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Climbing Joffre's Australian Couloir
Timestamp Free: 2020.03.31 - 16:05:15
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Lillooet Ranges / Joffre Group
  (2 days)
Participants: Gareth Evans, Cory Hocking, Chris Hobbs
Difficulty: 4: 4th Class, PD+ An early start made for great snow conditions. Our team felt no need to rope up.
A spring climb of Joffre Peak via the Australian Couloir (Southwest Gully).
Cory and Hobbs picked me up early Saturday; I slept in the back of the truck as we made the drive from Vancouver to Pemberton and on to the Joffre Lakes trail head. We began hiking around noon on a trail that was a mix of mud, roots and old, soft snow. We passed a couple of day hikers at the 3rd lake, who looked at us a little funny when they heard we intended to camp on the glacier, but were apparently too polite to say anything. After a quick snack we began to [px]route-glacier.jpg[c]climb up[/px] past glacial debris to the north of the icefall - more mushy snow and heavy packs made for a tough haul but as always once we came up under the icefall the views were good compensation.

We finally came up onto the glacier and quickly set up camp and sat back to relax, make some food and drink a little wine. A skier appeared from below us - followed by two others - arriving on the glacier to set up camp with plans to ski Mount Slalock the next day.

We had an early night under bright stars, but as we settled into bed the clouds were gathering and the wind was picking up. After years of heavy but bombproof comfort in my Trango Assault 4-season tent, I had decided to give 'ultralight' a try, and was spending the night in my new MSR Microzoid - essentially a little nylon & mesh coffin. I was a little nervous as the wind whipped around but other than a little spindrift buildup on the mesh I was very comfortable that night, and the wind passed easily overhead.

We woke up at about 4:30, and with a series of painful contortions, I managed to get completely dressed inside my sleeping bag. Just after 5:00 we roped up for the short jaunt along Joffre's flank to the base of the couloir. Broken cloud cover was blowing in - Matier was completely invisible, while...

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