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Lost Snowshoe on Squeah Mountain
Timestamp Free: 2020.08.08 - 22:49:25
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Cascade Range / Canadian Cascades
  (1 days)
Participants: Fred Touche Snow up to 40 degrees on ascent -- short section of 55 degree snow on descent.
A climb of Squeah Mountain and Squeah N1, using the avalanche prone couloir between these two peak as an ascent route. An alternate gully east of Squeah N1 was used on the descent.
This trip started with a really short but ugly bushwhack from the Coquihalla Highway. But within minutes I was firmly on the Deneau Creek logging, which parallels the highway for a few kilometres before heading north into mysterious terrain at the head of Deneau Creek. The initial bushwhack could have easily been avoided by going in the wrong direction for a few hundred meters, but I really wanted to make this trip as short as possible.

After 2.5 km, I reached the first fork, the [px]Deneau1.jpg[c]Jorgenson branch[/px], where I veered right to continue along the mainline. I encountered snow after another 2 km where I strapped on the snowshoes. At a second branch I went straight and later took a left onto a branch that ends at the head of the valley. The road was overgrown in places but was still [px]Deneau2.jpg[c]easily hikeable[/px].

The branch ends conveniently at a [px]Basin.jpg[c]basin[/px] just east of Squeah Mountain. From the basin, an inviting yet ugly 500-m high gully is squeezed between Squeah Mountain and its first north summit, Squeah N1. The gully looked too steep for snowshoes so I swapped them for crampons before heading up. A major danger was large snow patches clinging to steep terrain on both sides of the gully with water flowing under the snow. This was a recipe for small avalanches tumbling into the gully, triggered by the snow patches collapsing onto the underlying water.

I tried to stay out of the avalanche runnels and move as fast as possible past the lower half of the gully where a side gully on the left had obviously seen a lot avalanche activity. About [px]Gully1.jpg[c]two thirds of the way up[/px], I decided to take a quick break to drink some liquids and swap the ski poles for the ice axe. I dropped my pack at the edge of a moat...

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