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In Search of the Secret Powder Stashes: Sproatt Mountain from Alta Lake
Timestamp Free: 2020.05.31 - 14:14:42
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges
  (1 days)
Participants: Fred Bjork; Mitch Sulkers
Difficulty: 3: NTD. Be aware of avalanche danger. Expect to work to gain altitude, as this area will rarely have a trail broken into it.
Mt. Sproatt sits west of Whistler Village and Alta Lake and manages to influence local systems into dropping sweet stashes of powder before they hit Whistler or Blackcomb Mountains.
[photo]SproattSouth2.jpg[caption]From Western Outlier of Mt. Sproatt Looking South[/photo]

Originally scheduled as an Alpine Club trip from 21 Mile Creek for the 19th, three weeks of solar energy and precious few clouds led to a last minute postponement until February 26th. In the week before the trip, the clouds finally rumbled in, and, by trip day eve, at least 55cm of storm snow, driven by some terrific winds (up to 160km in the alpine) had fallen on the local mountains at temperatures as low as -15 Celsius. The stage was set; it would be worth making the climb to the secret powder stashes.

Saturday morning dawned with wet snow falling moderately in the valley. Most interested parties made a B-line for the lifts; Fred and I did not waffle for we knew there was powder to be had. [photo]JohnPowder1.jpg[caption]John A. Macdonald in the Secret Stashes[/photo]

The climb up the lower summer hiking trail was beautiful, but very warm, with about 25cm of unbroken, rapidly warming storm snow under foot. We had liberally waxed our skins with Glopstopper, but even so, we made part of the journey on high heels. As is customary, we made the normal fiasco of leaving the last part of the summer trail where it switchbacks through an old clearcut because I knew a better route. By now, the sun had come out strongly--so much for forecasts--and the smaller trees were cascading their storm snow as we sought the quickest route to the old growth. The trick was not to be caught in an avalanche while passing under a tree, since the sun had forced us to strip to unseasonably light layers. Of course, as we reached the old growth, we took one last look back across the valley. The summits of Blackcomb and Whistler were both bathed in sunlight, the winds from last night had clearly...

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