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brambo

Misty Icefield access roads...

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Planning to do the Misty Icefield ski traverse this spring (around Easter if conditions are right, maybe later in spring). Plan to go from the West Lillooet Road up the Chief Paul Creek FSR (in between Tuwasus and Snowcap Creeks) to the Icemantle Glacier to Snowcap Lakes to Snowcap Icefield, Misty Icefield, Stave Glacier, Terrarossa Lake & Glacier (Fire Spires group) and exit by either: (1.) skiing out along an alpine ridge to the North to Fire Creek FSR, (2.) skiing out to the North and ski/bushwack all the way down to Glacier Lake/Snowcap Creek FSR (back to starting point), or (3.) skiing out South to the North Sloquet "FSR" (bushwack likely). Usually (see Baldwin guide) the traverse is done to the head of Pitt Lake, but this seems longer and doesn't bring you back to the same starting point along the West Lillooet FSR...

 

I have a couple of questions:

* What are the conditions of the West Lillooet FSR (plowed all the way/only partly plowed??), the latest Bivouac road bulletins aren't very clear to me... If it is only partly plowed, which part is usually kept open?? If it is not plowed, when is it generally driveable??

* Is the Cloudworks IPP project camp @ Tipella open in the winter (keeping the roads plowed?), are these guys working on the Fire Creek FSR?? If so, can you drive up this road or do they keep the road gated???

* Anyone skied or hiked to the Fire Spires group recently? If so, which approach would you recommend on ski's (North Sloquet Creek Rd or Fire Lake Rd)?? How much bushwacking is involved??

* Anyone have beta on the Glacier Lake/Snowcap Creek FSR? Is this road overgrown at all??

* Does anyone know whether this traverse has been done before as a horseshoe? Anyone who has hiked/skied the route from the Stave Glacier to Terrarossa Lake/Glacier, and can comment on how suited this part of the route is for skiing??

 

Lots of questions... Any comments and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!!

 

Thanks!

Bram

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Cloudworks is plowing.

 

The North Sloquet is a shit show of overgrown crap. Best to come along the ridge crest between North sloquet and Sloquet then drop down to south sloquet where the ridge ends. This is also the fastest access to Fire Spires, in reverse. 4-5 hours from logging road to ridge crest, same along ridge to glacier.

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Thanks PaulB and G-spotter, I'll try calling the Squamish Forest District and Cloudworks...

Hopefully they can tell me whether they are plowing the West Lillooet Rd between the Cloudworks IPP camp and Tenas Narrows...

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Those phone calls won't do you much good. Lizzie Bay logging has the contract to plow the In-SHUCK-ch from 0km to 68.5 km (east side). Kiewit (Cloudworks is an engineering company) plows from 68.5km to 83km. LBL is obligated to plow to 42.5 km on the west side....as far as the Baptiste IR. This is all done for the "Head of the Lake School" at 50 km east side....not industry.

 

The west side is snow free and in good shape all the way to the jnct at 72.5 km. If there is sporadic snowfall, Kiewit and LBL will most likely split the cost of keeping the west side open for the rest of the year, this eases pressure off the east side.

 

The Snowcap creek option is terrible. Use the ridge Drew mentions in Sloquet. Old "Lineham Logging" roads/harvest blocks are useable to descend. All roads except the mainline in Fire Creek are a shit show.

 

 

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Thanks Hubris. Yes, calling wasn't too much of a help.

 

Squamish Forest District didn't really know anything about the roads up there, and at Cloudworks (Vancouver office) they knew that they drove one side until km 38 crossed and drove to the end at km 77, but the person on the pone didn't know which side was which (i.e. East/West). The rather cryptic description from Cloudworks fits with following the In-SHUCK-ch to Tenas Narrows and the West side road though.

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With respect to access/exit to/from the Fire Spires group, it seems that the options are (from best-worst):

 

1. Ski out South to the ridge East of Mount Glendinning (ridge between North Sloquet and Sloquet Creek) and descent to the Sloquet Mainline using old cutblocks.

2. Ski out along an alpine ridge to the North to Fire Creek FSR (I'm assuming this would be a fairly easy ski down the reactivated logging road for most of the way).

3. Ski out along an alpine ridge to the North in the direction of Fire Creek FSR, but go to the Flame Pk-Fire Mnt pass (West of Fire lake) and ski down dense forest to the Glacier Lake/Snowcap Creek FSR. Recent satellite and air photos (google earth, imapbc) seem to show that the latter road is in not-too-bad condition. I guess this would be a bit of a gamble though. The advantage is that this would bring us back to the same starting point.

4. Ski out South to the North Sloquet FSR (heavily overgrown road, bushwack likely).

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The roads in N. Sloquet Creek are indeed very overgrown. However, when looking at fairly recent air and satellite photos, the roads up Fire Creek and Glacier Lake/Snowcap Creek look much more recent and in pretty good shape:

 

Google earth images, dated Sept. 2006 show pretty good looking roads next too Snowcap Lake:

 

Overview image with Snowcap Lake, Fire Lake, etc:

google_earth1.jpg

 

Zoomed in on road system just E of Snowcap Lake:

google_earth2.jpg

 

The same area from iMapBC (Landsat 5 & 7 Mosaic Colour Band 543 Enhanced 1999-2004) shows up the recent (the roads do not show up in 1995 air photos) logging roads just S of Fire Lake.

imapbc2.jpg

 

 

Has anyone driven, skied, hiked or seen these roads, and could comment on their actual conditions??

 

Thanks!

Bram

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Yes. Snowcap is driveable 6km, it will see forest harvesting next year (2009) as well, so it will be in good shape for awhile to come.

 

Fire has seen harvesting this year, as well as the construction of a $75 million IPP. The road is driveable beyond Fire Lake. Roads that deviate north at 5km on the Fire mainline are not driveable and are afflicted by Alnus. Same with road systems near Stanford Creek.

 

"just E of Snowcap Lake".

This harvest block that you have ID'd is a 2001 CanFor block. The road was driveable in 2005 to this spot.

 

"The same area from iMapBC (Landsat 5 & 7 Mosaic Colour Band 543 Enhanced 1999-2004) shows up the recent (the roads do not show up in 1995 air photos) logging roads just S of Fire Lake."

 

These blocks that you have ID'd were harvested by Squamish Mills in 2002. They were surveyed last year.

 

Lots of good options for descent.

 

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Thanks Hubris, very helpful information!!

 

Would you happen to know if the Cloudworks IPP project is currently working on the Fire road (i.e. keeping the road clear of snow)??

 

Cheers,

Bram

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Ya, they have it cleared and it may take you a lot of hoop jumping to drive up the road and then park in a spot that is convenient right now. It would be a good idea to go into the office (75.5 km) and make yourself known. They were popping a bit of rock last week in Fire.

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