With a 2 am meeting time Vlad and I both tried to get some prior sleep with poor results (him not much/any, me 1 hour or so) similar to when we did Matier 3 years ago. We stop in Pemberton for gas and coffee for me then continue up Duffey Lake Road to the Cerise Creek Trailhead.
The foot bridge over Cayoosh Creek has a noticeable tilt as we cross by headlamp and continue up the summer trail (no snow/icy/hard and soft snow) with snowshoes going on a little beyond the end of the logging road section. Bypassing Keith's Hut we ascend to Motel 66 and take our first break. Plenty of clouds around early in the morning but the sun is making an appearance.
Me heading up to Motel 66 with Joffre above.
We drop down a little then head up/over to the Anniversary Glacier (in good shape) and follow it up to the Matier/Joffre col. Crampons are on by now and we dump the snowshoes to drop a little following the edge of the Matier Glacier around to the start of the Aussie Couloir. Somewhere around here big flakes of snow fall softly around us. Gazing up the couloir it almost makes things feel festive.
Hartzell, Spetch and Slalok across the Matier Glacier.
Vlad's frowning 'cause the Mountain-Forecast said full sunshine for this area in the morning.
Or he could be frowning as this is what comes next. I'm sure I was a little.
I headed up on pretty hard snow and I've never been able to kick in good steps on stuff like this. I find side footing can work well at times to change things up. My crampons had a hard time staying secured to my boots though and I had to re-adjust a lot and even pause on a 40 degree slope to remove and re-secure. I have a broken antibot on one (front) and I was wearing my old leather boots that have become very pliable to the point of arching.
Part way up.
Vlad plodded away doing fine whilst I went as quick as possible to get to the summit. It wasn't the most enjoyable of climbs but went well enough and I was hoping the sun would come around by the time we were to descend to soften up the snow.
After 350m or so of elevation gain I traverse over to the summit ridge and on to the peak. Other boot tracks up here and it looked like someone had skied down within the past couple of days.
Matier, Hartzell and Spetch.
Vlad nearing the summit. Taylor at left and you can just see Upper Joffre Lake below.
There's a good stiff breeze blowing up here, the snow squall is a distant memory and we are solidly in sunshine but there's plenty of clouds billowing around distant peaks.
2721m summit shot.
Matier with ski tracks.
Vlad retraced his steps to find some shelter from the wind whilst I took a work related phone call, updated FB and drank a Starbucks Frappuccino.
Vlad's shot of me on the summit.
I then followed Vlad and he went a little lower whilst I settled for a nice view with some wind.
Vlad in the upper part of the couloir.
Cayoosh Mountain emerged from the clouds for a brief while.
Matier again with Snowspider middle shot.
Vlad yelled up that he was heading down so I grabbed a few more pictures, checked the status of my crampons and followed him. The sun warmed slopes did help a little and Vlad was kicking in small steps. The problem was that he has long legs and I really had to stretch to reach down into each hole. Slow and steady for me, I had to make a few crampon adjustments but things went okay.
I found the bottom of the couloir the most difficult - with the angle and harder snow along with some scouring from previous slides.
Looking down, Vlad just about visible centre area.
Vlad's shot looking up towards me.
Vlad made good time downwards and took a break.
One last look.
I continued past the sitting Vlad to hike back up to the col wanting to take a break there after getting most of the uphill travel out of the way. More clouds were filling the sky and the wind was staying brisk.
Vlad heading back and Joffre Peak.
It was a toss up for the descent of the Anniversary Glacier to use snowshoes or not. I put them on whilst Vlad decided bum sliding was the way to do things.
He's now way ahead of me.
Vlad with the Anniversary Glacier behind.
We ascended to Motel 66 and take another break. Neither of us are feeling too tired, maybe a little weary. Back near the hut we see 4 skiers then no-one else as we follow the trail back out and across the tilted bridge to reach the vehicle where I drink a Starbucks Doubleshot as I'll be driving us back. The clouds that had been building throughout the day opened up and it poured just after we left the parking area to drive back so our timing was good. A quick stop in Pemberton for more coffee (I was getting tiredly wired by now) then we head for home.
The tilted bridge across Cayoosh Creek. Wire guy cable/handline comes in handy and I hope the spring runoff doesn't undermine things any further.
It was nice to finally cross this one off the list as we bailed on an attempt in 2014 (Scrambles route) due to rock fall (but we did get Hartzell and Spetch instead) and I got out yesterday on a nice bushy hike to break in my new (and stiffer) boots.