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snowmobile traffic on pemberton to cheakamus #1120
Back To Discussion List Written: 2004.02.19 by: Sandra McGuinness

Would some of the coast range people provide some insight on how much sled traffic we are likely to encounter on a traverse of the Pemberton Icefield and on down the Squamish-Cheakamus divide in late April or May?


#249 - 2004.02.23 Drew Brayshaw - South Creek
Outward Bound - Pemberton takes students in to the Overseer area via South Creek in the summer.

#248 - 2004.02.22 Don Funk - NW end Overseer area
In response to Paul's comments about access to the Overseer area from the south side of the Lillooet River. I've looked back on a few photos taken from previous trips and have recently taken photos from a ski trip up the Lillooet River and Meager Creek. Access to the Overseer/Pemberton Icecap from along Meager Creek is no longer feasible with the bridge out over to the south side of Meager (Unless one can ford the creek early in the season?). I believe Paul is correct about the existance of a road running part way up the east side of the creek, but I don't think it goes too far after examining a photo taken near Capricorn Creek. I could not see any road along the far side here and the terrain looks difficult (the slopes on the far side are quite steep in this vicinity). Access along South Creek is not recommended due to steep side slopes in the valley and avalanche hazard. The ridge to the west of South Creek looks steep on my map to gain, but actual photos reveal that (if one can gain it) travel along it for the majority of the distance to Overseer looks good. The area of the ridge just before Overseer looks quite rugged, and it may be difficult to exit the ridge due to very steep side slopes. As Paul mentions though, it may be possible to drop down before this rugged section to the head of the north branch of South Creek. This may be an interesting route. Another possible access route from this area looks to be along a ridge running NNE from Spidery Peak between two creek drainages which run down to the Lillooet River. There is a cut block and logging roads which provide access part way up the slope. From there, a partially treed and moderately steep slope should provide direct access to this ridge and on to the north side of Spidery Peak. Looks like very little forest travel. It looks doable, but am not sure and avy hazard "may" be a concern in one or more locations. Also gaining Spidery from this ridge may be difficult? If anyone is interested in pictures of this access, feel free to contact me.

#247 - 2004.02.20 Sandra McGuinness - Thanks Paul
Thanks for the information Paul. I did read Lawrence's report with amazement at the stupidity of sled riders. The whole gating thing on the coast is a major p***off for trying to access ski traverse terrain. Thank goodness it hasn't caught on here.

#246 - 2004.02.20 Paul Kubik - NW end- Overseer area
As reported by Don Funk, the Meager bridge is gone. Also, the clowns in the Forest Service are in the habit of keeping the gate on the Upper Lillooet road locked until the May long weekend. Mitch Sulkers reported an extension of the Pemberton Meadows road up the other (south) side of the Lillooet River and part way up Meager Creek. It's a bit short of reaching the hot springs so you'd have to bushwhack a km or two. There was a fair bit of snow on the Meager South Branch in early May last year when I was last up that way. Also, South Creek has been used as an exit but I've checked out the valley bottom route from the end of the South Creek logging road and wouldn't recommend it. It never caught on. The two reports I heard from people who actually did it were not encouraging. What does look intriguing is gaining the long ridge above the SC road on its north side. Relatively steep at the first get-go but do-able I guess, then the ridgeline flattens out completely and goes almost to Overseer before you'd have to drop down to onto the glacier at the head of South Creek (Overseer Glacier?). I've been meaning to check this one out but I'm too scared now to drive the See-and-Die highway.

#245 - 2004.02.19 Paul Kubik - South end
Late April or May you might get lucky and not see anyone up there. Was up near Tricouni and Cypress Peak one weekend day last year in early May. Saw no one just a few old tracks. Generally, as the snow line retreats the snow machines have a harder time getting in. Laurent Mingo saw a head-on collision a couple of years back between two snowmobiles on open water on Callaghan Lake. Both went to the bottom.

#244 - 2004.02.19 Paul Kubik - North end: Mechanized use tapers off
Sandra, one of the most popular approaches is Rutherford FSR. There was some damage last October. A bridge on Hwy 99 at the start of the FSR was destroyed (now replaced with one-lane bridge). Haven't seen a more recent report. Check with the Pemberton Valley Snowmobile Club- they're reasonable folks.

Here's the latest info on the road and snow machine usage. Rutherford Creek FSR: Rutherford Creek road provides access to the Rutherford-Soo divide, Mount Ipsoot, Appa Glacier, Longspur Peak. HowToFollow: The road starts off Highway 99 just north of the Rutherford River bridge. Suitable for 2WD until km 11.8. Heavily used by snowmobiles from January to March. Generally accessible to backcountry skiers when the snow melts back beyond km 11.8, usually late April or early May. This coincides with a drop in usage by snowmobilers. There is an emergency hut built by Pemberton Valley Snowmobile Club enroute to the Appa Glacier. In conjunction with the forest service, the club has built a track from the end of Br 233 to the shelter below the Appa Glacier. Road 233 climbs to 3500ft. The Menzel Memorial Trail begins at the end of Road 233 and provides access to Appa Glacier and Longspur Peak.] It now looks like road 233 is superceded by better access.

This note is from Vito Gudaitas: 2002.09.07 Vito Gudaitis Bridge Out and Trail Out: We hiked up the ridge northeast of Menzel trail to a high point overlooking the lower end of Appa Glacier. On the return we came down to the creek looking for the trail. After thrashing through some of the willow thickets by the creek, we eventually came to the emergency shelter at the end of the trail. The trail looked like it was almost never used by hikers. We followed it back to the creek crossing, where there was no trace of a bridge. The trail appears to be used primarily by bears and deer and is getting overgrown by vegetation. From the creek crossing, which we didn't cross, we followed yellow and red flagging back to our starting point on a new logging road spur that leaves Rutherford Main where it currently terminates, close to km 19. The flagging seems to be marking a future logging road that will provide much more convenient access to the area once the road is built. The Menzel trail route to Appa Glacier is currently almost unusable and not recommended. It is much easier to hike up the ridge as we did on the way up. From the present end of the new spur, it is only about an hour and a half hike to the open meadows on top of the ridge. This new spur has two branches. The upper one terminates close to 3900 ft elevation. The lower one should provide future access to the upper half of Menzel trail, with no need to cross the creek. By the way, we never did find the start of the trail. Branch 233 must depart Rutherford Main somewhere before km 17, since we checked all the roads beyond this point. 1998.06.27 Paul Kubik Snowmobile bridge damaged.: In 1998, we hiked up the trail after the big snows of the La Nina winter. The snowmobiler's bridge was damaged. One of the major stringer logs had cracked. Not sure what the status is in 2002.