Trip Date: March 23, 2014
Participants: Ed Zenger, Geoff Zenger
Difficulty: 2/3 (steep near the top of Anif)
Report: With a few trips to Alpen Mountain under my belt in the last few years, the time finally came last Sunday for a trip to nearby Anif Peak and Mt. Mulligan, both just SE of Squamish. A small storm had rolled through town on Saturday and so we were hoping to do a short day trip to explore a new area and get some good turns. All requirements would be satisfied.
We left New Westminster around 8:30 and made our way up towards Squamish and turned at the apron parking lot to head up the Mamquam FSR. The turn off for Mt. Mulligan is about 6.8km from the highway, and can be identified by some concrete blocks from an old gate on either side about 10m up the road along with a small sign saying that the road is deactivated (note: there is another turn off to the right a couple hundred metres earlier on the Mamquam FSR. Ignore this one). We were able to drive about 1.8km up this road to a branch in the road where active logging is under way and where there was too much snow for us to continue. We parked here and headed up the left hand branch, which would in turn lead us up towards Anif and Mulligan.
Not more than 10m up the road, however, we encountered a young couple putting chains on their 4-runner who offered to give us a lift up as far as their truck could make it! We helped them sort out their chains, get them on the tires, loaded everything into the truck, and drove up the road another 100m before the road became impassible due to deep snow, thus saving us approximately 30m of climbing in exchange for only 45 minutes of effort. Not quite worth it, but we appreciated the thought nonetheless.
We started up the road at 11am, and by sticking to the main road and not taking any branches, an hour and a half later found ourselves heading into the valley that divides Mt. Mulligan (to the north / left) and Anif Peak (to the south / right). The snow in here was really sticky from the sun and I had forgot my skin wax at home. There are some great looking runs off of the shoulder of Anif Peak back into the valley, but we wouldn’t be tackling them today. At the end of the valley we zig-zagged up to the col between Anif and Mulligan and turned to the right to ascend Anif Peak. The ridge up Anif Peak consists of a number of benches with surprisingly steep steps (45 degree+) in between. They aren’t particularly long, and there isn’t any significant exposure, but it is something to keep in mind. Finally, just a few minutes after 2 we climbed to the top of the last step and made the quick jaunt over to the true peak, just a minute or two south of the false summit.
The views from the summit of Anif were great for the first few minutes, with excellent views of Habrich, Alpen, the Sky Pilot group, Watersprite and Mamquam areas, and so on. Unfortunately, a few minutes later clouds rolled in over Sky Pilot and Garibaldi and the views disappeared. So, after a break for lunch, it was time to ski back down to the Anif-Mulligan col and head up Mulligan as well. The skiing on the ridge was just fantastic! Great powder, great angle (unfortunately not very long).
We found ourselves putting our skins back on just before 3 o’clock and headed up the south ridge of Mulligan. The ridge has quite dense trees low down which made trail breaking tiring, and it was here that the fact that I was out at a friend’s stag the previous night hit me… the ridge seemed to go on forever even though the total elevation gain is less than 200m. We finally reached the summit of Mulligan a bit before 4 o’clock and both agreed that we were really happy that we went up Anif first because the summit of Mulligan isn’t much more than a rounded forested bump. Luckily, it has a good ski run down its Northwest ridge, which we followed to a large clearing (with mega sun crust) that led us back down to the road. The road was fast and we made it down in one piece for a total round trip time of 5:45. Not bad for two peaks and around 1200-1300m total elevation gain!
The route ended up being a lot more interesting than I imagined it would be ahead of time and would definitely recommend it for people looking for a good day out not far from Vancouver. You won’t see many crowds, and there are enough runs off of the side of Anif to keep someone with sufficient energy interested for a few laps.