Blowdown Peak

December 28, 2020

2306m

Steep Creek / Duffey Lake Road, BC

My last and the only previous time checking out Steep Creek drainage was in December 2016 when I soloed “Steep Peak” on skis and ever since then, posts about this area had gone viral on Social Media. These days it’s difficult to even find a parking spot on a sunny weekend. “Blowdown Peak” is another unofficially-named peak accessed via the logging roads in Steep Creek drainage. It’s a little bit shorter than “Steep Peak” but offers equally good skiing potential. Unlike 4 years ago I’m no longer interested in skiing anymore but I’ve found more friends interested in snowshoeing in the South Coast. The plan to take advantage of the last sunny day of 2020 among Al, Mel, Jenn and myself was then easily made. We had to be honest that “Blowdown Peak” was not the most exciting objective out there but none of us was particularly motivated about a huge day of sufferfest, so we settled on this relatively Type 1 fun kind of outing.

I decided to drive out separately because I had more free time and wanted to make some use of the following day as well. The weather forecast indicated a clearing trend throughout the day so we opted to start relatively late. The cost for that decision was about an hour’s delay on Sea to Sky Highway thank to a fairly major accident that closed both directions of traffic. While driving up the Duffey Lake Road I noticed every single parking lot (Cayoosh, Cerise Creek, etc) reaching full capacity despite that this was rather a Monday. I worried about the parking situation for us. The main plowed lot was indeed full, but we did manage to park the two vehicles there without blocking the highway.

Blowdown Peak via Steep Creek. GPX DL

The hike started by passing a large group of skiers and splitborders. A few long and boring switchbacks later we came to the junction where the majority of the hordes would pick the skinner right hand fork (towards Darkside Lake and Steep Peak). I thought the trail-breaking game would begin for us but it seemed like the snowmobilers had gone the left side branch and we greatly appreciated that. Another while of boring plodding later we were at the road’s end in a massive cutblock, happy to see three parked snowmobiles and a well-defined set of skin tracks leading towards the direction we wanted. Apparently Blowdown Peak is more popular than what the internet and Social Media suggests. After a quick break we plodded onwards following the skin tracks exiting the cut-block then into the mature forest. This forested stretch soon came to an end as we came to the broad bowl under Blowdown Peak’s west slopes.

Mel plodding up Steep Creek FSR. It was a boring hour at the start…

Duffey Lake was still not completely frozen over

Al and Jenn plodding up with some rugged peaks behind

Entering the forest at the end of the FSR.

Blowdown Peak and the avi chute that we ended up descending

We were able to see ski tracks on the massive avalanche chutes of Blowdown Peak’s west faces and tentatively made some plans to descend one of those chutes depends on conditions and our on-field observations. The ascent would still be done via the standard route aiming for the col south of the summit. The skiers were apparently having the same strategy so we had a nice set of skin tracks to plod on, all the way to the col on the low point of Blowdown Peak’s south ridge. The ascent to the col involved one steep slope for about 50 vertical meters. We took a longer break reaching the col because we were finally in the sunshine.

Al and Jenn plodding up the foreshortened valley

Mel following the skin track on an unnecessarily long traverse pitch

Al and Jenn following the skin tracks up. Almost at the col

Mel on the col now with “Moomin Peak” behind

The skin tracks continued up the south ridge of Blowdown Peak towards the summit and we were happy about that. For once in a while we would appreciate a trip without trail-breaking effort. The terrain was mellow but scenic on the south ridge but became a bit bony towards the top. The skiers didn’t make the summit so we still had to break some trail for about 100 vertical meters. The views were pretty neat on the summit so we did a long stay on the top.

This is an unnamed peak in Blowdown Creek drainage

Mel charging up the south ridge of Blowdown Peak

More about Mel on the south ridge of Blowdown Peak

Our tracks on the ridge

Looking down at Duffey Lake from high up on the south ridge

Al and Jenn coming up

Al and Jenn look tiny in the terrain

One more photo of Al and Jenn approaching the summit

An obligatory shot of the canons on the summit of Blowdown Peak

Me taking in the views. Photo by Mel O.

Me wondering around the summit to find the best spots for photos. Photo by Mel O.

Partial Summit Panorama from Blowdown Peak. Click to view large size.

Pretty impressive to see the shadow of Blowdown Peak here

“Hurley Silver Mine Peak” in the foreground

“Eyeore Peak” in foreground with “Tigger Peak” behind

Another photo of “Moomin Peak”

Mt. Matier, Mt. Howard and Joffre Peak behind the canon

Mt. Marriott is the one with a dark face at center background

“Channel Peak” shows its white faces

“Elusive Peak” and Skihist Mtn. showed up behind the headwaters of Blowdown Creek

Me on the summit with Duffey Lake behind

The broad peak at center shot is “Windfall Peak”

Me with Blowdown Creek behind

Our group shot on the summit of “Blowdown Peak”

Mel and I made sure we tagged the true summit.. Photo by Alan B.

On the descent we went down the south ridge to where the previous skiers stopped and then took the southern of the two avalanche chutes plunging down. I anticipated some fun plunging and maybe even glissading but the snow conditions were a bit on the heavy side. My quads were tired out after trying to glide on snowshoes. Mel tried to glissade on butts but were barely able to move. Eventually we just opted to plunge-step. In short time the fun parts were over. We picked up a set of skin tracks at the bottom of the run but soon realized that track was going uphill, so we bailed down on our own through some tight forest to rejoin the main track. The rest of the descent back to the truck was uneventful but boring.

Time to head down

Guys and gals plodding down the ridge

Mel on her try to glissade the big avi path

Mel gliding slowly with the late afternoon sun

Mel’s still trying to glide…

No more gliding. We all just plunged instead

Partway down the slope. Looking back..

Finishing the slide path run

The rugged ridge/peak is unnamed

Mel descending with “Hurley Silver Mine Peak” ahead

Duffey Lake and part of Mt. Rohr

The evening colour at the end of the day

We lingered at the trail-head for over an hour socializing before departing each’s own way. The other guys drove back home while I drove down the icy and windy road towards Lillooet for my next trip.