After a false start trying to get to Saxifage and Cassiope Basecamp Damien and I ended up trying to Rohr Mountain in the Duffey Lake area of BC Canada. Since we had spent so much time trying to approach the other mountains we didn’t actually start up the ski track at Km 13 on Hwy 99 (by the sand shed) for Rohr Base camp until the light was fading. The skin track was very well broken in and the creek descently covered with snow with a safe crossing.  We took the left trail at the junction after about 1 k. After 2k the semi-wide road were were on ended and we were skiing on a trail. The trail was marked by copious orange tags on the trees. There was also the still very defined skin track. We followed the trail probably for another kilometer through the forest until it began to climb. We were both pretty exhausted by then from the day and after climbing for a bit we found a flattish spot several yards off the trail to set up camp.

It continued to snow pretty heavily even though the forecast promised that the precip would clear at night. here was also a fair amount of wind. In fact the wind knock a pile of snow on the roof of our tent at 11:55pm just before New Year, so we actually ended up being awake for it!

We were moving soon after first light. The snow had finally stopped, but the bluebird calm skies were nowhere in sight. The was a bit of a breeze in the forest, and although there was good visibility of distant Rohr Ridge the sky was white. We followed the ascending skin track and tags up through the forest. There is a marked Junction for Aspen and Rohr. Rohr is to the right. We were supposed to pass Rohr Lake, but we never saw it. Instead we poped out in a meadow. A huge slope reared up in front of us. It was treed except for a snow gully were we could see faint descent tracks. We approached int he tracks and got slammed with icy wind that nearly knocked us over. So much for a calm day.

Damien and I managed to found some faint hints of a ski track through we mostly just broke trail since the wind had swept everything over and battled out way up the gully. We stayed to the left as much as possible to shelter in some tree protection (avy danger was slow but conditions were slabby). The wind was unbelievably stong and cold. We often had to stop moving a brace against it to keep from being knocked over.

We finally crested the Plateau and right to the edge overlooking the massive that is Rohr Mountain. At access the mountain in appeared we would need to drop down several hundred feet and then head up cliffy, rugged slopes in the very distant summit. Again, this summit was HUGE. We were expecting something along the lines of Silver Star, but not this. It was amazingly beautiful. But as gazed at the rugged peak and  the wind pounded us we looked at our watches we knew that the summit was not ours. Something didn’t seem right. Looking at our maps and beta the terrain didn’y make sense. It was described as easy and mellow and although we knew we had the right mountain we did not see any easy about this mountain and even if we did time was not on our side to climb something of that scale. We turned back, but not unhappy. In fact we were pretty stoked to have gotten up high enough to get a feel for the Duffey area. It was also our first true winter backcountry ski. A great learning experience. I could have done without the frostnip though.

Skiing back down the gully proved challenging. Our tips kept getting caught up in the thick wind slabs causing us to jerk to a halt each time. Tree skiing back down to camp was awesome though! In fact we had such a great time we skinned back up to the meadow the following morning to get in one more tree run before returning to civilization.


Let the adventures of 2017 begin!

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