January 27, 2017
Pemberton / Duffey Lake Road, BC
There isn’t much need to introduce this very aptly-named Vantage Peak. Although small in nature, sitting right beside the classic Joffre Group means this peak offers some of the unparalleled views towards the nearby giants on a clear day. The normal approach is along Cerise Creek. The standard route is a fairly straightforward scramble up the W. Ridge from “Vantage Col” (or precisely, Matier/Vantage col) in dry conditions. For winter enthusiasts the NE Face offers a steep skiing line. The same W. Ridge can also be done in winter, although a bit scrambly in nature and won’t qualify a classic. I ascended the W. Ridge as a short diversion from my approach to Snowspider Hut and the approach and return are all written in my Snowspider Mountain’s trip report.
The first business was to dig a snow pit and hide my unnecessary overnight gears (tent, sleeping bag, stove, etc). I thought about just ditching the entire backpack but the route isn’t particularly short so I figured I might actually need some of the gears. There’s overall 300 m elevation gain and weather wasn’t very stable. Meanwhile doing the transition I took a much-needed energy break. Then upwards along the ridge I soon picked up a set of tracks. It looked like at least 2-3 skiers had went for the summit recently and that greatly eliminated any route-finding issue for me. The ridge, although tame on paper, isn’t smooth and is embedded with lots of micro-terrain.
There’s a flatter bench about half way up and here I broke through the low valley clouds. Now with a fantastic valley inversion my energy was suddenly boosted. The upper ridge was increasingly steep and eventually at about 50 m below the summit I ditched the snowshoes. The previous party went into boot-packing mode too. The crux was just before the final summit ridge as I must scramble over a short rocky step. After that it’s just a short walk to the summit.
Despite the fact I wasn’t doing super good on time I still went for a 30-minute stay on the summit. There was no wind and I really wasn’t looking forwards to descend into that valley fog again. But eventually I had to keep moving so down the same route I went. The ridge wasn’t as bad I thought it’d be. The grade was steep, but not that steep and the snow wasn’t crusty which allowed me to short-cut here and there as opposed to following the uptracks.
Eventually the goodness was over and I must face that valley fog again. Into the white-out and that wind picked up again at Vantage Col. I quickly repacked and went for an interesting descent down the Twin One drainage towards my destination for Day 1. Regarding Vantage Peak I’d highly recommend even just for the views. However, the W. Ridge isn’t primary ski terrain. It’s not primary snowshoe terrain neither expected for those with Lightning Ascents and a ton of experience so that to know some little tricks on micro-terrains.