Roe Peak

Elevation Gain: ~1500m
Distance: 20km
Total Time: 1 day (including overnight)
Date: March 23rd, 2024

When we set off on Saturday evening up the snow covered remainder of Shovelnose Creek FSR, we had big plans in mind. Plans that necessitated at least 40lbs-50lbs of gear each. The road was in great condition though and we slowly made our way up towards the top. As we crested over one of the final cutblocks the view of our objective: Mt. Fee finally came into sight. But it did not project an image of confidence. A massive crown bifurcated the steep upper slopes we were intending to take to the summit ridge. None us had encountered hang fire like this before and we didn’t have the confidence to say whether it was safe or not. Collectively, we decided this was not our time for Mt. Fee and decided we should proceed no further in that direction.

Heading down the road
The Vulcan’s Thumb and Cayley SE1
Andrea skinning up
Our first view of Mount Fee from the upper cut blocks
Entering the forest now
Mount Fee from some nearby meadows
Beautiful lighting as the sun set
The huge avalanche crown and our proposed line in green

I had planned for such a situation though and researched some nearby back up options before the trip. Not far from Cypress Peak, an unofficially named summit called Roe Peak would make for a nice alternative. I never recalled a notable summit on the way up Cypress Peak back in 2020, but it’s over 100m in prominence so it will at least count for something. With that we found a nice platform on a nearby ridge and setup camp for the night. We’d take off around first light armed with much lighter packs and make our way to Roe Peak.

Night time at our camp spot
Sunrise from the tent

My alarm went off around 6:20am, but no one else budged so I promptly passed out again. It wasn’t until a full hour later that the camp began to stir and we finally got moving. Andrea and I geared up in skis and Alex in his snow shoes and headed east to contour around one of the many rolling ridges. As we neared the long ridge up to Roe, we had to drop down into a large icy bowl and continue traversing around to regain the ridge. Alex wisely stayed low, meanwhile I thought I spotted an easy bench to traverse higher up. This proved incorrect and I soon found myself skating across bullet hard crust in search of flatter terrain. Andrea followed me and had the same regrets, but we soon reached the ridge and easier skinning terrain.

Alex breaking trail ahead
Andrea coming up behind
Roe Peak is the high point just left of Cypress Peak with a bit of sun hitting it
Contouring around this bowl
Andrea managing the icy conditions

From the ridge, we traversed on the north side of small sub peak and then back onto the ridge one last time. Finally it was a short drop down and then an easy ascent to the true summit. Notably, a cat track ran all the way to the top. It seems this area has many visitors despite not hearing much about the peak online.

Alex on the ridge
Phyllis’ Engine visible just left of the Black Tusk
Following some snowmobile tracks now
Andrea coming down a short step on the ridge
Just a short stint to the top now

We hung out for awhile as the skies were perfectly clear and I couldn’t help but start planning a hundred different adventures into areas I hadn’t visited yet. Finally, it’s time to descend and I opted to ski down with the skins on while Andrea transitioned. I skinned back up the small set of drops to the top of ridge north of the summit and then Andrea and I joined up and skied all the way down to a small lake a few hundred meters north. While we got our skins back on Alex quickly caught up and then we walked together back to the tents.

Alex on the summit
Cypress Peak stealing the show. Tricouni Peak at left
Mount Fee looks improbable from this angle
Alex descending and Andrea skiing down
Andrea getting some ski turns in above our camp!
Andrea looking cute as always

It took about 30 minutes to pack everything up and then we engaged survival skiing mode through the forest. With 40lb+ packs on this, proved to be the crux of the trip. Alex actually beat Andrea and I to the cut block, but once we were on the road we could ski non stop all the way back to the truck. 15 minutes later Alex had caught up and that concluded a bittersweet attempt on Mount Fee. I’ll be back as soon as conditions allow, that’s for sure.

Post forest-survival-skiing

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