The Joffre Group is a concentrated group of moderate peaks, and ideal for novice mountaineers. This area features alpine rock, snow climbing, and scrambling with fantastic scenery. Most of the peaks are located in BC provincial park.
There are two easy access routes from highway 99 (Duffey Lake Road).
From Joffre Lakes
Drive: From Vancouver, drive north to Pemberton, and continue on the Duffey Lake Road (Highway 99) towards Lilooet. Approx 40 minutes from Pemberton, pull out right at the parking lot for Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. Google Maps
Hike: A 5.5km well-travelled trail takes you through the forest past three lakes, each one more scenic that the last. At the end of the third lake, there are designated campspots, with the prime spot being a small pennisula on the south end of the lake. This is a very popular hiking destination in the summer, so don't expect solitude on a sunny long weekend.
From Cerise Creek
Drive: Follow the driving description above, but continue for 7.5km past the Joffre Lakes parking lot (check your odometer). Cerise creek is the next large valley over. The pull out off highway 99 is just before an obvious "avalanche" sign. Google Maps
Hike: Note: there is a new flagged section at the start of this trail that avoids the need to ford Cerise Creek later on the logging road. From highway 99, follow a trail down to the creek below, cross the creek (bridge) and a second creek (logs). The trail goes up through the forest, reaches a clearcut, and follows the western side of the clearcut towards the Cerise Creek Main logging road (30mins). Go right and follow the logging road for about 5-10 minutes. After crossing Cerise Creek (as of Sept. 2008 this bridge has been removed), there is a steep and rough road on the left (2WD parking). Follow this branch for about 5 minutes (HC-4WD trailhead). An alternative route has been flagged on the west side of Cerise Creek, and starts just after the bridge over Cayoosh Creek, see ClubThread for details. From the old trailhead on the FSR, continue along the trail to the moraines below the Anniversary glacier or Keith's hut. (1.5hr).
Hiking, scrambling and mountaineering routes
Approaches from Joffre Lakes
To Taylor, Tszil, Duffey and west side of Slalok: At the junction before the Upper Joffre lake campground, take the path on the right and head southwest up the Tszil Valley. Head up the Tszil glacier on the left to get to the Tszil-Slalok col. Continue along the trail to get to the Tszil-Taylor col. The trail crosses boulders, trees, and more boulders to the top of the col.
To the Matier glacier (for Joffre, Matier, Spetch, Hartzell, east side of Slalok): From the Upper Joffre lakes campground, cross a creek, and continue up a long moraine towards slabs. Scramble up through the slabs, and continue up towards the Matier icefall, keeping it to your right. Rope up once you reach the Matier glacier.
Peaks around Joffre Lakes
Mount Taylor (2318m)
- From the Tszil-Taylor col, ascend boulders and heather to the summit of Taylor.
Tszil Mountain (2377m)
- West ridge. From the Tszil-Taylor col turn left and follow the stepped and zigzag ramp to the summit. The route consists of mostly hiking, with some short sections of easy scrambling (**).
- East ridge. Glacier crossing and easy ridge walking from the Tszil-Slalok col.
Duffey Peak (2219m)
- From Tszil Mountain. Duffey Peak is visible from the top of Tszil Peak. Drop down from the summit to the Slalok-Tszil col, and continue down towards the very distinct north ridge of Duffey Peak. The route finding is straightforward, and is mostly hiking. This peak makes for a long day from Joffre lakes, since you have to climb Tszil Peak twice.
Slalok Mountain (Rex's Pillar, 2653m)
- West ridge, difficult scramble (**), exposed. Can be accessed from the Tszil-Slalok col (glacier travel), or by going over Tszil Mountain (no glacier travel needed).
- North face (Stonecrop glacier). Steep snow or ice route up to 45˚. The upper part of the face (can be avoided on the left) offers some pitches to 50˚.
- East face. From the Matier Glacier, ascend the snow face (~45˚) between two rock bands to the summit plateau (ice and/or rock band later in summer). Continue eastward to the true summit (watch for crevasses).
- North ridge. From the Matier Glacier, gain the ridge via snow slopes on its northeastern side well above the Matier icefall (around 2400m/8000ft, possibly 3-4th class rock later in the season). Follow the snow ridge and glacial plateau (crevasses!) to the summit.
Approaches from Cerise Creek
To Matier, Joffre, Spetch, Hartzell: From Keith's hut follow a well trodden trail to the Anniversary glacier (above and northwest of the icefall). Follow the glacier to the Matier-Joffre col.
To Vantage and Howard: From Keith's hut, head towards the Vantage west col, follow the west ridge to go up to Vantage. Descend towards the Twin One glacier for Mount Howard.
To the north side of Joffre and Chief Pascall: Follow the summer trail to Keith's hut, turn west into the valley between Joffre and Mount Chief Pascall.
Peaks around Cerise Creek
Mount Matier (2783m)
- Northeast ridge. Easiest route on the mountain, which consists of 30-40˚ snow, and a final scramble.
- Northwest face, 400m of continuous 50˚ snow (early season) or ice (later in the season). From the top of the face, scramble left towards the summit of Matier, and then descend the northeast ridge.
Joffre Peak (2721m)
- Southwest gully (Aussie couloir). Easiest route on the mountain when the gully is filled with snow (until early season).
- Southeast face. Very difficult scramble (***).
Mount Spetch (2579m)
- Southwest side, easy on ski using snow slopes on the south side.
- Northwest face, enjoyable short and steep snow route (45˚) in winter and spring.
Mount Hartzell (2615m)
- East face. Approach from the col between the West Buttress of Matier and Hartzell. Ascend easy snow slopes (30-40˚) on climbers left to lower south summit. Traverse north from south summit to main summit along easy ridge.
Vantage Peak (2235m)
- West ridge. Moderate scramble (*).
Mount Howard (2551m)
- From Twin One glacier. Probably a fairly easy rock climb.
Mount Chief Pascall (2204m)
- Probably a hike from the Chief Pascall-Joffre col.
Note that all books are available from the VOC library.
- Alpine Select: Climbs in SW BC & N WA, Kevin McLane, 2001, Elaho publishing corporation.
- Scrambles in SW BC, Matt Gunn, 2005, Cairn publishing. Difficulty (easy, moderate, difficult, very difficult) and quality (* to ***) ratings are given for scrambles in this area (see above).
- A guide to climbing and hiking in SW BC, Bruce Fairley, 1986, Gordon Soules Book Publishers Ltd.