Skiing the Joffre Group and Climbing Mt Matier - March 2010

Skiing the Joffre Group and Climbing Mt Matier - March 2010

Rowan, Chris and I took the ferry across to the mainland, and drove up past Whistler and Pemberton to a high point on the Duffy Lake Road. After walking down to Cayoosh Creek, we put our skis on and inched across the new snow covered log bridge. The trail climbed gently along the edge of Cerise Creek, through forest, log cuts and alpine meadows until the land opened to the spectacular alpine views of the Joffre Group. Skirting the moraine wall of the Anniversary Glacier, we climbed up to a small lake and the Keith Flavelle Hut. After a couple of runs off the NE ridge of Mt Joffre, we cooked up a meal and got some shut-eye.

A Nelson couple, Anita and Jason, planned to climb Mount Matier, and we'd decided to tag along. Conditions were perfect, clear sky, stable snow pack, no wind, so we all skinned up towards Joffre, and moved up to the Joffre-Matier Col on the Anniversary Glacier. We were able to skin up to a small saddle high on Matier's NE ridge. We moved onto the northern face, then packed our skis and proceeded to kick steps to the summit ridge. Skirting a thin line between the cornice on our left, and the steep drop to our right, we all attained the summit.

Jason had plans to ski descend the broad western face of Matier, but to do this we had to somehow get down a step or two to the southern ridge. With careful probing, some excellent route finding, and a degree of brave down climbing on questionable and exposed snow, he found an achievable route. We all followed tentatively, each having to boot their own near-vertical ladder down the hoar frosted rocky arrĂȘte to a narrow ridge that led to easier ground. From there we skied one at a time down the 1100 powder filled vertical foot of the western face. Ski traversing back to the Anniversary Glacier, we descended the mellower slopes back to the cabin.

The final day, the three of us climbed to the second and third col of Vantage Mountain's western ridge. Run after run of buttery untracked powder kept smiles on our faces well after we headed back to the cabin. An additional quick run behind the cabin before dinner earned me a solid night's sleep. The cabin had filled during the day, with 25 friendly skiers and all their gear leaving little space to move.

Sunday morning, after a leisurely two coffee breakfast, we took the luge track of a trail back down to the car, and after a couple of drinks at the pub, loaded ourselves back on the ferry to Vancouver Island.

Photos and maps for the trip can be found here.

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