Since traversing through the Goat Range in 1999, I’ve been thinking about going back to Mt Cooper. It stands above the surrounding mountains (10,151ft), an imposing and remote multi-peaked massif with a 6500′ skiable north face. Last Spring Jordy and I we’re repelled by a melted out road, Grizzly tracks and a lightning storm , but we’d worked out how to get in there, and were just waiting for clear skies and a stable snowpack to try again.
The snowmobiles made light work of the logging road access, and by noon Jordy, Randy, Kelly and I were setting up camp and drinking a beer in the sun.
It turned out that was the only hour of the trip we weren’t dealing with arctic tempertures. To keep warm and occupied we established a skin track into Spokane creek and marvelled at the old-growth forest, but were in our sleeping bags by 6.30pm.
We started our approach by moonlight at 5.00am, reaching the base of the north-face for sunrise.
Snow conditions transitioned from hoar-frosted powder to windpack as we ascended, ski-crampons coming in handy as my companions resorted to boot-packing through the seracs of the Spokane glacier.
A blustery north wind scoured the summit ridge, but we topped out at 1.00pm on a cloudless day, with several lifetimes of ski-adventures extending in every direction. Despite a few sketchy turns at the start I managed to ski off the summit, leading to smooth firm conditions, and 6500′ of variable wind-buff, compact powder, and hoar crystals, all the way down to McKian creek. Tired but very satisfied.