"The cabin should be right around that area" I tell Adam, my touring partner for the last month or two, still unsure if we'd actually find it before going up this behemoth of a mountain.
The day is May 10th, 2020, its around 2pm, and we've been touring for an hour to approach the bottom of Cayoosh Mountain.
Our first goal of the day was to find this hidden cabin in the woods, one we had been searching for last time we were around but without success.
"See where those tracks go?" I said, unconvinced but hopeful.
After peeking in the woods for a bit, Adam finally sees something that looks human-made.
"Looks like an outhouse for it" he told me. And there it was, right next to that old and not-too-friendly-looking toilet in the woods, the Cabin we'd been talking about for a while.
Finally found it!
We entered, took a peek inside and decided to continue on our journey.
Mind you, at this point I was already feeling the friction of my pinky toes and heels in my boots. My feet weren't ready for what was to come yet, but I sure was.
We started our ascension in the somewhat dense woods, in a steep pitch, with little to no clue as to where exactly we were on the mountain. But we knew we were making it to the top.
"I should've put my beacon on" I remember telling myself, already noticing how the snow kept sliding under my feet on every kick-turn i attempted.
The first section was actually the hardest, with the both of us having to watch every step we made in order to make sure our skins were gripping.
Most people would have taken an easier route, but Adam isn't most people, and I'm actually crazy enough to follow him every time.
"I hate you Adam!" I yelled, after slipping a good 4 feet and scaring the f*ck out of myself.
"That's the first time you've said it today" he said jokingly, used to my not-too-serious complaining.
Steep and slippery ascension through dense woods
Right before we got out of the woods I quickly put my beacon on, went a little further up and we sat down for a break with a view.
I noticed my skins were dripping wet, which was no surprise according to how easily I was slipping during the first part of the day.
We ate a little bit, smoked a joint and went on our way.
Need I say more?
Just a little after we started hiking I heard a noise in the distance.
"Is that the sound of an avalanche?" I asked
"Yeah I can see it! On the mountain in front of us! It's still falling" said Adam
Little did I know that would be the first of many throughout the day.
As the view got better and better, the warning signs of avy danger got even more frequent.
At this point I remember feeling so full of joy. The views surrounding us and the thrill of being totally alone on a giant mountain was unreal to me. It was pure, ultimate freedom.
Then I noticed something on a section we weren't exposed to:
"Have you seen this cornice? Looks like its about to fall"
"Yeah seems like a part of it already did"
Fortunately we both knew what were doing, and I asked Adam to revise our strategy during one of our water breaks to make sure we were both on the same page in case anything happened.
We got to a small ridge and took a couple pictures before we kept going. The rock formations around us were unreal. It was such a thing of beauty.
Adam scoping our approach
We were following other people's skin track from the morning until we saw a big slab on our path:
The guys before us went directly through the slab...
"Are they crazy?" I remember asking myself, knowing full well that they put themselves in a dangerous situation that I wasn't ready to put myself into.
Both of us knew we had to find a safer way around, which is what we did after a couple deliberations on the best way to access the top from where we were.
We still had to be quick on the safest way around
"How far should we go Adam?"
"I don't know, let's get over that roller first, I really want to stand in between those two giant peaks"
"Fair enough, let's go"
After getting over the convexity we saw more avy debris on the facade in front of us, as well as the continuation of our skin track a little further below.
At this point the view was just so absurd we almost couldn't believe it.
We were right in the middle of two massive rock formations, completely alone. It was peaceful.
The avy noises were loud enough that we couldn't really find out in which direction they were. Strange.
Had to take a panorama just to get both peaks in one picture
"Should we go for that last push to the top?" I asked.
"Well sure, I ain't no bitch!" said Adam, laughing.
It was around 5pm at that moment. The sun sets late in may but we still had to be quick to get the best views and snow possible.
Back on the skin track, I felt like we were in a bit of an exposed spot but I still felt safe enough to keep going.
I would've said that we distanced each other for safety but it's mostly due to the fact that no one can follow Adam. Still.
My favourite picture from that day, that's me right there
We came around the last few zig-zags of the day and it was at that moment that we decided to go see over a ridge just a little further to our left.
"Look how fast the snow freezes in the shade" remarked Adam.
"Ah shit that's no good" I murmured to myself, thinking the way down wouldn't be that great.
Anyway, the best part was yet to come, and we were almost there.
Adam on the last push of the day
Once we got to the ridge, we were flabbergasted by the view and took a couple pictures before getting ready to go down.
I noticed a lot of avy debris down from the ridge we were standing on. Probably what we were hearing on our way up but couldn't see.
It was in that moment that I felt pure bliss, like that four-and-a-half-hour hike was so much more than that. Like I could accomplish anything I wanted in life. It just seemed so easy for a second.
I had forgotten the pain in my boots, the moments of self-doubt along the way, the danger around us. It was surreal.
Sorry for another panorama but I felt it was worth it. Can you spot Adam?
Back to reality, I sank in the view one last time before saying goodbye and clicked into my skis, ready to go.
The snow was pretty crusty but it didn't stop us from having a blast as always. I mean, it's skiing right?
We got back to the car, boots completely dirty from walking in the mud at the end of the trail.
I had never felt so much pain from taking my boots off. But in the realm of things it didn't really matter.
"What a fucking day" I declared
"Couldn't have said it better myself" said Adam.
To end on a perfect note we got an awesome car ride in the sunset and the mountains of Pemberton.
On the way back from the trail
"I'd live here" said Adam. "I like my solitude in the mountains"
He was definitely right. Its days like these that make it so hard to leave this place, but coming back so great.
Hell yeah bro!
As I'm writing this, it's a week later and i'm in the airport waiting for my flight home.
My feet still hurt from the blisters I got, and for the first time in a while my mind feels alleviated of all troubles, thanks to that day on May 10th, 2020.