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Little Chester

Difficulty: 
Easy Snowshoeing
Elevation [m]: 
2654
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
6.6
Ascent Time: 
2:50
Bushwhackyness: 
Not Bad
Tripdate: 
Saturday, February 9, 2013

After having gone up Opal Ridge (true summit) in the morning, Andrea, Mike, Steven and I had a hard time coming to a concensus for a second objective of the day. Weather conditions were highly variable with rolling snowstorms passing by every 20 min or so and eventually we decided upon "Little Chester", an outlier of Mount Chester described in Nugara's snowshoeing book. The route described in Nugara's book is pretty baffling, it goes up a really steep cross-loaded avalanche gully which seems to be designed to slide. We decided to mitigate some of this hazard by crossing around to the other side of the peak and heading up the treeless slopes, our route still is hazardous avalanche terrain but less dangerous than the gully. Starting out at the Chester Lake parking lot we headed up the official snowshoe trail for about 20 minutes before breaking off into the bush slowly working our way southwards along "Little Chester's" lower slopes. It seemed to take quite a while to reach treeline and snowfall kept increasinng in intensity (with a few odd breaks of a couple minutes of pristine bluebird skies mixed in for variety) as we went higher. Bushwhacking around here was pretty decent and not too hard to pick a trail avoiding unfriendly branches. Once at treeline it became clear we didn't traverse as far as we thought and decided to cut switchbacks up the slope anyways. Snow conditions proved pretty nice (little chance of anything sliding) and eventually we made it to the summit to take in some of the fleeting views. It was kind of funny as the views each member of our group saw were completely different due to the weather shifting from partly-cloudy, to 10 ft visibility whiteout, to mostly blue skies over the course of 20 minutes or so. Descending the same route with some nice plunge stepping back to treeline got us back to the parking lot quit quickly. While not a very lofty peak "Little Chester' does give a nice appreciation for the area, choose your route carefully based on conditions.

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