British Columbia is big, open, expansive and sometimes unspoiled place. I wrote "sometimes" because today I wanted to spoil a place rarely visited but this is what happen when I am sitting on my coach on Friday nights with nothing to do.
And here I am, once again in the Cayoosh Range, a popular area with mountaineers of all abilities and with backcountry skiers.
Park opposite to the work sheds 4 kms north of Joffre Lakes
Last time when I visited Anniversary Glacier I thought how great the views of the Joffre Group (where Mount Matier and Joffre Peak are the most dominant and popular peaks) should be from the opposite side.
So this is the route that I imagined the night before, very short for backcountry skiers, very steep and strenuous for snowshoeing. After my intended stop point you go into avalanche terrain.
The imagined route
Since the very begginning I started to gain elevation and before going deep into the forest I had a last view of Cayoosh Mountain. Pronounced "Ki-oosh", "i" as in "I am a climber". "oosh" as in "whoosh, the sound of an avalanche". Cayoosh Mountain is a large partially glaciated peak. It is not the highest peak in the Cayoosh range, both Marriot Peak and Mount Seton are higher.
Cayoosh Mountain - East Slopes
2561 m (8042 ft)
What a steep hill, in some points I was forced to make "kick steps" (kicking the toes of the shoes into the snow to create some kind of snow stairs). In other parts I did sidesteps but most of the time I used the herringbone technique (walking uphill with the shoes spread outward at an angle to increase their support)
Finally I made it to the ridge. I am going to give you a 360 degrees tour going clockwise. Let's start with Cayoosh Mountain. Cayoosh Mountain can have large cornices which can be accidentally set off to come whooshing down on the eastern approaches. In general, once east of the divide, the snow becomes drier and more prone to avalanches, requiring more caution. In 02-01-2004 Chris Romeskie from Whistler died when traversing a steep alpine ridge on the north side of Cayoosh Mountain when the snow underneath him gave way triggering an avalanche, he fell off a 120-metres cliff along with a significant amount of snow.
The clearcut has two deactivated roads used by snowshoers and backcountry skiers. If doing snowshoeing down there, it is only 6 kilometres on a gentle hill with nice views of the Joffre Group, for more information check my link for "Cayoosh Pass".
More views of Cayoosh Mountain
Going clockwise you have more views of the Cayoosh Range, the northernmost section of the Lillooet Ranges, which are a subrange of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains in British Columbia.
The peak on the left that reminds me a nice part of the female body is called Mount Marriott and is the second-highest peak in the Cayoosh Range. It is not named for the hotel-empire family of the same name but for an RCAF officer who was killed in action in World War II.
On the lower right it is frozen lake and that area is better know as Marriott Meadows. From the upper lake you can reach the Wendy Thompson Memorial Hut
Mount Marriott (2735 m - 8973 ft) on the left and and Marriott Meadows on the lower right
Then behind the ridge you can see Mount Rohr. Father Victor Rohr was the Oblate missionary to the Indians in the region between Skookumchuck and Williams Lake in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The peak was named by Father Damasus Payne OSB, who climbed extensively, and died in 1978 on Golden Ears.
Mount Rohr (2423 m - 7949 ft) on the right side
At this point you have views of the ridge going towards Rohr Lake. I have read tales of people doing transverse along the ridges, but I am wondering how many have tried this one?
Wind direction is one of the many causes of avalanche. Here you can see an example of this, wind usually blows up one side of a slope or mountain (the windward side), and down the other (the leeward side). Blowing up the windward slope, wind will "scour" snow off the surface, carry it over the summit, and deposit it on the leeward side. What this does is pack snow unevenly on the leeward side, making it more prone to avalanche. A cornice or icy overhang at the top of a mountain or ridge is a telltale sign of wind scouring. It is safer to travel on the back, or windward side of such a slope, where the snow layer is thinner and wind-packed.
In my case I prefer to stay where I was.
Cayoosh is a variation of Cayuse, the native name for Pony. One story is that a native was riding his horse from Mount Currie to Lillooet and the horse dropped dead at Cayoosh Creek. Once the creek had that name, the name Cayoosh was applied to the peak at the head of the creek, in this case Cayoosh Mountain.
Let's keep going. On the other side of the valley I was able to see Mt Matier. Mt Matier is a fine peak offering a number of fine snow and rock routes encompassing a variety of moderate to easy grades. Summit views are wide ranging, as this is the highest peak in the Joffre Group. Likewise, Matier is a landmark peak which can be seen from many other summits in the range, and picked out from a considerable distance.
Mount Matier (2783 m - 9131 ft)
This peak was originally called "Anniversary Peak" by the first ascent party, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the BCMC (British Columbia Mountaineering Club). However, that name was rejected because it referred to a specific organization. The final name was "Mount Matier". a French General
The tour finish with some views of Duffey Lake Road. This is a former logging road paved in 1991. as part of Highway #99. Prior to the opening of the Duffey Lake Road in 1991, the only other way to travel to Lillooet for two wheel drive vehicles was by using two Forest Service roads to northeast Gold Bridge and then traveling east to Lillooet on the Bridge River Road.
1. Elev: 1283m N 50:23.239' W 122:27.722'
2. Elev: 1387m N 50:23.483' W 122:27.723'
3. Elev: 1459m N 50:23.592' W 122:27.706'
4. Elev: 1534m N 50:23.660' W 122:27.620'
5. Elev: 1599m N 50:23.708' W 122:27.526'
6. Elev: 1647m N 50:23.755' W 122:27.483'
7. Elev: 1703m N 50:23.821' W 122:27.449'
8. Elev: 1875m N 50:23.917' W 122:27.275'
9. Elev: 1985m N 50:23.992' W 122:27.129'
10. Elev: 2045m N 50:23.987' W 122:26.984'
Roundtrip length: 4.6 km (2.88 miles)
Time: 5.0 hours
Elevation gain : 763 meters (2500 ft)
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Driving distance from Vancouver: 180 km (113 miles)