Thar Peak (Falls Lake Loop)

elevation: 1,940 m.
height gain: 750 m.
area: Coquihalla Summit,BC
map 92 H/11

Ref: AllTrails

falls lake loop

Falls Lake Loop.
Ski touring: RT 6.0; 3.5 up. My friend Ev from Canmore came for a visit so I planned a couple of peak-bagging ski tours. She was a bit baffled when I told her we would be heading west to ski, she wasn't familiar with the Coquihalla Summit Area. I explained that the region is very popular year-round and offers excellent ski tours with short approaches. From Salmon Arm, Coquihalla Summit is 2.5 hours away; that isn't too far by my standards. Avalanche hazard was minimal; it hadn't snowed in a while and I suspected the south-facing ascent would be very firm. However, some research revealed an alternate descent on the northern aspect, exiting via Falls Lake. That sparked my interest as snow conditions could be better for the ski down. The roads were dry. As we drove through Kamloops, then Merritt, and so forth, Ev exclaimed that winter was over; but as we neared our destination, snowbanks increased quickly. We left the trailhead under blue sky and followed an uptrack. The ascent is steep and direct. As we gained height, the snow surface got icy to the point where it was difficult to keep an edge. Ev struggled with her shorter skins, she worked very hard to avoid sliding down the slope. The people whose track we'd been following, turned around on the upper mountain, which was a testament to how tricky it was. I must admit I thought we might have to turn around as well but Ev didn't give up and we made it to the top. It was a great day to enjoy the views and lounge around. I proposed skiing the west/north-facing alternate descent; it took some convincing before Ev finally agreed. From Nak-Thar Col, the open gentle terrain is inviting. After a short distance, it was clear we had made the right decision. The skiing was fabulous even if it wasn't deep; additionally, the route was straightforward. After being funneled in a narrow gully that also grants good skiing, we reached valley bottom near Falls Lake. Although the run is only 500 meters vertical, it rivals big mountain terrain lines. As I skied across the lake, I imagined that descent with boot-top powder; I will have to come back. Returning on the summer trail is quick and we didn't have to put our skins back on. In my opinion, this outing was numero uno!

thar peak

Thar Peak from the trailhead.

upper cutline

After a short distance on the unplowed Falls Lake road, we veered left and ascended the upper cutline.

following an uptrack

Following an uptrack on the south-east slopes.

climbing traverse

A climbing traverse towards Nak Peak led us to the south aspect.

continuing on the ridge ahead

We continued our ascent on the ridge ahead.

snow becomes icy

As we gained height on the south-facing slope, the snow became icy.

difficult to keed edging

Ev working hard to avoid losing her edging.

steep and sun-exposed

The open terrain is steep and sun-exposed.

yak peak comes into view

Yak Peak comes into view behind Nak Peak.

nearing the summit

A stone's throw away from the summit!

coquihalla mountain

A close up of Jim Kelly Peak and Coquihalla Mountain.

lounging at the top

Lounging at the top, it's mild and there's no wind.

south-western view

The south-western view includes countless impressives peaks of the Cascades.

nak peak

Nak Peak's gnarly north-east ridge is a scramble.

anderson river group

Beyond the Anderson River Group (right), the Lillooet Ranges are visible.

alpaca, vicuna and guanaco

Alpaca, Vicuna and Guanaco Peaks dominate the view to the north-west.

falls lake

Falls Lake is straight down on the north side.

leaving the top

Making our way towards Nak-Thar Col on the left.

looking back

Looking back at Thar Peak.

gentle open terrain

Gentle open terrain.

decent skiing conditions

No powder but still better than backtracking and scraping down the south side.

possible descent from nak peak

A delightful descent from Nak Peak also appears feasible.



very straightforward

Very straightforward with no interruptions.

looking back

Looking back.

entering a gully

The terrain leads to a gully.

good skiing to valley bottom

The gully grants a good ski down to valley bottom.

falls lake ahead

Falls Lake ahead.

north-facing chute

Some people climb this north-facing chute.

fabulous ski tour

Fabulous ski tour!!!
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