Coast – Ski in, Peak 8600 and Boxing Day Ridge

Words by Lee Lau. Pictures by Lee Lau, Sharon Bader and Chris Kelly unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved

This time we were off to a new area in the North Creek region of the Coast Mountains to spend 7 days in the alpine. Weather forecast for the week looked pretty good – the tour in was going to be in unsettled weather but with clearing skies throughout the week. This forecast turned out to be true as we alternated gray and then bluebird over the next few days and then got hit with a nice storm on Day 3 of our trip. This new snow bonded pretty well with underlying layers making for some covered stable skiing conditions for the week.

We were a group of nine skiers who naturally split into a group of 4 (Craig, Kathy, Bryce and Mark) and 5 (Chris D, Chris K, Kevin, Sharon and myself).

After setting up our accomodations for the week, we started with a tour up a nice NW facing glacier with the light shining down on us.


Our trip into the North Creek drainage had some overcast weather with breaking clouds


Unsettled weather on the skintrack broke as we got close to the S col of the glacier and overlooked Sessel (from L to R – Bryce, Mark, Craig, Chris D, Chris K)


Looks good as Kevin skins up to 8600 (scale is so deceiving – he has over 400m to climb from here). Visibility still not too bad as we dig our pit ~both photos Mark Crawford


but it socked in again as we got to the top of Peak 8600 so we descended in a whiteout – bottom two pictures ~Mark Crawford


We climbed from 1560m to about 2650m to a peak at the head of the glacier that is informally called Peak 8600. Unfortunately by the time we had dug a test pit to assess stability (which was pretty good) clouds had descended on us. That was too bad as I had neglected to take any scouting pictures of the valleys to the west of us hoping that the views would get better as we got higher. So we skied off Peak 8600 in a whiteout.

Since the tree skiing looked pretty good we spent the rest of the day exploring.


Lee playing in the powder over the first two days


Chris D


Chris K


Sharon


Kevin


Visibility didn’t get any better for the next few days, with the sun making rare appearances. However a nice cold low front brought a medium sized dump of snow. The 15 to 20 cms that fell was actually 30cms plus in windloaded areas. The treed area off Boxing Day Ridge and the Washing Machine were perfect for wind-loading and good in low visibility. We stuck around there and logged some serious powder pig time. By the third day of skiing powder, it still was pretty filled in.


The aftermath


Day 1′s elevation profile


Day 2′s elevation profile


Day 3′s elevation profile

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