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DUFFEY LAKE

Not unlike the Coquihalla Highway profiled over here on the site, Duffey Lake Road (HWY 99) winds its way through the mountains and offers up access to several classic tours, in this case between Whistler/Pemberton and Lillooet. Some tours are also visible from the highway so you have an advance idea of what you might be getting into. Duffey Lake Road routes may be a little less crowded on nice days because they are further from Vancouver, the nearest big urban centre. These routes are also further from Whistler Blackcomb and may be good options—depending on time available, weather, energy, etc.—to  have in your bag of tours.

This is classic, coastal, big-mountain skiing. Be sure to check the Sea-to-Sky avalanche report from the Canadian Avalanche Centre  here. As well as the excellent route descriptions below, there are a growing number of trip reports on the Backcountry Skiing Canada site which may inform and inspire you. To find them, go to the Forums, hit the search icon at left and type in what you’re looking for (“Duffey,” as an example). We’d also like to add more routes to this section. If you know a route you’d like to share (no secret stashes out of respect please) mouse your way to our submit a new location page and spill.

Backcountry Skiing Duffey Lake and Cerise Creek Pemberton

 (This map is not meant to be used as a navigational aid but rather a visual indication of the route description.)


1. Vantage Peak
2. Sunset Couloir
3. Sunset Face
4. Anniversary Glacier
5. Aussie Couloir
6. Matier
7. Rhor Ridge (not show on map)
8. Mt. Rhor (not show on map)
9. Cayoosh North Glacier (not show on map)
10. Mount Matier and Anniversary Glacier (alternative description)
11. Vantage Peak (alternative description)





For a full listing of backcountry huts, cabins and lodges check out the Coast Mountain cabins/huts/lodges page over here. If you are looking for maps and guides to the area then check out the following publications in our Backcountry Skiing Canada store:

backcountry skiing duffy lake map Backcountry Skiing Duffy Lake Map: $19.95  

 

 


Backcountry skiing is an inherently dangerous activity that requires experience and knowledge to travel safely. Any of the routes on this site may be dangerous depending on conditions. You are responsible for your own safety in the backcounty—the team behind backcountryskiingcanada.com disclaim any responsibility for any injury resulting from people travelling on routes described on this site.  To read our Terms of Use and get all the details, read HERE


VANTAGE PEAK

The ridge on Vantage Peak is very rocky and some sections will be easier to bootpack about 150m from the summit there is a break in the corniced ridge, allowing a long fall line descent to the valley. 

Duffey Lake Whistler Vantage-Peak

ROUTE: #1
ACCESS: Cerise Creek Parking Lot (km 21) Hwy 99  
MAP: Duffey Lake, Baldwin
TIME: 6 - 7 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,010m/3,313’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

Full route description including details on access, ascents and descents in the Guide

 

 

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SUNSET COULOIR

The couloir is steep and the cornice above it should be treated with caution. This route is an excellent choice if skiing Vantage Peak area.

Duffey Lake Whistler Sunset-Couloir

ROUTE: #2
ACCESS: Cerise Creek Parking Lot (km 21) Hwy 99  
MAP: Duffey Lake, Baldwin
TIME: 5 - 6 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,000m/3,280’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

Full route description including details on access, ascents and descents in the Guide

 

 

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SUNSET FACE

Sunset Face lies approximately 200m up the ridge from Sunset Couloir and is a great alternative if you are unsure about the cornice at the top of Sunset Couloir.

Duffey Lake Whistler Sunset-Face

ROUTE: #3
ACCESS: Cerise Creek Parking Lot (km 21) Hwy 99  
MAP: Duffey Lake, Baldwin
TIME: 5 - 6 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,000m/3,280’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

Full route description including details on access, ascents and descents in the Guide

 

 

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ANNIVERSARY GLACIER

Enjoy the long descent down the glacier and either veer to skier's left to return to Keith's Hut or remain in the fall line until you reach the head of Cerise Creek and ski out to the highway.

Duffey Lake Whistler Anniversary-Glacier

ROUTE: #4
ACCESS: Cerise Creek Parking Lot (km 21) Hwy 99  
MAP: Duffey Lake, Baldwin
TIME: 7 - 8 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,000m/3,280’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

Full route description including details on access, ascents and descents in the Guide

 

 

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AUSSIE COULOIR

A classic couloir in the Joffre Group, Aussie (45 degrees, 400m) runs down the SW side of Joffre Peak.

Duffey Lake Whistler Aussie-Couloir

ROUTE: #5
ACCESS: 
Cerise Creek Parking Lot (km 21) Hwy 99  
MAP: Duffey Lake, Baldwin
TIME: 10 - 11 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,500m/4921’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

Full route description including details on access, ascents and descents in the Guide

 

 

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MATIER

Matier is the tallest mountain in the Joffre Group and standing on its summit before descending a 45 degree, 250m NW face is an accomplishment that many Sea to Sky backcountry skiers strive for.

Duffey Lake Whistler Matier

ROUTE: #6
ACCESS: Cerise Creek Parking Lot (km 21) Hwy 99  
MAP: Duffey Lake, Baldwin
TIME: 10 - 11 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,575m/5,167’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

Full route description including details on access, ascents and descents in the Guide

 

 

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ROHR RIDGE

The front/south side of Rohr Ridge is visible from the road and parking lot. It offers good storm tree skiing off the ridge on south facing slopes heading back down to the road. In better visibility weather there is good bowl skiing (Stellar Bowl) heading west off the ridge. 

From the north side parking area head north up the steep embankments about 20 to 30 meters until it flattens out and meets an old logging road. Take the logging road heading east paralleling the highway. Follow the old logging road for about 300-500meters (If you hit the first major avalanche path you've gone too far) before heading up into the thicker trees. Work your way up the trees for about 600m until you start to reach tree line at which point the ridge should be easily visible/reachable. 

From the ridge top you can ski directly south back down to the road with open glades for the first 150m turning into a couple of different avalanche paths for the next 500m. The paths can be skied directly to the road where it should only be a short walk to the car. 

As mentioned above there are other options heading west off the ridge which include wide open bowl skiing for the first 300m. These options head down to a logging heading north/south. Simply follow that logging road south to get back to the start. 

ROUTE: #7
ACCESS: Use the sand shed parking lot off Hwy 99 in the Duffey Lake area 
(17km from Lillooet lake at the point hwy 99 starts to get steep with switchbacks). Parking is on the north side of the road.
MAP: 92 J/7 92 J/8
TIME: 4 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 800m/2624’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

This route provided by Robert Oleksiuk of Falling White.

 

 

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MT. ROHR

There are many ski options on Mt. Rohr. This describes an ascent of the summit via the west ridge which offers a loop with scenic views on a clear day, good route finding challenges and great skiing off the peak.

From the parking, skin west on the road bank until a shortcut through the trees leads to an old logging road that runs north-south on the east side of Upper Cayoosh Creek. Follow the road north (staying right at a fork) to its end where a triangular cut block can be climbed to its high point before reaching steep, tightish trees that must be climbed for ~180 vertical metres before the trees thin. Alternatively climb up into more open glades (a run call Rocky Horror Picture Show) ~300m north of the logging road fork but this has ~70m more elevation to gain on steep slopes in the forest before the trees open up.  Continue up to where the west ridge becomes more defined and follow it to an intermediate hump at ~2300m. Descending its east side involves careful route selection on steep wind features that would prove challenging in poor visibility. Up and over another small hump and you’ve reached a saddle (early access to the ski descent - beware of cornices). From the summit ski NW to flatter ground and traverse left to enter a long curving draw (overhead hazard) that offers sheltered snow down into the valley. Continue out to the west end of the long lake and to avoid skiing the steep lake drainage, head north for a sort steep pitch to a mini hanging valley. Walk west on the flats until it is possible to ski down on a southerly traverse, eventually crossing the lake drainage to ski a large opening to its far left end where a continued traverse eventually leads to a logging road. Follow this to the fork you passed on the way in and back to the car. 

backcountry-skiing-coast-mountains-Whistler-Mt-Rohr

ROUTE: #8
ACCESS: F
rom Pemberton drive east on the Duffy Lake Rd. (Hwy 99) past Cayoosh Pass and over the bridge crossing upper Cayoosh Creek.  The road hairpins and climbs a short distance to reach a sand shed on the right.  Park in the lot on the north side of the road. There is a webcam to check road conditions and visibility here.
MAP: 92 J/8
TIME: 7-9 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1250m/4100’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

This route provided by Shaun King of Mountain Sense.

 

 

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CAYOOSH NORTH GLACIER

A spectacular day in big country that can be combined with the Armchair Glacier to the south to create a loop that could be done in either direction.

Cross the hwy and go north on the logging road, following a circuitous loop that offers two options to turn left.  Take the second one leading to the upper road. Where the road turns west, head NW towards the forest and gain elevation beside the creek until eventually the trees open up and the slopes below Cayoosh’s northern satellite peak appear. Climb these slopes up the right (north) side of a gully until the north glacier can be seen above a small lake. From here many creative ski descents can be seen down the north glacier, but the safest ascent climbs the SE facing slopes and contours around to the glacier. A nice ramp leads to some tricky decision making on a steep slope and then low angled slopes to the NE rib that separates the Armchair Glacier. Bagging the peak requires boot packing up very steep slopes to a saddle south of the summit requiring (very good stability) but offers steep skiing through rock outcrops down the NE face when conditions are right.

Lots of great skiing to be had back down the north glacier and out to the valley.  Follow your uptrack to the car.

backcountry-skiing-coast-mountains-Whistler-Cayoosh-Glacier

ROUTE: #9
ACCESS: 
From Pemberton drive east on the Duffy Lake Rd. (Hwy 99) past Cayoosh Pass and park at a large pullout on the right, across from a logging road that heads north.  This is a few hundred metres before the upper Cayoosh Creek bridge.  
MAP: 92 J/7 92 J/8
TIME: 7-9 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1258m/4200’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

This route provided by Shaun King of Mountain Sense.

 

 

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MT. MATIER & ANNIVERSARY GLACIER

The Anniversary Glacier run is a local classic for good reason and if you have the stability to bag Matier as well it will be an unforgettable day with a 4000 ft. run!

From the parking, drop south into Cayoosh Creek heading SE to reach a narrow bridge with a rope hand line across the creek. Climb up through the forest on the other side to an old clear cut and make your way up this to a good logging road which is followed right to a downhill section. Where the road turns right to cross Cerise Creek, follow the winter trail sign left into the forest.  Continue up the east side of Cerise Creek past several meadows, eventually crossing the creek where snow bridges allow. When the valley opens and the steep moraines of the Anniversary Glacier become visible on the right, ascend right (north) of the lateral moraine into the trees to reach the Keith Hut on a bench at ~1650m.  Climb slopes west of the hut to gain a broad rib that leads nicely out to benches that traverse over to the Anniversary Glacier above large rock nobs at ~2000m (exposed slopes). If conditions allow, Mt. Matier can be ascended via a boot pack up the north ridge. Skiing back down the north side leads nicely into the Anniversary Glacier run but the snow may be quite wind effected on this high exposed face. Better snow can usually be found on the NW face but it is also more avalanche prone and there is a bergshrund at the bottom. The Anniversary Glacier is steepest on the right at the top and left on the bottom.  Enjoy a long, amazing run!

backcountry-skiing-coast-mountains-Whistler-Mt-Matier

ROUTE: #10
ACCESS: 
From Pemberton drive east on the Duffy Lake Rd. (Hwy 99) past Cayoosh Pass and the sand shed and park at the Cerise Creek Trail head on the right (south side). 
MAP: 92 J/8
TIME: 8-11 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1550m/5100’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

This route provided by Shaun King of Mountain Sense.

 

backcountry-skiing-coast-mountains-Whistler-Anniversary-Glacier









MATIER GLACIER EXIT

A cool and scenic loop around Joffre involves ascending the Anniversary Glacier and descending the skier’s right side of the Matier Glacier. The skiing is steep and continuous in a wild setting beside the seracs. It would require leaving a vehicle at the Joffre Lakes Trail head or hitch hiking back to your car at Cerise Creek.  

From the top of the Anniversary Glacier or Mt. Matier, ski NW down the Matier glacier aiming for the rock to the right of the glacier. Drop into a funnel and ski down beside the glacier giving the seracs a wide berth. Cross the Upper Joffre Lake at the bottom and follow the creek back to the parking lot.

backcountry-skiing-coast-mountains-Whistler-Matier-Glacier-Exit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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VANTAGE PEAK

This accessible peak offers several ski options, a cool challenging ridge ascent and unique views of Matier’s east face and the Twin One Glacier.

From the parking, drop south into Cayoosh Creek heading SE to reach a narrow bridge with a rope hand line across the creek. Climb up through the forest on the other side to an old clear cut and make your way up this to a good logging road which is followed right to a downhill section. Where the road turns right to cross Cerise Creek, follow the winter trail sign left into the forest. Continue up the east side of Cerise Creek past several meadows, eventually crossing the creek where snow bridges allow. When the valley opens up, pass beneath the Anniversary Glacier moraines and take to the east side of Cerise Creek to bypass a steep section. Flats above lead to a steep slope that gains the saddle at the start of Vantage’s west ridge. Scope out possible NW facing descents from the flats below this saddle.  Climb the west ridge with some challenging route finding and steep boot packing to the summit. An option exists about 150 vertical metres below the summit to drop down the NW side (at a break in the corniced ridge) which provides an excellent long fall line run to the valley.  

Cornices and unsupported cliffed out slopes make skiing directly off the summit to the north unappealing, but a bit lower down the steep north face can be skied from a bench on the west ridge down to a flat section and then out the NW facing slopes to Cerise Creek. 

backcountry-skiing-coast-mountains-Whistler-Vantage-Peak-NW

ROUTE: #11
ACCESS:
 From Pemberton drive east on the Duffy Lake Rd. (Hwy 99) past Cayoosh Pass and the sand shed and park at the Cerise Creek Trail head on the right (south side).
MAP: 92 J/8
TIME: 
5-6 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 
1000m/3300'
ATES RATING: 
Complex (3)

This route provided by Shaun King of Mountain Sense.

 

backcountry-skiing-coast-mountains-Whistler-Vantage-Peak-NW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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