The Perfect Storm - Or Lack Thereof
Sometimes, everything just works... and that’s how it went for Zanny and I last weekend in the Duffey Lake area north of Pemberton, BC. Being a bit of an Interior BC boy I have only skied the Duffey area a handful of times and always in the same zone: Mt Joffre and Mt Slaylok. Thus, like any good long weekend, BC's new Family Day holiday was the perfect opportunity to explore this classic area, rich with pow, peaks, and couloirs. With blue skies, stable conditions and an extra day (BC learning something from Alberta), last weekend was prime to get amongst it. As expected, we were not the only ones with this idea as all parking lots were full and spilling onto highway 99, but what else would you expect coming into an endless ski playground that attracts the snow loving community?
Mount Matier was objective number one. I have yearned to ski it in the past, however conditions have not granted me the opportunity. Saturday, however, was the day for it. After some humming and hawing with directions, we were pointed in the right direction up Anniversary Glacier by a knowledgeable father and his young son. I could sense a hint of scepticism in his voice when we told him of our objective to summit Matier, as it was already near noon.
Once on the Matier Glacier, we caught sight of the last few lines of the day coming down Aussie Couloir with skiers and snowboarders absolutely shredding it! Soon people would be admiring our lines too! We headed up the bootpack on the North ridge of Matier and reached the summit at around 4. With the sun dipping down on the horizon, I made myself the anchor for a group of Vancouver Islanders who were repelling down the short down climb to the line we had planned to ski. Zanny went down on the rope next and I followed onto the relatively exposed shoulder of Matier. Upon all our ascent efforts with our city legs, the ski down was absolute prime. The light was perfect, the snow conditions were all time, and the turns felt like ‘you were the best skier on the mountain’. The thought of doing it all again tomorrow made life seem way to awesome at that very moment!
Day 2: Summiting Cayoosh. Again, not the earliest start, but with one objective in mind we found our way to the peak. Our day took us onto the Armchair Glacier then up the short bootpack to reach the summit.
Spectacular views were seen, including our lines from the previous day with Matier in the distance.
I snapped several photos of Zanny’s inauguration into the ‘Mtnbabes Female Wolfpack’ before we both ripped down onto the glacier. I solo boot-packed up a chute above the Armchair glacier for an extra couple of turns only to end another spectacular day of shredding and getting to know the Duffey a little better.
Day 3: Steep Creek. I had heard about Steep Creek, but for some reason I always had a mental image that it was a super long approach and better to do if you are staying overnight. Our friend, Holly, encouraged us to check it out and I am glad she did. It was one of those days when you are slightly lacking in motivation, weather was not expected to be very good and for a couple of ‘weekend warriors’ we were beginning to feel the effects of our previous two summits. However, once we got off the logging road, the sun began to shine and in front of us was another epic zone waiting for us to carve our own fresh lines. We climbed a peak to the North of Steep peak with the desire to get some good shots on the sunny ridge that drops just below Darkside Lake. With the late afternoon sun, Zanny dropped in first shredded the $%@t out of the line and I feasted on the pow that she left behind.
Back to the car for a quick brew and we were already on our way home to Vancouver. School books and office work awaits us! But, as the long weekend came to a close, we were left with only one question, what peak will we shralp next week?