Duffey – Steep Creek

Since it was so good the first time around the day before we headed out with the same motley Lilloett crew to look for more Duffy area goodness. Again we found good skiing in N to NW facing aspects. Despite some unexpected cloudy weather and a strange NE blowing lightly the whole day, we managed to get some turns in on slopes that I would normally not ski. Stability was bomber and the Low- Low- Low avalanche forecast was well-deserved. It was a very satisfying way to use good stability and good weather; to tackle some slopes that are typically sketchy and ski them well.

Not much snow in Lilloett to start out the day for Chris.

Our initial plan to drop down a ridge onto ESE facing slopes and tackle a big N facing slope was scuppered by the scattered clouds. There wasn’t enough solar to melt the crust so the ski down in flat light would have not been pleasant. Our skin up NW facing slopes was on such nice snow we decided to hit that same slope and had a nice 800 m shot of boot-top powder on an ego-boosting 35 degree where you could rail turns. Heck of a way to start the day

Just 30kms west and about 2vertical km higher, there is quite a bit more snow. Karl taking in the view

Chris, Lee and Kevin putting their marks on the slope


We’d all been to this area before. Chris, Kevin and I were eyeing up a steep W face that we normally stayed away from due to avalanche danger and the shallow snowpack in the start zone. This seemed as good a day as any to tick this slope off the list.

Group shot on the ridge line while deciding where to ski next

While Karl, Sharon and Chris D skied a steep treed run off the peak down to a lake. Kevin and Chris K and I made our way over to our start point gingerly picking our way around rocks. Kevin took first tracks and it was reassuring to see his tracks – not even sluff coming off the super-stable snowpack. When it was Chris’s turn I was blown away by how aggressively he charged – barely turning on the top steep 50 to 45 degree first pitch then arcing big confident turns down to the lake. Well, it was my turn and quite the run it was. My legs were totally blown by the bottom – dropping a vertical kilometre with a sustained pitch.

Kevin starting the 1,000 m descent of sustained steeps and shots of the line – bottom two pictures ~Chris Kelly

I think all of us were feeling a little bagged from yesterday’s efforts and todays pace but conditions were so good and possibilites were so endless that everyone wanted to go for another lap. Off we went up from the lake and to another N facing slope. We knocked off another 600m of vertical gain before being stymied by some cornices protecting a ridgeline. Then we split up – heading for different ramps and chutes back down to the lake.

Chris admiring our handiwork – turns all the way to the lake

So many choices for our third lap

Sharon on a ramp back to the lake

Chris K, Chris D and Karl ended skiing down the same chute with different styles and results. I still shake my head at Karl’s tumble. He fell so slowly but the fall was so inevitable as he ran his skis into a rock. Tumble, after tumble and all I could do was keep taking pictures – I was too far to do anything else remotely useful.

Chris K charging a chute

Chris D also charging

Karl finds a snow snake

going ….

going ….

gravity now in full control …

Can I rest now?

We ended the day with a total of 1550 m of climbing, this time mostly staying on our skins.

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