Lee Lau and Louie Dawson
A good night’s sleep brought us fresh legs. Stu skinned in from the Duffey road to join Louie and Lee at Keith’s Hut at 8am and we were off on our way to check out Mt. Duke (2497m). It’s a bit of a long walk to get there but it’s 200m lower than Matier, and the NW ridge looked pretty simple. Famous last words. We failed to summit foiled by a conspiracy of circumstances including Tyler’s flailing ice-climbing skills, facet-wallowing through steep rime just before the summit bulge (1 hour – 50m elevation gained) and town-house sized cornices on the ridgeline. Massive crowds of people on the ridge were also a factor (or at least made a good excuse for not summiting), probably due to our last Cerise Creek post.
Above is a panorama of the Twin One Glacier and surrounding area, mouse over to scroll from side to side.
Turning back about 20 m short of Duke’s summit at about 1:30 we skied back to a windlip that led to Duke’s mainly N – facing bowl and dropped in to pow of acceptable quality. A moraine ridge feature then allowed us to skin to 100m short of Duke’s summit where we dropped into N – facing pow for a 600m run. We then climbed back out of Duke and up to Vantage and skied off the NW face from its peak. Then up to the sub-peak just S of Vantage for one more run of NW facing snow of quality that was adequate for needs (this face was amazingly untouched). We were all feeling a bit fatigued so dawdled back to the hut for another 11 hour day with around 2,000 meters vert.
Our biggest epic was faced that night as a late evening arrival of steak and couscous dinner preparers threatened to asphyxiate us with cooking smoke as we were sleeping (no doubt they were inspired to crowd in by a WildSnow trip report). Fortunately we made it through to the next day alive. Unfortunately the high alpine weather broke for the worse on April 9th and we contented ourselves with lower elevation powder skiing laps finishing up with a restful 1500m of elevation gain and then skiing out back to the road.