Seven people joined the Ramblers' trip to the Beaufort Range's Mt Joan . Ken was kind enough to meet us at the Cook Street turn off and provide an additional 4x4 to reach the trail head for Mount Joan. The forecast called for a low cloud ceiling and temperatures as low as 0 at around 1600 meters.
At the beginning of the hike the conditions were cool but dry, we quickly climbed the old logging road, admiring the peed-a-boo views of the valley below. As we climbed higher, snow started appearing on the old road and may of the smaller alder trees were bend across the trail, this slowed us somewhat but we made steady progress. It was around an hour and a half into the hike at 1080 meters that the route began to get steeper and the snow piled higher and deeper; so much so that we quickly lost the summer route's flagging.
Progress became challenging as the snow became deeper as our altitude increased. The snow was soft and the group formed a chain of individuals kick stepping our way up the steeper portions of our path, the leader frequently switching out allowing each person to take a turn leading the group.
As we hit the 1200 meter mark at two hours into the hike, snow began to fall. Slowly at first but eventually as we reached the summit of Mount Joan at 1pm the snow was flying in the wind and into our faces.
As is the case with many mountain hikes, the descent was much quicker. Many of the hikers chose to glissade down the steeper sections of the hike providing a great deal of levity for the hikers.
In total the we hiked for 7 hours, 10 km and included 1187 metres of walking up!