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Exploring Powder Mountain from the West Part 2 Gendarme
Timestamp Free: 2018.12.12 - 18:53:45
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges
(3 days) Elevation Gain: 3300m
Participants: Brian?, Klaus Haring
Difficulty: 2: Tree skiing and glacier travel
Two ski loops on the Powder icecap.
In February 1980 I skied up Powder SW2 from the Squamish river. Later when I looked at my slides I was intrigued with a photo of the westside of Mount
Cayley. See Exploring Powder Mountain from the West Part 1 Reconnaissance for photos.
It looked like it might be a feasible snow climb. So the next year I put it on the
Alpine Club schedule for Easter. Easter was late that year and only one guy signed up.
The forecast was for a perfect weekend and Good Friday morning we drove up the
verdant green Squamish Valley. In one place we saw a group of Asians in camouflage
clothing with what looked like assault rifles. Where we in Vietnam? When we drove up
my spur road we soon were stopped by a small landslide or debris flow about where I
had left the road before. There was not a speck of snow visible in the clearcut and the
bare logging slash didn't look attractive for carrying skis up, so we began hoofing it
along the road. We had to walk at least 5km before we found continuos snow, then the snowpack became deeper quickly.
When we reached the meadow we had another disappointment. It was bisected by a
creek flowing between 2m high snow banks. Places like that are difficult to cross. There
were no snow bridges in sight, only one spot where the snow sloped gently to the
waters edge. We made our camp there and began to engineer a crossing.
[photo]img682.jpg[caption]The bridge under construction[/photo]
flowed shallow between small stepping stones. At the narrowest place we somehow managed to cut a large snow block from the far
side. When it fell into the gap it bridged most of it. We shoveled more snow on it and
made a connecting causeway. The original plan was to cut a trench straight up, flat
enough to skin up. However the snow was...
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