Famine Mountain

December 30, 2015

2054m

Lizzie Creek / 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.

Famine Mountain ski ascent route

Famine Mountain ski ascent route. GPX DL

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.

Snow Pillow Peak and the morning colours on the horizon

Snow Pillow Peak and the morning colours on the horizon

Alex traversing towards Famine/Shields col

Alex traversing towards Famine/Shields col

Looking back at the big traverse we just did

Looking back at the big traverse we just did

Alpenglow on McBride Range peaks

Alpenglow on McBride Range peaks

Alpenglow and moon set on Famine Mountain

Alpenglow and moon set on Famine Mountain

Sunrise time!

Sunrise time!

Famine Mountain

Famine Mountain

Alan skinning up towards the col. There's some micro terrain around here

Alan skinning up towards the col. There’s some micro terrain around here

Looking towards Shields Peak

Looking towards Shields Peak

One of my favourite photos from this trip

One of my favourite photos from this trip

Full on morning colours made some spectacular moments

Full on morning colours made some spectacular moments

Alan approaching the col

Alan approaching the col

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.

Skinning up the broad NE Ridge

Skinning up the broad NE Ridge

Cloudraker Mountain and the rest of the route from the summit

Cloudraker Mountain and the rest of the route from the summit

A closer look at Cloudraker Mountain. We climbed the face in shade

A closer look at Cloudraker Mountain. We climbed the face in shade

The long SE Ridge of Cloudraker also offers a route up (from Rogers Creek FSR)

The long SE Ridge of Cloudraker also offers a route up (from Rogers Creek FSR)

Mt. James Turner and Wedge Mountain loom behind

Mt. James Turner and Wedge Mountain loom behind

Looking towards Hibachi Ridge and Mt. Currie area

Looking towards Hibachi Ridge and Mt. Currie area

And, looking northwards into a sea of peaks

And, looking northwards into a sea of peaks

The Joffre Group

The Joffre Group

Me on the summit of Famine Mountain

Me on the summit of Famine Mountain

After taking the first break of the day on Famine Mountain we resumed the traverse towards Hanging Mist Peak.

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