Modern Route from Callaghan Valley
The best present access to Metal Dome is via the north side from the Callaghan Valley. Compared to the historic approach from Brandywine Creek, this route is shorter, has less elevation gain, has much less snowmobile traffic and has better skiing terrain. Avalanche hazard is higher as there is much more avalanche terrain on the route.
Drive the Callaghan Valley Road to the Callaghan West FSR turnoff. This is the second turnoff on the left. The turnoff is signed as "Blackcomb Dogsled" and is located about 1km south of the bridge over Callaghan Creek. About 100m up the plowed road is a small parking area, which may or may not be plowed. Even if the lot is not plowed, it's not difficult to find a place to park nearby. The elevation of parking area is about 700m.
Right/left are for uphill travel towards the summit of metal dome.
- From the parking area, take the right road heading north
- Go straight ahead, crossing the groomed dogsled track
- Keep right onto a snowmobile trail
- Take the next right, leaving the snowmobile trail and going up a hill.
- After the road levels out there is a branch on the left. The road you want to follow continues straight ahead. The branch road on the left also works, as it goes to the same clearcut as the main road, but it's not as level as the main road.
- The main road gradually turns left and enters a clear cut then switchbacks to continue north. The road ends at 900m just above several small ponds.
- At the end of the road there are two options
- For the low route cross two streams then begin climbing. The second stream can be crossed just below a waterfall at about the same elevation as the end of the road. The terrain west of the two creeks is steep, bushy and bluffy at first but improves higher up.
- For the high route, head uphill from the end of the road and parallel the first creek up to about 960m. This creek can be tough to cross - in April 2010 it was not possible to cross until well into the meadows around 1000m. After crossing the first creek traverse right and cross the second creek.
- The best route follows the crest of a broad ridge in open forest to the west of both creeks. If in doubt, keep right.
- Tree line is at 1400m, just below the terminal moraine of the Metal Dome Glacier.
- Traverse to climbers left to gain the glacier. This is the steepest part of the route.
- Ascend the glacier to a col east of Metal Dome, then follow the ridge to the summit. There are many wind features along the ridge that could pose big problems in whiteout conditions. The ski run down the Metal Dome Glacier from the col is excellent.
- Avalanche terrain from about 1400m to the top
- Cornices fall from above on the glacier
- Unstable cornices near the summit. Cornice cracks have been observed only a few meters from the summit cairn.
Historical Route from Brandywine Creek
|Out of Date|
|This article contains old out of date information from an early 1990s edition of the VOC Ski guide. Road conditions may have changed considerably since this article was written.|
Route at a Glance
|Rating||Location Key||Map Refs||Road||Route||Start Elevation||High Point||Technical Notes|
|Intermediate||N||92 J/3||5.5km/2hrs||5km/3hrs||560m||2010m||End of road:1020m|
See the Brandywine and Brew access. Take the Dority Creek spur at ~3km. This spur is ill-defined; to find it turn right off the man road towards the horizon, that being defined as that part of the northern sky line with no trees on it.
Head across the slash towards a left hand knoll, past an old bus (may be buried) and continue into a small gully below the knoll. At the end of the gully drop down left to Dority Creek, then head back up through open forest until on a broad ridge. Stay slightly to the left until the slash above Brandywine road is seen. Swing right to avoid bluffs then continue up the ridge to Metal Dome.
- Snowmobile Traffic