Cayoosh - January 24 - 26, 2008
Day 2- Cayoosh SW Ridge

Words and pictures by Lee Lau and Sharon Bader unless otherwise noted

Good weather calls for alpine tours. We were out the door and headed for Cayoosh as the morning sun bathed the peak in light. Still an inversion at valley bottom so it was a bit chilly getting going in the morning. We followed the standard route, heading for the small lake WSW of the junction of N and S Cayoosh creek. My original thoughts had been to follow the standard route up the E face then look at the possiblity of skiing off the SW face. Experiences yesterday had showed that the higher alpine would have lots of windslab and SW faces would be sun-affected so we were just going to play this one by ear.

Cayoosh sunrise

Through the clearcut

Following an old skintrack to the lake in the W valley

Getting warm on the E face approach

Silhouettes on the E snowfield ~ photo by Kevin Morrison

Snow was pleasantly good on the E snowfield even though it was really warm. As we got higher on the snowfield, temps dipped a bit. It's relatively easy to spot and give huge cornices growing off the SW ridge a wide berth. By noon we were already approaching the last plateau before the summit. Just to make it more of a tour and to look at the SW ridge we peeled off in that direction.

Up the E snowfield

Approaching the final plateau before the summit - Cayoosh peak in the middle of the picture

Just 200m shy of the summit, it looked like a bootpack on recrystallized windslab. We decided to leave it for another day and take in the views of the SW ridge. Then we descended back the way we came but cut out the traverse back to the small lake. The last few hundred meters of descending was very cool - steep turns on surface hoar. Every turn felt like breaking glass.

View south east to Caspar Ridge and the Blowdown-Gott area in the far distance

View due south to Taylor Ridge and the Heartstrings area of Joffre Lakes

Taking in the view to the Joffre - Matier group~ photo by Kevin Morrison

View looks to the bootpack approach on very firm snow to the final summit push~ photo by Kevin Morrison

Fast snow on the way down

Given that we still had lots of time, we thought we'd try something new and descend SSE facing slopes off the ridge just S of the Cayoosh Creek intersection. This turned out to be a waste of time. Despite the temps at lower elevations being cooler and despite the shade of the trees the snow was really sun-affected and it was quite the effort to pull turns in 10 - 15cms of sun-crust. Thankfully, it was pretty easy to link back to the Cayoosh access road and call it a day.

Lee and Jameson working on crust-bashing - top photo by Kevin Morrison

Cows and reflections

Day 2's route in blue