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Swift Creek - Old Growth Creek in January
Timestamp Free: 2019.09.18 - 20:33:16
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Garibaldi Ranges
  (1 days)
Participants: Betsy Waddington, Robin Tivy, Greg Stoltmann, Tom Tiedje, Mike Peel, Steve Grant
Difficulty: 3: Level skiing, difficult ditch crossings. Once going up the creek, various problems must be overcome, before a section of easy skiing.
A day trip into a beautiful valley of old growth trees. Lots of effort.
I've done this trip several times. The basic idea is to get out for a day and visit with your friends, and see a beautiful valley. The trip doesn't feature any big slopes to ski, or summits to bag, and its lots of work, but you'll have it to yourself. This route is also an alternative approach to climb Mount Garibaldi as Greg Stoltmann and party did last year. See Swift Creek Route to Mount Garibaldi.

Despite Scott Nelson's road bulletin on the Swift Creek road, warning of the horrendous ditches, open creek, and avalanche area, we again repeated this trip. Its main attractions are a short drive from Vancouver, a low avalanche risk, beautiful country, and no snowmobiles.

We drove north on Highway 99, turned onto the Swift Creek road at the old Tantalus viewpoint marked on the 1:50,000. The lower road was plowed as far as the woodcutters house. Here the woodcutter has a large parking lot. The woodcutters wife came out and was very friendly.

The parking lot is about 480m. Here the snow was 2 feet deep, and just a bit soft. By the time we skied a couple of kilometers, and climbed past the switchbacks to about 800m, the snow was several meters deep, about 30 cm of powder on top of a sometimes breakable crust. Breaking the trail was a huge amount of work. Greg Stoltmann did the lion's share of the trail breaking. The nasty feature of this trip are about 20 ditches that cross the road, and can be scary to cross. Some of the ditches/creeks, you can ski down. On a couple of them, you take off your skis and jump across rocks. This year, with the deep snow, many of the ditches are about 2 meters deep, and almost closed off at the top. The technique for these is to straddle the ditch sideways on skis, and lurch across.

The Swift creek road climbs out of...

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