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Mount Elsay Revisited
Timestamp Free: 2020.09.21 - 06:21:20
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Fannin Range
  (1 days)     Elevation Gain: 1200m
Participants: Klaus Haring
Difficulty: 2: Some very steep trail sections, scrambling over boulders, skiing on avalanche slopes.
A description of various climbs of Mount Elsay, summer and winter.
On a brilliant September day I decided to climb Mount Elsay again. I had done it only once in summer, most of my visits had been on skis. As I descended the Elsay Lake trail I thought back to those trips.

The first time I skied down behind Seymour was just an exploration. I may not have known then that there was a trail, but the only feasible route I found is the one the trail takes. From the junction on the east ridge of Seymour a short steep gully leads to a sloping ledge, running north amongst mature trees. It looks harmless enough in summer, but in winter avalanche snow builds up to the maximum sliding angle. Since any slip there would be irreversible I call it the "Black Hole Traverse". Last winter a snowshoer fell there, triggering a major rescue operation. After the "Black Hole Traverse" the trail switchbacks down a steep boulder field, sometimes referred to as the staircase. In winter many good turns can be had there and if there is enough snow lower down it is possible to ski to the bottom of the open valley above Gopher Lake.

The fist time we tried to ski to Mount Elsay my companion forgot his gloves and when it clouded over it became too cold to ski without mitts. But we got far enough to discover the large open bowl south of the mountain, one of the features that makes this a very worthwhile ski trip. So, the first time I climbed the peak was on New Years Day 1985. I remember driving up the Seymour road before sunrise on a perfectly clear winter day. There had been a big dump of snow a few days earlier and I had skied increasingly steeper slopes in deep powder snow on Mt Strachan the previous days, so I felt conditions would be safe for Mount Elsay. As a last test I climbed the small hill south of the Elsay Lake junction to make a couple turns on...

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