I originally planned this trip for Friday March 3 for 2 nights. However in the week leading to our departure date, multiple waves of storms passed through the South Coast and Sea to Sky area. The avalanche forecast was set at High in the alpine, High at tree line and Considerable below tree line. Since I only had Google earth and a topo map and description to help me with my trip plan, I decided to cancel travel to the hut due to possible exposure to avalanche paths on the route. I rescheduled for the following week instead with a smaller group. I told myself that it was not likely that the same weather pattern would repeat itself identically on the weekend of March 10... and it did.
With a similar avalanche picture, and potentially low visibility and precipitations the group was hesitating to commit to the route. However, on Friday morning, we decided that we would bring tents, so that the hut did not become a fixation in case we would have to cross dangerous terrain beyond our route finding ability. Having plan B in our back packs, we headed in heavy dense snow that clumped under our heels. It took us about 8 hours to get to the hut. We had a bit of an adventure at the first creek crossing. Hmm one person went in and the other escaped the water by a hair. We had David Scanlon's personal notes and with the help of the markers and arrows, found our way past the North West facing avalanche paths of Mt Martin. I had thought that the route was through the thick trees in the saddle but in fact the route climbed on a semi open slope to the right of the edge of the forest. It was somewhat counter intuitive but we headed to a bench we could see straight above us, below a rock band. Once on the bench, we saw an orange marker and a yellow arrow! We were right on course. The bench is a narrow slope of varying steepness, flanked on the right by a rock band and on the left by some old trees and a forest.
There the snow was thick and less dense. Tempting for skiing! But we felt the urge to push to our refuge for the night. We arrived to the bowl in the glow of the late afternoon sunshine. Throughout the day, we experienced snow, rain, wind, blizzard, sun, blue skies. Our arrival was glorious! After resting, drying and eating, we put our skis back on to bask in the moonlight and investigate the terrain above the hut. We saw a lot of slopes we liked... however the terrain is complex, if not very aggressive. There are multiple avalanche paths in the bowl and some careful route finding is required to ski these appealing runs. We took some pictures and returned to the hut for a great night sleep. We had a lazy morning on Saturday and prepared for some more exploring, snow tests and our return to the car. The weather was worsening, so we did not stay too long and did not ski the bowl. It will have to be for another time. Perhaps when the weather is not so warm and a weak layer not looming in the snow pack.
The hut is well planned and has lots of pegs, hooks, shelves and seating. There was over 3m or snow around it, and we had to walk down to the front door, and wear skis to go to the outhouse because otherwise we would have sunk very deep in the snow. The return to the car took 4 hours. Again in sticky snow. These were the longest kilometres of my life! All in all it was an adventure. With fun partners.
PaulK wrote 40 Days Ago (positive)1I'm glad you finally made it Manouane!0 points