A brief window of good weather on the weekend found us out in the Chilliwack Valley. Lindsay and I had not climbed anything in Chilliwack since fall of last year, so it was good to be back and looking at some awesome northern Cascade peaks.
Our objective for the weekend was Goetz Peak just north of the more prominent and taller Williams Peak. At over 30km and 2000m elevation gain, it was a long haul – but Dan broke trail most of the way!
The trail to the ridge is fairly steep, we did not need snowshoes for this part but as we neared the top of the ridge they became necessary. We slogged up Williams Ridge and spent the night south of the peak, the next morning saw a 5:30AM wake up with a spectacular sunrise. We followed the ridge north of Williams Peak towards Goetz, which felt longer than it looked…
Much of the route was easy travel, however, there were a few sections that weren’t for the faint of heart. Some of the largest cornices we have seen were hanging on and around the route. There was some nice but rolling ridge walking on the summit block approach. The final summit block is a bit of a more challenging scramble, and we relied on our ice axes as aid to reach to top, summiting Goetz by 9:30AM. Views were awesome in all directions, but the high-clouds ruined the lighting a bit and there were strong winds, so we didn’t stay on the peak for long. We made our way back down to the base of the summit block where we dug a little hole and had breakfast.
Returning a slightly different route by dropping in the bowl south of Williams and back up to the ridge where our tent was. Back to the truck by 5:30 for a solid weekend out.
Although I’m still not sure how to properly pronounce it, Goetz Peak is a somewhat prominent bump on the ridge stretching north from Williams Peak, and offers great views of the Chilliwack Lake Peaks, the Cheam Range, and the northern Cascades.
The weather was looking pretty good for the weekend, and after switching plans from a trip out to Sphinx Glacier, we were heading to Chilliwack late in the morning.
Saturday was a lazy day, and we wandered up to Williams Ridge, strapping the snowshoes on 3/4 of the way up the steep trail. The snow was not the greatest, but Dan literally broke trail the entire way, so I cannot complain.
After a few breaks and some rests we reached camp on a small knoll to the west of Williams Peak. The sun had been flirting with us all day and put on a great show for sunset.
First views of Williams Peak.
Rolling clouds and a setting sun never disappoint me in the mountains – the view always seems as if it were a painting.
Evening light and dancing clouds on the Cheam Range.
Sun setting over Chilliwack Valley from camp.
Camp beneath Williams peak.
Sunday we slept in until 6AM and began trekking for Goetz Peak.
We should have lingered at camp for sunrise, as the brief glimpse we got while traversing slopes to the west of Williams were superb, but we made good time with the morning snow.
Sunrise on Rexford and Slesse.
We travelled north to the col between Williams Peak and the prominent knoll to the west, and dropped some elevation into the bowl NW of Williams. From here, we easily gained the north ridge.
Dropping into the bowl.
There is one more bump along the ridge towards Goetz, which sported some massive cornices.
A massive cornice on Williams north ridge.
Over this bump and then an easy approach to the final summit block of Goetz. A long traverse for 5 minutes of fun snow climbing!
Lindsay gaining the ridge.
Views from the ridge looking NE to sunshine.
Dan on the final summit block.
The views from the summit were awesome and the lighting was constantly changing.
Summit panorama looking south to Williams and the north Cascades.
Looking east. Mount Northgraves in the foreground.
Cheam Range in the sunshine.
Mount Redoubt south of Chilliwack Lake.
The summit was windy, so we dug out a pit below the final step and ate a few snacks.
Heading back along the ridge to camp.
On the return, we opted to avoid the bump on the ridge and dropped 150 m lower into the same bowl NW of Williams. Lots of sidehilling and deep powder in the trees. Fun in snowshoes…
From the bowl, we climbed a steep ~130m gully full of thigh deep powder. Never-mind the first part about Dan breaking all the trail, I broke this half hour section and it was hell : )
The gully we used is the first to the right of the rock face.
We were now on the ridge trending NW from the prominent knoll west of Williams and it was an easy plod back to camp.
Nothing to note on the return except the splendid views of Rexford, Slesse, and the Chilliwack Lake Peaks.
Rexford looking awesome with its winter coat.
Slesse looking sexy.
Great views and easy access to the alpine, will surely return for more adventures (Williams north face looks fun!).