Columnar Peak

Jan 23, 2010
Ben, Emily and I spent a fantastic day out in the Elfin Lakes area. I had pretty much written off Sunday as a ski day, but late Sat night we decided to go skiing anyways (despite the crust). Quite sleep deprived, we skied over to Elfin Lakes, and then up the south face of the lower south summit of Columnar Peak.
We left Onatah coffee at 9am. A perfect alpine start. We ran into many snowshoers on the way up, but there were surprisingly few skiers out. They were probably all smart enough to stay home and ski something further north. We skiied past the north facing slopes off Round Mountain, and realized that the snow wasn’t perfect, so we continued on to Elfin Lakes instead.
The snow was way better than the previous day on the Northshore, but nowhere near the beautiful powder that spoiled us over New Years at Lizzie Creek. We didn’t have any particular plan for the day, but the idea of skiing up the Columnar Peak seemed reasonable enough for this day.
Emily inside the Elfin Lake hut. Ben brought along some nanaimo bars to share, they were quite tasty! It was quite foggy at the hut, and the snow didn’t seem very good so Emily stayed behind at the hut. Meanwhile Ben and I continued up towards Columnar Peak. We didn’t really know if we would go all the way to the top, since the crappy snow around the hut, and the thick fog weren’t very motivating compared to an afternoon nap.
We broke out of the clouds just below the south summit. We didn’t bother going any further to the centre summit.
I was quite stoked that we were above the clouds. Ben was happy to go down at this point, but I thought we should wait for another fifteen minutes to see if the views would improve.
And then it did! The clouds parted, and the mountains appeared! I love it when this happens, when the weather is nicer in the mountains that in the city.
Views of Paul Ridge, and Sky Pilot behind.
I really like the clouds blowing over the ridge here
After a short break at the summit, many photos later, it was time to drop back down into the clouds. The clouds were just awesome that day.
Ben traversing towards the south face. By this point in the day, the snow was getting quite heavy.
Everything cleared up as we skied down, and it was quite a good ski out to the car with nobody around, and just lots of mountains. The rain runnels were quite evident everywhere around Elfin Lakes.
Nice to look at, not so much to ski.
We were the only ones out here.
It was a great ski out. Not too cold, no headlamp needed, and nobody around. It turned out to be a fantastic day! Thanks Ben and Emily!

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