Tag Archives: scrambling

Up the Duffey

Mountain Range SGD

One of my favourite things about living in the Whistler area is the fact that it only takes about 20 minutes drive to get away from the crowds.  Don’t get me wrong, Whistler is awesome.  It’s a lot of fun with an incredible amount of things to do in some of the best scenery around but lets not kid ourselves, it can get crowded.  That’s where a short sneaky drive north comes in handy.

Darkside Lake SGD

Down the Valley SGD

A couple of weeks ago we headed into the Duffey Lake area and we were planning to do a bit of a hike and a scramble and then chill out for the night.  There was an old decommissioned road which, fortunately for us, we could drive a decent way up.

Truck deep in scrub

This cut our hiking time down considerably which was good news as it meant we could justify carrying in a couple of extra beers! Crucial! The views were amazing from the get go!

Meadow with a View SGD

Up the Duffey

SC Stream 2 SGD

SC Stream SGD

Darkside Lake Avy Path SGD

Darkside lake Southern View SGD

It also meant we had a bit of extra time to scramble up some scree and see some pretty stunning views high about the lake!

Look across Darkside lake

Look across Darkside lake

It was steep and possibly a little sketchy…

Steep Traverse Darkside Lake SGD

Back at ascent

It was incredible being in such isolated and enormous terrain.

Sunshine Valley SGD

Looming Clouds SGD

During the course of our scramble we dislodged a rock or two and it was impressive and somewhat intimidating to see the path they took down the hill.  Definitely a no fall zone!

DI treads lightly SGD

Benny Traverses SGD

Trundle Time SGD

Scoping out the terrain, I cannot wait to get back here in the winter.  Some excellent skiing to be had, that is for sure!

We had a mixture of weather as well.  Three seasons that day at least.  We had a nice little downpour during dinner.  Gave us a good excuse to have some drinks and then in the early hours of the morning the skies cleared which was perfect!

SC Trees Night SKy SGD

Steep Creek ST SGD copy

An awesome overnight trip!

Darkside Lake & Chutes Pan SGD copy


Marriot Basin – Stunning

MB Pan 1

Finally – the Marriot Basin post.  It took me a little longer than expected to write, it’s been a busy week.

The Marriot Basin is possibly one of the best hikes I have done.  It is an absolutely stunning area, a relatively simple hike and very little traffic mid-week (although I’m told if you head up there Saturday/Sunday or in the winter can be quite busy).

The trail-head is just past the Joffre Lakes parking lot so it took us a little over an hour to get there from Whistler.  We had a low-clearance vehicle so we had to park at the beginning of the forest service road.  This added two kilometres to our trek.  In a 4WD it would be easy to get all the way to the trail-head.

Once onto the trail, it was relatively easy going for the most part.  There is a very steep section that lasted about 30-45 minutes and a couple of sketchy river crossings that needed a bit of care.  The ground was fairly muddy and boggy which tested out the quality of our shoes.

MB river x pies

MB Boulder xing

After hiking for about 90 minutes we stumbled out into a clearing and we were greeted by a beautiful meadow with a great view up the valley.  I could easily have camped here and been stoked with the scenery but the lake was our ultimate goal so on we trekked.

MB Meadow GS 1

MB Meadow FaLL

Once at the lake were circumnavigated it in a clockwise direction, steered away from it to have a look at the Wendy Thompson Hut.

Wendy T Hut Group

This hut would be an awesome spot in the winter and I think I will definitely try to get back there.  While the rest of my crew had lunch near the hut, I went for a bit of a scramble to see if I could spot the best campsite near the lake.

MB Lake view 1

MB Lake shot

Lake shot 2

We headed to a clearing next to the river that flows out of the lower end of the lake.  It was the perfect site.  Flat, close to water, ridiculously good vistas and a good spot for a campfire (make sure you always check the fire restrictions before you head out there).

MB Sunny Peak

It was a warm sunny evening so naturally I thought it was a brilliant idea to wade across the river instead of walking the long way round.  Hmmmm, maybe it wasn’t my brightest moment.  It was COLD!  I was breathless instantly and the water wasn’t even above my waist.  The upside of this freezing water was that it chilled our beers very quickly.

MB river x pies

It only took my friend,MB Marmot who was in charge of the fire, about an hour to start it.  While he was doing that, I decided that, rather than be helpful, I should explore the area.

MB falls 1

MB Falls 2

MB Falls 3

MB River Valley view

MB Valley MTN View

Once he finally got it going, we settled in to eat, drink, talk nonsense and star gaze (the sky was cloudless and stunning) for the evening.

Fire Pan

The next day we attempted a scramble up one of the closer slopes.  Due to an injury and the extreme gradient 75% of the group called it quits and headed back to camp.  Being the stubborn fool I am I charged up the hill until I had a view that satisfied me.  It would have been awesome to summit the peak.  Not to worry, it just gives me a good reason to head back.

Mb Valley V1