Mount Chief Pascall

January 10, 2016

2204m

Pemberton / Duffey Lake Road, BC

Mt. Chief Pascall, the northernmost summit in Joffre Group, is more like a “baby” comparing to the nearby giants, although fairly impressively looking from Duffey Lake Road. It does boast some good skiing routes on the north slopes in good condition so after a tiring ascent of Slalok’s North Face Alex, Ben and myself figured it’s the time to eventually knock this peak off our list. They had been wishing to do this one on skis for a long while but given the shortness of the ascent it wasn’t easy to justify the long drive. We car-camped at the parking lot and that wasn’t a pleasant experience. The night was cold and the morning was very miserable packing all the wet gears. Fight the temptation of being lazy was tough but we did manage to get going by a reasonable time.

Mt. Chief Pascall ski ascent route

Mt. Chief Pascall ski ascent route. GPX DL

We followed a set of skin tracks down and across Cayoosh Creek on a good log, then up the other side for a while until intersecting the old logging road. The next hour or so was spent skinning up this logging road due east and the place we aimed at was the direct avalanche path of the north bowl. The road had at least 15-20 major ditches which were fun to cross initially, but got tedious soon. The path wasn’t easy to locate even with the help of GPS, but we did spot a set of down-tracks so followed them into the forest. There was some dense bushwhacking for a while but the terrain opened up soon. But then we lost the tracks somehow so just picked our own route through the forest. Another hour or so later we came across the skin tracks just below the NW Ridge.

Road slog in the morning

Road slog in the morning

More road slog...

More road slog…

And, more...

And, more…

Skinning up through the forest

Skinning up through the forest

Good view of Mt. Rohr which I bagged last month, solo

Good view of Mt. Rohr which I bagged last month, solo

Coming out of the trees and onto this boulder field

Coming out of the trees and onto this boulder field

We easily followed the skin tracks to the NW Ridge and then followed the ridge up. There’s one steep section that we overcame by a few tight switchbacks then we were on the first summit. The true summit appeared blocky with lots of boulders poking through so most skiers didn’t bother to ascend. That’s unacceptable to us though so we skin’d up for as far as we could before boot-packing the rest.

Following the skin tracks up

Following the skin tracks up

Cresting the NW Ridge, looking back

Cresting the NW Ridge, looking back

The skin tracks continued up

The skin tracks continued up

The typical terrain on the NW Ridge

The typical terrain on the NW Ridge

Joffre Peak came into view, unfortunately directly behind the sun...

Joffre Peak came into view, unfortunately directly behind the sun…

Looking over Joffre's shoulder

Looking over Joffre’s shoulder

The final rise to the summit

The final rise to the summit

Looking down into the north bowl that we'd ski

Looking down into the north bowl that we’d ski

Can't get rid of these views!

Can’t get rid of these views!

The boot-packing was a little bit arduous but not too bad in general. We didn’t discover many deep holes (although there were a few). The true true summit was one big boulder that involved a strenuous move to climb with a bit of exposure down the north side. Another summit boulder at about 20 m down the ridge appeared to have the same height but since I’d read Simon’s trip report on ClubTread I knew we didn’t have to traverse there (which was good as the ridge looked fairly difficult in winter conditions).

Time to boot-pack

Time to boot-pack

Marching up

Marching up

The true summit in sight

The true summit in sight

Looking down into the north bowl. There'd be some nice skiing waiting for us!

Looking down into the north bowl. There’d be some nice skiing waiting for us!

Summit Panorama minus Joffre. Click to view large size.

Summit Panorama minus Joffre. Click to view large size.

Looking towards Mt. Duke and Snowspider Mountain

Looking towards Mt. Duke and Snowspider Mountain

The North Face of Joffre Peak

The North Face of Joffre Peak

Mt. Caspar can also be done in winter

Mt. Caspar can also be done in winter

Looking down at Duffey Lake

Looking down at Duffey Lake

The summit of Mt. Rohr

The summit of Mt. Rohr

Saxifrage Mountain

Saxifrage Peak

Cayoosh Mountain

Cayoosh Mountain

Mt. Marriott

Mt. Marriott

Ben on the summit boulder

Ben on the summit boulder

The views were pretty good but unfortunately the North Face of Joffre Peak was directly under the sunbeam so we didn’t get a good lighting for that one, but that’s acceptable. Boot-packing down the slope was surely easier as we just plunged down the snow (discovering more holes though). And then it’s time to ski off the north bowl. The snow condition was a lot better than on Slalok and I could make lots of easy turns on the powder. Lower down I had to pay extra attention to avoid the icy bumps created by the previous skiers but still pretty decent. The tree skiing was fun initially but got challenging near the bottom, but at least short-lived, and then it came the final tedious 1-hour slog back along the logging road.

Time to head home...

Time to head home…

Negotiating the snow covered boulders

Negotiating the snow covered boulders

Following our own boot tracks

Following our own boot tracks

Another group was still going up.

Another group was still going up.

Skiing into the north bowl

Skiing into the north bowl

Good snow

Good snow

Into the bowl

Into the bowl

Looking back. It's a good run

Looking back. It’s a good run

One last look at Mt. Rohr

One last look at Mt. Rohr

This avalanche path offered a run avoiding the forest

This avalanche path offered a run avoiding the forest

Still a bit of bush skiing near the end.

Still a bit of bush skiing near the end.

Back to the road slog...

Back to the road slog…

Ditches, ditches, ditches,....,...

Ditches, ditches, ditches,….,…

Finally made back to the parking lot. It's a super duper busy place.

Finally made back to the parking lot. It’s a super duper busy place.

Now it’s time to drive home. Unfortunately we once again timed ourselves badly. We came through Whistler by around 4:30 pm and that’s horrible for the traffics, but at least I was not driving this time… Overall this was a great weekend spent on the Duffey. The views were super good but felt a bit monotonous given the number of trips I did in the same area in a roll, but I can’t complain about the bluebird weather. I do have to say that the weather forecast screwed up once again. Had we known it’s a definite bluebird weekend then I should say that the N. Face of Slalok + Chief Pascall felt a bit lack of ambition and we should have knocked a major one off Squamish’s skyline, but oh well…

 

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