Alastair joined me for another trip up Duffey Lake Road. We parked at the start of Channel Creek Road (between Blowdown and Gott Creek Roads) and at a starting elevation of around 1000m we walked up it for about 4km on crunchy snow.
The clouds had lifted to leave us with plenty of sun and mild temperatures. Crossing Channel Creek for the second time we left the road and headed into mature forest. Soft powdery snow here had us put on our snowshoes and we wandered through the trees aiming for the lower lake (there is a flagged trail but we didn't see it).
Southeast was the right direction but we went a little too south and started to head into the West Channel Creek Valley. Fortunately, Alastair realized this quite quickly and we backtracked for a few minutes and soon broke out of the forest at the lower lake (elevation of 1740m). From there we crossed the lake and headed back into the trees and after one short steep ascent things started to open up.
The broad southwest slopes of Channel Peak were right above us and we watched a couple of good sized avalanches rumble down some lower gullies. Tigger was still a long way off and Channel being right above us had me ponder an ascent of that instead. Alastair soon talked me out of it with promises of a very aesthetic route to Tigger compared to a straight up slog on Channel.
Onwards we went emerging into a broad open area and finally a view of Tigger (still a long ways off).
Here it is. Upper lake is out of shot left.
One steepish section later (treed area left side of above picture) we get to the upper lake (elevation of 1980m) and more of the mountain is in view along with our approach route to a still hidden upper valley that leads to near summit.
Looking up the open southern slopes of Channel Peak.
Alastair taking a break, the upper lake and Tigger Peak. I've marked the hidden valley and our approach to it is at the left edge of shot.
Off goes Alastair and I follow. We split the trail breaking duties pretty evenly with me scrambling to catch up at times due to picture taking. From the lake we ascend to a small bump, go over that and enter the valley heading westward.
Ascending slopes above the lake.
Looking back down at the upper lake from the small bump with Channel Peak rising above.
Alastair motoring along in the valley.
I had to agree that things were really aesthetic and I was quite enjoying myself. It had taken some time to get here and we still had 400m of elevation to go but I didn't want to be anywhere else right then. The jagged ridge that joins Tigger to Channel didn't look too pleasant from this angle though.
Trying to catch up with Alastair. Jagged ridge at left.
Nearing the end of the valley. We'll be going right to exit it.
A rising traverse got us out of the valley and onto the east face of the peak.
Looking back with Elusive Peak rising above the jagged ridge.
Summit fever kicked in now and we burned (kind of) up the last 150m elevation to reach the peak nearly 7 hours after we started. Some great views greeted us and we spent 40 minutes up top enjoying them.
1. Looking back down our ascent route. Elusive at rear.
2. Southwestern view. The sub peak of Tigger nearby. Blowdown Peak is centre area of shot with The Joffre Group behind it.
3. 2625m summit shot.
4. Zooming to the northeast on the Mount Brew area.
5. And a look back down to where we came from. The upper lake and Channel Peak (NNE aspect).
Time was getting on and we figured it would be dark by the time we got back to the vehicle. Off went Alastair and I grabbed a few more shots and followed.
Southern view towards Moomin Peak(s) and the ridge leading to Gott Peak (centre left of shot).
We dropped straight down into the upper valley this time which had some good sliding, but I somehow managed to catch the back of my snowshoe on my iceaxe which was attached to the back of my pack. It was hard to reach around and unhook it. With Alastair making good time it gave me a chance to get a few shots of him with some nice backdrops.
Like this (that's Channel Peak in case you didn't know
A more direct route was taken back down to the lake which went well.
The direct route and Alastair way below. You should know the peak in the background by now.
Looking back up at Tigger from the upper lake.
Retracing our steps we heading back down in nice evening light with a few good views left here and there.
Near the bottom of the steepish section below the upper lake. Tigger above.
Back at the lower lake we took one last break and then left our trail to take a more direct route down staying near the creek. Some steep parts and a bent over ninja tree that when I stood on it sprang me through the air to crash heavily in the snow[}
]. Further on we picked up some flagging and followed it back out to the logging road.
The sun was setting by now, but no need for lamps as we soon made it back down to the vehicle in less than half the time it took on the ascent. For Alastair, he got the views denied him when doing this trip last year with CraigS and Enibas. For me I got up a new peak and we both agreed this was another great day in the mountains.
Total time was just over 10.5 hours with an elevation gain of 1625m and the new 1/3 pound Angus Burger at MacDonalds in Pemberton went down very well
Map of route.
An idea of the ridge leading from Tigger (at right) towards Channel. Channel looked like a steep slog straight up from just before the upper lake.
Here's a shot of Tigger from Elusive (Oct 2010). You can see the "hidden" valley leading up to the summit (directly below it).