Monday, January 3, 2011

Freestyle Snowshoeing to Cloudburst Mountain

After a solid 2 weeks of grey, drizzling weather, the bright blue skies called for a spectacular adventure outdoors. We decided on spectacular views, snow and 4.5 hours of uphill climbing in snowshoes to celebrate the sun (and some much needed Vitamin D). Our destination: Cloudburst Mountain, a single bald dome rising at the end of Squamish Valley, its summit giving 360 degree views of the Sea to Sky corridor - basically, snow-capped mountains as far as the eye can see. Not too bad right!?

As we would be freestyling most of the way, we mapped our route to carry with us on a Garmin Forerunner watch, ensuring that we would reach the ridge that we could then walk on to the summit, thus avoiding any potential avalanche areas.

Our route below (as mapped using Google Earth):

Squamish Valley :

Hiking up a Forest Service Road (FSR) to 1000m:

Starting the Freestyle climbing to get onto the ridge, Squamish Valley behind me:

Snowshoeing through powder snow is hard work, especially uphill (1 step up, 2 steps down...).

Finally out of the tree-line and into the white, alpine stillness. Here the snow was frozen hard on the surface from the wind, making for much easier climbing:

Along the ridge, almost 360 degree views:

Cloudburst Mountain (still at least 2 hours away):

In the end we didn't reach the summit of Cloudburst. Not enough daylight and our late start meant that we turned around after reaching the ridge. Nevertheless, we got our sun, views and enough powder snow to last us though a few more rainy days.