In the last couple of blog articles you saw the image of Cloudburst Mountain taken from the approach to Tricouni Meadows, and read that I was surprised to see snow at the top of the Cloudburst access road. In Google Earth I thought I could see a better approach through the trees to the skiable snowfields. I really wanted to go and see if my proposal would work. Today (Monday) is a perfect sunny day… and for about a week I knew that this would be the best day to go. But, it is a work day, and it could not be scheduled. So, we went yesterday, Sunday.
As I drove to the ferry my car was washed by a downpour. In Squamish we sat in Horton’s for about an hour until some holes appeared in the sky.
The forecast had promised clearing by noon.
Since the mountain was nearby, we thought we should drive closer and consider our options from there. There were enough splashes of actual sunshine to keep us going until the car was stopped by snow on the road. We parked at the penultimate switchback before the top of the road. So, we didn’t have far to go before we could click into our ski bindings.
Here is the situation. My plan was to make it to the end of the road and find out if it was easy to ski through the band of trees. Then we’d see if there was (as appeared to be the case in Google Earth) a good rising bench across the hill to rejoin the familiar summit route. Click the thumbnail image to see my analysis.
We did walk up the road and skied into the woods. Actually, except for a steep bit of snow right at the road, the line through the forest was not steep and quite short. There was still lots of snow.
The scene as we emerged from the trees was a surprise. Apparently, during last winter, huge avalanches had swept down from the large bowls above, and roared all the way across this meadow smashing trees. As you can see, the promised sunshine had not appeared.
Once out in the meadow, I could see the bench to the summit route (the flat section on the right of the photo). My planned route had us climbing the pitch in the centre of the photo, but it was much easier to ski up through the small trees on the left — that, of course, is the main path of the avalanche.
As we did that, the sun occasionally decided to shine. The hour was now too late to ski to the summit, the weather was variable, and below us was an inviting slope to ski (a little bumpy with suncups). We enjoyed some turns on Cloudburst, and headed for the Howe Sound Brewing Company. If the Google Earth KMZ file is of interest to you, write to me directly and I’ll email it to you. Mention Cloudburst Mountain in the subject.