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| | |-+  November 27-29, 2015, Elfin Lakes
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Author Topic: November 27-29, 2015, Elfin Lakes  (Read 1848 times)
Charlie Hagedorn
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November 27-29, 2015, Elfin Lakes
« on: 11/30/15, 09:52 AM »

After a great turkey-day with friends, Susan and I headed to B.C. in search of snow. We found big views, calm winds, and sunshine.

Weather: Fabulous.

Itinerary: Friday, skin in. Saturday, Gargoyle, Diamond Head, Ring-Creek trail recon. Sunday, Opal Cone visit blocked by steep drop to Ring Creek, skin/ski to car.

Ski conditions: Poor, on average, but still fun. Wind-structured snow was the story, where fully-sheltered from wind, even on many sunny slopes, settled powder remained. Full-sheltering was rare, and often treed. Where northerly winds could touch the snow (almost everywhere), we found the entire gamut of wind features: windslab, windboard, sastrugi, and complete erosion down to an underlying icy crust. We linked 10 corny turns off the summit of Diamond Head, which was fun. Best powder was just uphill from the Red Heather shelter.

Avalanche: No active slides observed, but small crowns were present on most avalanche terrain above ~1600m on all aspects. Stomps, ski cuts, etc couldn't get any of the remaining windslab going. Surprisingly little surface hoar present; while there may have been 1-2 mm SH in many spots, we only saw about a square meter of 3-5mm SH in a protected spot near Ring Creek.

Hut tips: Hut shoes are essential; the entire downstairs floor gets wet. To sleep on a weekend, camp outside (we camped Saturday night). The Elfin Shelter's propane heater is presently out of order, but the water-melting stoves work great.  Solar-powered indoor LED lights are fancy. Expect mice inside and sneaky pine marten outside. Listening to 40-60+ year-old Canadians play Cards Against Humanity Friday night was good fun.

Chains are now legally required for the last ~1 km to the Elfin Trailhead, though fewer than two out of seven Canadians chose to use them. The road was icy, though, so chains seemed smart. The trail is skiable to the trailhead, though icy, thin, and a little rocky in spots.

People: Snowshoers outnumbered skiers at the hut ~30:4. Seen: Snowbikes, kids in pulks, zillions of happy people on skis, many skiing tele. Not seen: anyone from south of the border.


* elfinLakesStarsTAY.jpg (177.83 KB, 1000x667 - viewed 977 times.)

* SusanLeadsTheWayToDiamondHeadTAY.jpg (189.61 KB, 1000x535 - viewed 982 times.)

* SusanTurnsOffTheTopOfDiamondHeadTAY.jpg (178.53 KB, 1000x555 - viewed 988 times.)
« Last Edit: 11/30/15, 07:36 PM by Charlie Hagedorn » Logged

mikerolfs
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Re: November 27-29, 2015, Elfin Lakes
« Reply #1 on: 11/30/15, 02:57 PM »

Wow what a fun packed weekend! Thanks for all the info. Were there really 34 people in the hut?
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runningclouds
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Re: November 27-29, 2015, Elfin Lakes
« Reply #2 on: 11/30/15, 04:57 PM »

Thank for the report. The cabin's popularity has gone through the roof, weekends are insane. Just for your info, sometimes the BC Park rangers stand by the snow chain sign, and if you don't have them you have to park in the lower parking lot.
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: November 27-29, 2015, Elfin Lakes
« Reply #3 on: 11/30/15, 06:08 PM »

BC Parks claims that the hut sleeps 33: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/garibaldi/

Until the two of us headed outside on Saturday night, there were at least three people sleeping on the floor. It's a nifty place; everyone was friendly, it's just busy, and different people have different evening goals. With the good weather, camping offered space and superior views. In a storm, it'd be cramped.

We didn't see anyone enforcing chain-up rules, but with one car straddling the hill-side ditch and another parked at the hairpin Friday, the sign made sense.
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Zap
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Re: November 27-29, 2015, Elfin Lakes
« Reply #4 on: 12/01/15, 08:44 AM »

Nice to see your TR and photos.  We have been there numerous times in spring for tours starting at the hut. During the week it was deserted, other than the folks that broke in your car at the trail head. I assume BC Parks have "fixed" that problem. Wink
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Randy
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Re: November 27-29, 2015, Elfin Lakes
« Reply #5 on: 12/01/15, 09:55 AM »

BC Parks claims that the hut sleeps 33: ...

You'll want these if you want to actually sleep in the hut: http://www.amazon.com/Ohropax-Wax-Ear-Plugs-plugs/dp/B0006NXBVQ/

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