We headed to Manning Park for a ski touring day trip to Silverdaisy Mountain. This was a BCMC trip headed by Jos van der Burg, a dutch from Chilliwack who I had heard good things about. I picked up my three passengers (all girls) early in the morning, and we met the rest of the group in Chilliwack. I had felt the strong winds on the road already, every now and then a gust hit the car and tried to push it off the road. From there it was another hour to the trail head at Cayuse Flats, where we started skinning up the snowy Cayoose Creek FSR. A few minutes later we had to take our skis off to cross a yellow gate.
It had been two weeks or so since the last snowfall, and there had been some very warm days in between, so we expected icy conditions. The road was surprisingly pleasant, a crust covered by soft snow and hoar frost. A few trees had fallen on the road, but we bypassed them easily. On a few sections the roadbed was completely covered by mounds of snow from older avalanches.
We passed a clearcut where Jos said they usually leave the road to take a more direct route. However, the clearcut was poorly covered due to the low snowfall so far this year, so we kept going on the road. We got great views of Hatchethead at the head of the valley, and it looked like it might provide some nice skiing.
We stopped for lunch in a clearcut in the sun: it was a beautiful day, sunny, but cold – about -15c with a light wind, so I was very happy to have my new ultra warm mittens. The road has some very long switchbacks and sure takes its time in gaining elevation. We cut out some switchbacks at a large clearcut. Shortly after passing a metal roofed hut (used for mining or logging?), and on the edge of the subalpine, we finally left the road. We sidehilled to bypass a bump before the summit.
We reached a a nice viewpoint, and Jos stopped. At this stage it was almost 2pm, the turn around time Jos had decided on, and we were only 15-20 minutes from the summit. It was just Jos, Ariel and I in front, so Ariel and I dashed for the summit, and Jos waited for the rest of the group which would have to turn around. The rest of the way was very icy and got windier as we ascended. We followed the ridge to the summit, at just over 2000m, and got panoramic views of many summits in the area, none of which I knew by name. We took the customary summit shots, and then went a bit lower down for a short break out of the wind. On the way down we met Eric who was on his way up to the summit by himself.
The ski down demanded some concentration going through the dense trees on hard snow, but quickly made way to the long wide road and easier skiing. Conditions were variable – some sections were icy and tricky to ski, and other sections had good soft snow. The going was quick, but every now and then we waited for the rest of the group to regroup and chat. We made it back to the cars just after 4pm. We all met up at the “Home” restaurant in Hope, where it took at least 30 minutes just to order and an hour to get our food. Nothing impressive, but it got the job done, and we had some time to chat. On the way home Natasha did a great job of making sure I stayed awake, despite the four hours of sleep I had gotten the previous night. All in all, a great day trip with beautiful weather and excellent company.