Griffith, Mount

elevation: 2,767 m. height gain: 880 m.
area: Catamount Glacier (Radium),BC map 82 K/10
2010-Feb-03


Catamount Glacier. Ref: Aaron Cameron and Matt Gunn's Hikes around Invermere & the Columbia River Valley.
Winter access: Park at the snowmobile trailhead on Horsethief-Forster Creek FSR at kilometer 20. A grooming fee of 10 dollars a sled is in effect. They stop grooming where the summer parking is, 348116, the last few kilometers are bumpy. Park the sleds at the bottom of the ascent to the moraines, 324118, about 24 kilometers in. From there, ascend towards the low point on the north facing slopes and proceed in the draw. At the toe of the glacier, 317110, head west-south-west towards Mount Griffith.
  sled access
24 km access on Horsethief-Forster Creek FSR.
we park here
 Start of the ascent towards Catamount Glacier, sleds prohibited.
Ski mountaineering: RT 5.0; 3.25 up (from the sled). This recon trip on Catamount Glacier surpassed our expectations. There was possibility of low to nil visibility on the glacier and we were not familiar with the winter ascent route through the moraines. We started the trip with a "see what happens" kinda attitude. We parked our sleds and started to skin up. The snowpack was firm with ankle-deep snow on top. We could see snowmobile tracks leading up the steep slope, trail breaking was easy. Atop the slope, the moraines come into view. We easily picked our way through and gained height quickly. Snowmobilers with guts and big machines obviously have no problem making it up here either. Above the moraine, we skied towards the glacier quite amazed at the weather and snow conditions. After a quick stop, we proceeded on the glacier. Soon thereafter, the objective came into view beyond a long, steep climb. Crevasses were few and quite far from our ascent line, we remained unroped. While going up the steep slope, we realized it would be a very nice ski down, with fluffy fresh snow on top of a smooth, solid base. At the crest of the climb, a short plod leads to the summit ridge. We went through the snowdrifts (avoidable climber's left) and ascended near the ridge crest. We kept our skis on save for the last 30 feet where the ridge narrows. We remained at the top for nearly an hour and watched the weather move-in. Our descent was quick, an hour top to bottom. Mostly though, it was some of the best skiing on a glacier, and good all the way back down to the sleds, WOW!!! Check out this little video. quick height gain
Looking back, already well engaged in the climb on the moraine.
almost on the glacier
Top section of the moraine.
on the glacier
Travelling on the glacier towards Griffith, barely visible right of center.
looking back again
A gradual ascent from the moraine.
summit ahead
A close up of Griffith's summit ridge.
straightforward
Another look back, minutes from the top.
south view
Sunlight through thin cloud, no wind.
at the top
Last steps to the top.
beautiful view
Taurus Mountain to the north.
break time
We stayed on the summit ridge for a while, it was very mild.
approach from the top
We circumvented the "gargoyles" on the descent.
heading down
Mount Griffith.
great ski slope
The shaded slope provided an awesome, leg-burning ski run. The conditions were primo.
quite nice
Gentle grade of the toe of the glacier.
yeah
Great turns all the way back down.
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