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Howe Sound Crest Ski Traverse
Timestamp Free: 2019.05.21 - 17:01:09
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Britannia Range
  (1 days)
Participants: Paul Kubik, Philip Kubik, dogs Muffy and Linus
Difficulty: 3: Advanced intermediate skiing. Avalanche risk. Route-finding.
Ski traverse from Cypress Bowl to Lions Bay along the Howe Sound Crest.
The Howe Sound Crest ski traverse generally starts at Cypress Bowl and ends at Lions Bay, which necessitates a car shuttle. The best time is probably late in the ski season after a good freeze-thaw cycle. This produces good corn snow for the descent to Lions Bay and minimizes the early season avalanche risk. It is also done in winter when good powder snow conditions predominate. The elevation at Cypress Bowl is around 900m, the high point near 1500m and it is generally possible to ski as low as 700m to Lions Bay. The snow depth is typically 2m to 3m along the route. [px]HSCSki-6.jpg[c]The route from the top of the downhill area.[/px]

On this particular excursion my brother and I started from Cypress Bowl just after the downhill operation closed for the season. We skinned up Collins Run to the top of the upper chair. We continued along the ridge to the west-facing gully separating the lifts from the main summit of Mount Strachan. We skied the [px]HSCSki-5.jpg[c]west gully[/px] which was unfortunately hard and icy in the morning. After a bone-jarring, ski-chattering descent we intersected the Howe Sound Crest Trail between Strachan and St. Marks, which is a wooded bump straddling the trail. The timber on the Crest is never too dense for skiing. There is a short descent off St Marks to the north and hardly worth taking off the skins for. There is a short climb up a broad subalpine ridge to another wooded bump with [px]HSCSki-4.jpg[c]grand overlooks[/px] of Howe Sound. This makes for a good snack stop after a couple of hours of skiing. Some day trippers turn around here because there is a more significant elevation loss to a saddle before climbing up towards Unnecessary Mountain.

The climb up to Unnecessary begins in large timber. The wind here often creates furrows...

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