December 31 – January 1, 2015-16
Pemberton / Lillooet Lake Road, BC
Tynemouth Mountain is one of the smaller summits nearby Lizzie Creek Cabin and was the last objective in our 8-day Christmas – New Year trip. After ascending and skiing the south face of the nearby Arrowhead Mountain, Ben and I immediately focused on Tynemouth. Ben had done this peak two years ago around the same time so he knew where to go. Well, there’s not too much of route-finding issue anyway as we’d simply plod up the connecting ridge from near Arrowhead/Tynemouth col.
There’s one steep roll to overcome in order to reach Arrowhead/Tynemouth col (Moraine Pass), and after that we ascended a somewhat rocky ridge all the way to the false summit. There’s some switchbacks required and some place was icy, but all very manageable. The true summit appeared fairly steep from afar.
We ditched the skis at the base of the true summit. Two years ago Alex and Ben did a traverse to the right (still steep), but given the stability I opted to ascend the direct snow arete. There’s some post-holing and some steep stuffs, but mostly fun climbing. And in short order we reached the summit, the 11th bagged in this trip and that put my number at 143 peaks bagged in the year 2015 – something I might never gonna do again.
On the descent I followed Ben down the west slopes. Except for one steep roll that I didn’t quite like, everything else was fast and fun skiing. In no time we were back to Rainbow Lake. Some flats and uphills immediately after the lake but then we managed to carry some speed down the drainage all the way to Long Lake. The rest of the plod across Long Lake and back to the cabin was boring, but at least this’d be last time doing that section.
This was the New Year’s Eve in the cabin and we were surprised to see another group of 3 arriving and after some chatting we realized it’s Richard So and his friends. I’ve previously come across Rich So’s blog and I’m glad to meet him in person. The next morning we all woke up around 6 am. They’d go after Cloudraker following our tracks while we’d ski out (oh the alders)… Rich did inform us that the route we took on the way up wasn’t nearly the most efficient, nor the one Alex and Ben took two years ago. In fact, we should traverse underneath those cliffs way towards skier’s left from the Gate of the Shangari La and then descend a sparsely treed slope.
We did so exactly and it was indeed way better than the summer trail. Back down to near Lizzie Lake we put the skins back on, and the plodding across Lizzie Lake was long and very cold. Back into the alders none of us was looking forward to, but we had to face it. It wasn’t as bad as I remembered from 7 days earlier but that might due to the fact we had a track to follow this time. There’s no more unknown so my mental state was entirely different. I only remembered about 3 or 4 hellish thrash sections and then we were down to that creek crossing. Thank to the recent cold temperatures I even managed to keep the skis on while crossing that skinny log. The rest of the return was fairly fast until the bypass trail where we met another group. We soon realized it’s Adrien and his friend. After saying good luck to them we continued down the trail (with boots and skis on the pack this time), and that’s the end.
Overall this was a very successful trip and my first time ever spending more than 4 days in a single trip in the wilderness. We surely got lucky with weather and conditions otherwise there’s no way we could have knocked these peaks off given how serious the terrain was, and I’m already looking forward to the next big cabin trip in the future. After saying Goodbye to Alan (he’s going directly back to Valemount) we drove back to Vancouver. Checking the forecast the weather was still good for the next two days and avalanche condition was still L/L/L. I seriously needed a rest day but at this point Alex and I had already discussing to put down another major guy on Sunday. But for Saturday we both needed a break and to repair some of our gears, but a break for me wasn’t necessarily “staying home”. And instead, I’d take my parents out for a hike to bag another peak, although a small one…