Mt Sproatt 19/12/10

Irina on Mt Sproatt:
“Our hopes for the afternoon clearing were not in vain, as drizzle over Vancouver turned into flurries along the Rainbow Lake trail, and then gave way to patches of blue sky as we were hiking up higher.

The Rainbow Lake trail was easy to follow with multiple ski tracks. The question was: where to turn off west? Last time I was here, we turned off at the 4.5 km mark before the wooden bridge ( This time, we carried on further and turned off at the outhouse. Arriving at the cliff with a massive yellow icicle, we headed up the steep slope. Snowshoes provided us with good traction, but a group of skiers struggled and, after a few unsuccessful attempts at skinning up, took off their skis and were trying to bootpack up. Surprisingly, there were no tracks whatsoever past that point, and we broke trail towards the alpine, in anticipation of open skies.

Soon enough, we were out of the trees! With no apparent peak on the horizon, we continued our way along small ridges in the direction of the GPS-indicated summit. While no signs of avalanche activity were visible, the whoompfing under our feet called for frequent group discussions and conservative ascent lines. Buried below the top 20 cm of loose dry storm snow, was a 5 cm rain crust from the weekend before that was giving way. Arriving at one of the summits 4h 15min after the start, we decided to not go around all four of the seemingly identical bumps in search of the slightly higher one, but instead enjoyed the views of the Armchair Glacier, Wedge Mountain, Whistler and Blackcomb on the other side of the highway. A beautiful winter day!

We were wondering all the while where the skiers disappeared to, and got our answer after descending back into the trees. The untouched snow just above the yellow icicle cliff turned into a maze of ski tracks. The descent was a breeze: took us under 2.5 hrs from the summit to the vehicles, and that’s on snowshoes: would have been much faster on skis! Back before dark and off to the Fish’n’Chips place in Squamish. Excellent team trail-breaking and route-finding discussions made it a safe and enjoyable trip. See mine and Dan’s reports and pictures on Livetrails:”

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