Because doing things the easy way is boring, I decided to try heading up to the summit of Ha Ling Peak on foot, all the way from town. That’s the way it was originally done by its namesake, so I’ve been meaning for a long time to do the full ascent. It would, perhaps, have been easier in summer though.
The temperature was hovering around -16oC in the valley, so I was really hoping for an inversion. It was jolly cold all the way up to the pass, and then interesting to get onto the trail. Huge snow drifts barred the way into the trees, but I waded through and hoped the going would get easier. It didn’t look like there’d been any foot traffic since the last snow, so I was slowed down to a slog. On the plus side, it started to get warmer and warmer as I climbed – an inversion, hurrah!
Although there were hoards in the Goat Creek car park, they all had skis and were heading in the other direction, so I had the whole mountain to myself. The only question would be whether I could actually make it past the treeline. There’s usually a section there with deep drifts of snow, before you reach the wind scoured scree slopes up higher.
Although the snow got deep, I could largely stay on the pre-compacted trail. The few times I lost it I immediately plunged into thigh-deep powder, and easily hauled myself out and back onto the proper trail again. That’s the only section I really wished for snow shoes. Beyond, the going was easy, and the summit was beautiful – warm and still, and gorgeous views. Well, comparatively warm.
And the only unfortunate part was having to descend into the cold weather again.
Elevation gain: 1324m