet higher and the other party only a few hundred feet above us. They also reached their turnaround time and soon enough skied down to us. We chatted with them for a bit to get the goods on the best descent route. We thanked them for the skin track and beta then watched them ski down. We basically skied the line listed in Baldwin’s Duffy Lake area down Armchair. The skiing was pretty good with only a few truly horrible spots near the moraine. The ski down the avalanche slope would be really sweet with another couple feet on top of it, since that would bury all the small trees.
The Joffre Group (Joffre, Matier, Slalok)
We got back to the car by headlamp around 5:30pm. The country of Canada left us a passive-aggressive note on our windshield suggesting we could do better with our parking. We looked at it and laughed. Really, eh? We parked between two Canadian cars ;D
Huge thanks to our friends for letting us use their timeshare condo!
Title: Re: Cayoosh Mtn, BC, Nov 28, 2015
Post by: danpeck on 12/02/16, 09:29 PM
Super cool trip Radka and Chris! Jealous of the terrain and weather.