Coast – Peak 8600 (again) and Traverse out

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

After a few days of relentless high pressure, three days of 1800m of climbing capped off by a 2120m day, I was pretty much climbed out so it was a sense of relief to get the forecast that clouds would roll in. We decided to skip a Thiassi circumnavigation greybeard deathmarch and stick to finding skiable snow off N – facing slopes. The logical place to get this would be Peak 8600 so we were off again – climbing, climbing away.

Pk 8600 looks close but it isn’t. The black dot is a climber – looks like a stray pixel on screen.

Craig on the ascent route up Boxing Day Ridge from the previous day ~ photo Mark Crawford

Chris approaching the summit. Sharon and Kevin are the black dots on the ridgeline approach about 100m lower.

We took a slightly different route just to mix it up. It didn’t make the climb any easier. Unfortunately wind and warming temps had somewhat affected skiing conditions for the worse so the snow was now a bit punched up high. Conditions did get better as we dropped lower so we contoured over to Boxing Day Ridge and finished up by skiing out our favorite line down the Washing Machine.

Chris D on the Pk of 8600

Chris K dropping in below the summit cornice

Chris D starting the 1200 m descent

Chris K

Kevin chasing Chris K

Sharon on the lower slopes as we contoured over to the Washing Machine

Kevin taking the last run down the Washing Machine

Hell of a rest day. We still ended with about 1450m of ascending but at least we had time to scarf all our spare food in preparation for skiing out tomorrow.

Ah the ski-out. Quite the way to complete a trip. Chris K, Chris D, Kevin and I had planned on taking 2 days to ski out, possibly bagging a few summits on the way and traversing out via North Creek and the Boomerang Glacier. Peasoup fog at the top of North Creek forced a change of plans. The prospect of spending a night in a 2 person tent with Chris and Kevin made a fast one day ski-out look like a good idea.

No visibility on the glacier col

View of Castle Greyskull on the Hurley skiout

N face of Samson

N face of Faceless

Exiting via the Hurley isn’t complicated. We were about 4 hours from the N Creek col to the junction of the Hurley drainage and the Hurley mainline. This is where it got ugly as the flat to slightly uphill section to Railroad Pass meant that we had skate-ski with our overnight packs about 8km before the road started inclining downhill. This was a low point for me personally and I was thinking about strangling small animals many times as I made my way up to that godamn pass.

Not doing a good job of preserving snow bridge integrity for the trailing group

Road-tucking the Hurley FSR down to the Lilloett river

The last 25kms was a combination of downhill and then ends with a flat 6km skate-ski on a road. We left our camp at 8.30 am and were back at our vehicles at 6pm for a total of 9.5 hours to exit over about 46kms of distance.

Joy and comfy shoes

Post – tour liner disinfection – bleach and water recommended

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