Elevation Gain: 1,152m
Total Time: 8 hours 59 minutes
Date: January 20th, 2023
Andrea and her friend Nicole were planning to do a ski touring objective around the Sea2Sky area in the coming week and had invited me to join along. They were having a hard time coming up with an objective and so that’s when I suggested Telemagique. It had been on my radar for some time now as a ski summit and I knew its long moderate ridge would make for a safe day out in most conditions. Both were keen and so Telemagique it was!
The standard route takes you briefly along the Callaghan Country groomed tracks and that would mean paying $30+ to access the start of our route. Thankfully, there’s a way to bypass that, by showing up before opening time and simply getting off their road before their business hours. There was also a recent storm to contend with and that’d likely mean some trailbreaking, but that’s all part of the fun.
On the 20th, we pulled up to the Alexander Falls area just before 8am and packed up our ski gear. We briefly walked our skis along the road and then started skinning up from the Callaghan Country entrance. The first 4km was along the groomed service road and went by relatively quickly thanks to some entertaining conversation. Just past the 4km mark we turned right up a spur road off the Callaghan Lake FSR where the trail breaking began.
I found the snow fairly supportive and lightweight and that made the trail breaking quite easy. This road lead us up for a kilometer or so before we reached a cut block and the road terminus. I lead us through the cut block and got into the groove of navigating through all the fun terrain and powder. Before I knew it, I was at the top and into old growth forest with Andrea and Nicole joining me shortly.
Andrea then lead the way, taking us up the ridge line along a gully of sorts. There was a bit of micro terrain to contend with but we eventually found a way over the gully and up onto the ridge line proper. This took us to a frozen lake that we skinned across and then continued up a creek bed. I took the lead again here and decided to aim for some higher ground beside the creek to avoid some of the deep unconsolidated snow we were experiencing.
Traversing high resulted in us having to lose some elevation gain in order to reach the next part of our route, so best to stick along the creek if you can. We dropped down briefly and then made our way up a short slope before traversing on open ridge line again. This eventually opened out to views of Rainbow and Puma, before cutting back West in between a sub-summit and the true summit.
The true summit was flanked by large bluffs on the south side and so we had to lead a longer circular route around to the back side. There, tamer terrain awaited us and we made quick work skinning the rest of the way to the top. From this point, I could see two summit options. Directly north was the summit as marked on the map. To the east was a point that looked nearly identical in height. I decided I’d have to tag both to rule it out.
We went for the north summit first and took some time absorbing the views. Then, I headed over alone to the next high point while Andrea and Nicole transitioned for skiing down. When I reached the stop, I conferred with my GPS and saw that I was 1 meter lower than the summit marked on the map. 1 meter is well within the margin of error for my device, so I can say definitively which is higher. Multiple sources mark the northernmost point as the highest, so that confirmed it for me after the fact.
I skinned back to join up with Nicole and Andrea for our run down. The plan was to ski as far down to Telemagique Lake as we could and then skin back up for one more run. We rode down on some amazing powder and made it to about 1600m before the terrain completely flattened out. It made more sense to head back up at this point, so we transitioned one more time and then skinned back towards the summit area. Andrea stayed back on the last run to get some rest and so Nicole and I headed up for the final run.
From the top we skiied back down to Andrea then all together skied back along the ridge for almost a kilometer. At the point the terrain became too flat and we had to put skins on again. We reversed our tracks with skins on until we reached the first lake we crossed at around 1400m. Here we knew it’d be all downhill, so we did one final transition and then skied down to the top of the cut block.
We all chose our own line through the cutblock hitting pillows and deep powder wherever we turned. Once at the base of the cutblock we skied down the spur road and then took the Callaghan FSR all the way back. All of us made it back just before 4:45PM, only 10 minutes or so after the sun had starting setting. A perfect way to end the day! Despite the extra steps in skinning/skiing I have to say nothing beats racing down a long service road at the end of a big day. That would have been an extra hour or two on snow shoes with no thrills to speak of.