Mount Chief Pascall - Northwest Ridge, January/April 2022
Mount Chief Pascall is a lesser member of the famous Joffre Group that includes iconic peaks such Mount Matier, Slalok Mountain and of course Joffre itself. With good access from Hwy 99, it is a popular Winter objective for ski tourers and hikers alike. The route features travel along forest roads, a steep forest grunt up to the alpine and an aesthetic ridge finished with a short steep pitch to reach the summit proper. Its north face offers what appears to be a great ski descent down into the basin and where one intersects the forest roads from earlier, making for a nifty loop tour. Like with most peaks in this area, the views are nothing short of spectacular with a great panorama of the Duffey area from Cassiope and Saxifrage, Cayoosh, Marriott, Rohr and down Cayoosh Creek Valley overlooking Duffey Lake and beyond.
Truth be told, I had a bit of an ordeal with Chief Pascall, with repeated failed attempts for one reason or another. The photos shown here are from both a January '22 attempt and subsequent success in early April '22. In January I was stymied by unexpectedly firm snow on an exposed traverse just below the summit. I was wearing my snowboarding boots with spikes and still got zero purchase. Didn't fancy an uncontrolled slide a few thousand feet down into Cerise Creek, so called it and simply rode back the way I came. Better luck when I returned in April, this time coming prepared with crampons and ice axe. Snow was still quite firm in spots and the arctic wind blowing in from the east was just as strong as before. It all made for a short but satisfyingly fun mountaineering(ish) finish. As a Winter and/or early season objective, this one is deserving of classic status and is well worth the long drive and effort!
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