I have attempted this summit three times and never had much success. The access has always been to sled up to around 4500 feet and start touring up the east side, the terrain has always been really steep and committing. Each time I have gotten to a spot where it’s time to push on but the terrain and conditions have told me to turn around. So we have made it progressively higher but never to the summit.
I discovered a plowed road that gives access to the North Cranberry creek. Judging by the maps it looked like a longer approach but a safer one. I had thought we would ski back out the way we toured in. But as the nine km of valley took longer and longer to tour up I began wondering if I did want to come back out this way. Finally after 4.5 hours we gained the col (where the red dots begin), by this time we were all beat but so much closer to the summit that we pushed on.
Winds have played havoc with the alpine and the tour up the ridge was like walking on Mars. Bullet proof frozen waves of snow. But we pushed on and soon enough we were skinning and boot packing up the summit. Wow years of waiting and now finally I was standing on the summit, not for long since it was 4.30 and we had a ways to go.
We skied down the east side and had bullet proof, "cock hard" skiing for the first 1500 feet and then we skied a small chute into the east proper and found some decent powder for the rest of this run. Some good turns down the entire bowl made up for the epic cross country ski we were about to embark upon.
By 5.30 we were on Coursier lake and the full moon was illuminating our way. We drank some water, then hit a logging road back to our car. The logging road was not great, it seemed to never quite go down, and occasionally went up. We were beat and hoping for a quick and easy exit. It never came so we put our heads down and walked our way down the road.
My first epic in a long time, 30 + km, 8000 feet and a new summit.