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Mamquam Marathon via Elfin Lakes
Timestamp Free: 2019.09.20 - 12:45:32
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Garibaldi Ranges
  (2 days)     Elevation Gain: 2600m
Participants: Tim Blair, Robin McKillop, Fred Touche
Difficulty: 2: Moderately steep snow, easy scramble
A 2-day trip to the Mamquam Icefield via Elfin Lakes, Mamquam Lake, and Eanastick Meadows. Mamquam Mountain and Delusion Peak were climbed.
If you read the entry about Mamquam Mountain in Bruce Fairley's guide, you will notice that: "A surprising number of parties fail to climb this summit". I wonder if there is a reason for this?!

I happen to be one of the "surprising number of parties" since I've failed to reach this summit more than once. All my previous attempts have been via the Skookum Creek logging roads, but the main road in this drainage hasn't been drivable for at least a decade and a half. Over a roughly 10-km stretch, I remember counting something like 122 water bars. But they're not just regular water bars, they're more like tank traps. Even with a meter snow on the road, the water bars are usually bare in the troughs, making them a pain to ski across. You can never pick up any speed because you're constantly climbing down and over the water bars.

So this time around we were going to circumvent the Skookum Creek logging roads altogether and instead go the long way around through Elfin Lakes and Mamquam Lake, certainly a more esthetic route.

Day 1
We started hiking from the Elfin parking lot at 7:30 am sharp and encountered permanent snow after about 2.5 km. From there it was a straightforward ski along the well beaten path to the Red Heather Hut and then the Elfin Shelter. Our route up the [px]Mamquam1.jpg[c]Mamquam massif[/px] is readily visible along this approach.

As usual we had trouble finding the start of the "road" that leads down to Ring Creek. After clambering through a few gullies we eventually found the road, crossed the avalanche gullies, and skied down a steep gravel bank to [px]RingCreek.jpg[c]Ring Creek[/px].

The snowbridges were still good so we crossed the creek without a hitch and then paralleled the east side of the creek toward Opal Cone. The sun was...

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