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Emerald Peak

Difficulty: 
Moderate Scrambling and Snowshoeing
Elevation [m]: 
2563
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
9.4
Net Elevation Gain [m]: 
1275
Total Elevation Gain [m]: 
1378
Ascent Time: 
4:50
Bushwhackyness: 
Little
Tripdate: 
Thursday, January 3, 2013

After going up Mosquito Mountain the day before, Steven and I crossed the border to BC and headed up Emerald Peak (which looms over the popular Emerald Lake area), oddly enough this is my first summit fully in BC!

Following a really well packed trail which eventually became a less well packed ski trail we slowly made our way gaining elevation through the trees until eventually the trees started to thin and a great view of the snowy ridge of Mt. Canarvon came into view. Based on Nugara's snowshoeing book this was the sign to break off from the trail and ascend upwards which proved to be quite an effort post-holing slowly up steep (yet stable) slopes. From the treeline the rest of the ascent proved to be pretty simple, go up! I ended up following an old packed ski trail on slopes which would have normally been a worysome avalanche hazard but due to the fabulously supportive snowpack were not an issue. From the false summit the crux of Nugara's route came into view. The difficulty of the crux (as with most cruxes) is very condition-dependent, today it proved to really be not a big deal at all with a few moderate scrambing moves and then scurrying up a snow slope. We saw the tunnel described in Bob Spirkos trip report from summer though the other end was sealed up with a large mass of snow and looked more cave-like.

For descent we went down the (seemingly very popular) slide path which had a ton of ski tracks both up and down from over the last few days. Normally at this time of year this slide path would be SUPER sketchy and pretty much a textbook example of avalanche terrain to avoid but given the great snowpack conditions it seemed like a good choice. Following the slide path downwards led all the way down to the lake (with a short variation into the trees to avoid steep slopes in a canyon) in great time (near 2 hours for the descent with many photo breaks). All in all Emerald Peak is a nice trip when snow is stable with wide reaching views.

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