So, you thought it was cold here in Vancouver? How about -18C in the alpine? Plus the crazy windchill?! Six of us headed off to the Rubble Creek trailhead Sunday morning. A ramp up to the top parking lot was a bit too much for one of the vehicles, and we parked at the lower lot. A dusting of snow developed into a more continuous layer by 2 km. No traction aides were required, though: the snow was the crispiest and driest I'd ever seen it in this area! That will likely change once the temperatures rise back to normal.
There was only about 10 cm of snow at the 6 km junction where we put the snowshoes on, but the thickness of the layer increased steadily, and we were trailbreaking with snow almost up to our knees once in the meadows. To my surprise, the creeks, while looking somewhat sketchy, were already crossable, and we headed up the west ridge.
As soon as we got to the edge of the treeline, the winds hit. Jackets went on, scarves and neck warmers were pulled up the noses, hoods were tightened up. I don't believe there was ever a weekend last winter when I was hiking UP in four layers! Sure was a surprise for me, given how much heat I usually generate :). Fighting against blustery arctic winds, switching between easy-going wind-scoured snow and tread-milling in the steep deep powder, we got to the subsummit. Wind knocking us off our feet, we reached the consensus: forget about the summit and get the hell back down into the trees. Not like the ridge was going away any time soon. My nose is still peeling from windburn...
It was calm and chilly back in the meadows. We trotted easily along the tracks made on the way up and marveled at spectacular colors of the sunset over Tantalus Ridge. Bright orange, burgundy, and ripe raspberry filled the horizon, producing a visual feast. Regrettably, my camera batteries had long died from the cold. This was a Wanderung hike organized by Dan.