Thursday, December 26, 2013

Xmas Eve Day - Ski Cypress Peak

One of the benefits of having a poor snow year thus far is that many of the forest services roads are still open and we can access areas that would normally necessitate a long ski in approach. The logging road approach to Cypress Peak is up the Roe Creek FSR which is a left turn off of Highway 99 between Whistler and Squamish where the Powder Mtn Cat skiing truck is normally parked. On Christmas eve day Cam, Mags and I headed up in search of some elusive early season powder turns.

A few weeks ago we skied Metal Dome from the Brandywine side by driving up to 1100m, after the snow melted a bit during the day,it was a slick and nerve racking drive down. Because of this experience I was pretty cautious this week on the road, there was a fair bit of ice on the road but the Delica with its Goodyear Duratracs and tire chains seemed to grip it quite nicely. Aside from a few sections at the beginning, the road is also not very steep which gave me confidence that the way back down wouldn't be too bad. We elected to park about 1km from the end of the road at about 1150m. There was one other vehicle there.

There is only one turn that could possibly be missed its the right hand turn off of the Chance Creek FSR to the Roe Creek FSR. Most winters the road is only drivable for about 1km. 
Skinned up the road until the end to see if there was potentially a way up through the trees that would help us avoid ascending a steep section in the middle of the main slope, the tress still need some more snow to be passable without going crazy. There was a definite rain crust up until about 1300m at which point it changed to a wind crust which was a bit demoralizing - things were not looking good for our ski quality. The group in front of us broke trail up until above the steep section at which point we passed them and headed up to the col. We avoided the glacier on the N side of Cypress Pk as the crevasses were wide open. Spent awhile at the col taking photos of a goreous sunny day above the clouds.
Mags wanting us to hurry up
Everything E facing was very wind scoured
Mags wishes she was out for beers in whistler

Mt Garibaldi - Brohm Ridge just out of the clouds photo right

Two Powder Mtn Heli-skiing groups were dropped off near the col when we were there - felt pretty good that we saved the ~$1000 by hiking up ourselves! One of the snowboarders in the group was pretty amazed to see people, let alone a dog up there. There were some tracks off of the W side of the col that looked like there might be better skiing quality so we gave it a go and were pleasantly surprised. If it weren't the eve of Santa's birthday we would have stuck around for a few more laps. The way down was uneventful, back to Squamish to celebrate the turns.....oh and Christmas.

Nice hand drag Cameron

 Floating along...Cypress Peak in Background
Santa's toque just above the powder

Brew Hut photo left just above clouds
Mt Cayley

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