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Steep Peak Ski Tours
Timestamp Free: 2018.12.09 - 17:12:54
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Lillooet Ranges / Brew-Siwhe Group
  (4 days)
Participants: Ryan Fehr, Brett Logan
Difficulty: 3: Steep skiing above the hut. Test slopes for Avalanche danger.
Ski ascent and descent info for the Darkside Lake area
Many friends had whispered about the terrain around Steep Creek, and lo and behold Christmas Holidays came giving Ryan and I the chance to check it out. My annual tradition is to pack for a hut trip the night before the last day of work, then leave immediately when the clock strikes freedom. Being late December, it will be dark. Being 2016, we were right in the middle of an arctic outflow (ice climbers were going mental) and as Ryan and I drove to the Duffey we watched the temperature swing wildly about. -9 in Squamish; -17 in Whistler; -13 in Pemberton; -22 at Cayoosh Pass!; yet only a balmy -15 at Duffey Lake where we parked and laced up our boots.

The route to Darkside Lake and Beeker's Hut follows the Steep Creek FSR for roughly 5km to the road terminus. There are two junctions on route: you stick left at the first major switchback where a spur road wanders right (it is possible to exit via this spur road after skiing "chute 56." Thus, it is common to see tracks regaining the FSR coming from this direction). The second junction comes shortly up the road, this time you stick right and head into an alder-pressed ascent. From the end of the road a trail continues on climber's left of Steep Creek, until a final ascent brings one into the mountain-ringed basin of Darkside Lake.

Said approach took us about 2 hours with frozen nostril hairs and little talking. Moonlight flooded the walls of Darkside Peak as we gained the basin making for a spectacular entrance. We stood out on the frozen lake in awe, dreaming and plotting. We then found the cabin in full swing: a 40th birthday party was taking place (nurses!) and it didn't take us long to warm up and make ourselves at home in the cozy shack.

The forecast called for continuing clear and cold weather for the...

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