December 30, 2015
Pemberton / Lillooet Lake Road, BC
Famine Mountain is the namesake summit on the long Famine Ridge that extends north-eastwards from Cloudraker Mountain. It’s often ascended as a short detour en route to Cloudraker Mountain and that’s exactly what Alan, Alex, Ben and myself did on the Day 6 of our Christmas – New Year ski trip. Two days ago we ascended the nearby Shields Peak and this day we could just follow our own skin tracks saving us lots of time and route-finding in the dark.
A 4 am wake-up all was in the order and we left the hut by 5:30 am. There wasn’t a full moon, but the sky was still bright enough that once reaching Long Lake we no longer needed headlamps anymore. I’ve done many, many alpine starts and this one still felt particularly special under the full night sky. In over an hour we reached the broad Tarn/Shields pass and then turned sharply south contouring around the east flanks of that peak. Around the south corner of Shields Peak we left the tracks and kept a rising traverse line across the south-west side. The Famine/Shields col was soon reached and looking back we got rewarded with some incredible morning views.
The broad NE Ridge of Famine Mountain appeared easy from anywhere but actually quite steep. The slope was also very wind affected – crusty and icy at places. But still, we managed to skin all the way to the summit. Cloudraker Mountain looked massive from there and we all felt excited to the day ahead.
After taking the first break of the day on Famine Mountain we resumed the traverse towards Hanging Mist Peak.