Powder-Cap Traverse

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VOC Ski Guide
Using This Ski Guide Preface Winter Safety Avalanche safety
Waxing Navigation Snow Shelters Gear Lists
400
Difficulty Rating Intermediate
NTS Mapsheet 92 J/3
Road 20km/1 day
Route 40km/3 days
Starting Elevation 430m @ Roe Creek or 800m @ Alexander Falls
High Point 2210m
Technical Notes Brew Hut:1680m Callaghan Lake: 1200m
Omer lakes | Loch Lomond | Mount Sedgwick | Mamquam | Alice Ridge | Diamond Head | Garibaldi Neve traverse | Brohm Ridge | Sphinx Bay | Black Tusk Meadows | Helm Creek | Cheakamus Lake | Singing Pass (Via Trail) | Singing Pass (Via Lift) | Spearhead Traverse | Rethel Creek | Cloudburst Mountain | Brew Hut | Brandywine Mountain | Metal Dome | Powder-Cap Traverse | Callaghan Lake | Telemagique Ridge | Puma Peak |Pemberton Ice Cap | Gin Peak | Beverley Creek | Rainbow Mountain | Mount Sproatt | Overseer | Ipsoot Mountain | Tenquille Lake | McGillivray Pass | Lizzie Lake | Microwave Road | Frosty Mountain


This classic route is also know as the Squamish-Cheakamus divide traverse. The trip describe here goes from Brew Mountain to Callaghan Lake, but many variations are possible. The route can be extended south to Tricouni Meadows, or north onto the Pemberton Icefield. There are also access/escape points along the way from Brandywine Creek, Callaghan Valley or the Squamish River. Note that most of the traverse is through snowmobile territory, so machine traffic is the norm when traveling along the divide. Most snowmobiles access the area from Brandywine Meadows and Tricouni Meadows; skiing these access routes on a busy weekend would be rather unpleasant. Other access routes (Roe Creek, Callaghan Valley, Shovelnose Creek) are more or less snowmobile free by comparison.

Access

There are many access points at various places along the divide. They are listed here from south to north

  • High Falls Creek gives access to Tricouni Meadows and Seagram Lakes. Reach the alpine near Cypress Peak and continue north along the divide.
  • Roe Creek logging road gives access to the Brew Hut, or more directly to the divide just north of Cypress Peak.
  • A branch of the Squamish River road system climbs up near Mount Fee
  • From Brandywine Creek:
    • The West fork of Brandywine Creek provides access to the Brew Hut, or up the valley bottom to reach the divide between Cypress Peak and Mount Fee
    • Roads and a groomed snowmobile trail in the centre fork of Brandywine Creek access the alpine NE of Mt. Fee.
    • Roads in Brandywine Creek climb close to Brandywine Meadows. Access from here goes up past Brandywine Mountain then along the ridgetop to reach the divide
  • From Callaghan West FSR:
    • Callaghan West FSR gives access to the North Glacier on Brandywine Mountain. Start as for Metal Dome but traverse west to reach the Brandywine Glacier.
    • The creek SE of Powder Mountain can be used to access the divide. Since there is no convenient bridge over Callaghan Creek to access this valley from the parking area at Alexander Falls, Callaghan West FSR must be used instead. Ski Callaghan West FSR to it's end below Metal Dome, then traverse the valley bottom around the north side of Brandywine Mountain. Access the divide at the bowl S of Powder Mountain.
  • From the Callaghan Country XC Ski trails:
    • The Creek NE of Powder Mountain can be reached from the Wild Spirit XC trail in the Callaghan Valley. Park at Alexander Falls on the Callaghan Valley Road and follow the Wild Spirit Trail to a bridge over the main branch of Callaghan Creek. Cross the west fork of Callaghan Creek and go up the valley towards Powder Mountain.
    • The main access to north end of divide is via Callaghan Lake and the NW branch of the Callaghan Valley. Park at Alexander Falls on the Callaghan Valley Road. From there, groomed two XC trails lead up the NW branch of Callaghan Creek. Wild Spirit trail is slightly more direct, whereas Mainline trail via Callaghan Lake is very scenic.

Route

The route can be divided into 4 sections:

  1. Ascent to Brew Mountain Cabin. The standard route these days is from Roe Creek. Approaching from Brandywine Creek is still possible as well.
  2. The traverse of the Brew Divide and thence north along the main divide, passing Mt. Fee on its west side. Parties can avoid the steep narrow ridge 2 km south of Fee by dropping down to gentler west slopes via a shoulder to the south, and skiing near tree line. Access to the Cayley icefield is best through a Col 1km east of the head of Shovelnose Creek. In the creek, slopes are steep and the Glacier crevassed.
  3. Powder Mountain ice cap, straight-forward glacier travel.
  4. Descent to Callaghan Valley - once in the valley bottom pick up the groomed XC trail network. Follow these trails back to Alexander falls, via Callaghan Lake or by the more direct Wild Spirit Trail.

... Google map showing Tricouni Meadows to Brandywine Mountain Variation

Download KML file with all coordinates.

Hazards

  1. Many potential avalanche slopes must be traversed.

Trail Conditions