I have been there twice. It is a spectacular area especially if you make your way to the Tonquin Valley. From the parking lot, close to the Marmot Basin Ski Resort It's 12 km to the pass following Portal Creek. Both times I was there in February ; There was a few feet of snow and breaking trail was necessary. You can take some turns once you reach Maccarib pass. It is quite a wide area but most runs are not steep. I guess if you look around you could find something for every level. You need skins to cross the pass or it will be exhausting climbing in deep snow. You could continue ski-touring to the Dixon Lodge about another 12 km (?) from the pass. There is also the Wates-Gibson Hut and another lodge by Athemyst Lake in the area.
You can also go to the Tonquin Valley via the Edith Cavel Road a steady climb uphill. You can stay at the Hostel using the road that is closed in winter to cars. It's a 12 km ski trip. From there you can go to the Wates-Gibson Hut using the Astoria river trail. The hut is great and there is a lot to tour around the hut. You have to melt your own snow for water. When I was there during the February long weekend, I found it slightly crowded. The hut can be very smelly in winter as everyody is trying to dry their clothing and dirty socks around the fire. (A friend of mine said that when he used the Edith Cavel Road in the winter of 2006 there was a cross-country trail made by a skidoo)
|My other backcountry trips:
Edith Cavel-Tonquin Valley
The beginning of the trail to Edith Cavel Hostel a 12 km uphill trail
The charming and warm Cavel Hostel in winter
There is nothing like bacon and eggs in a winter cabin
Going through the bush and deep snow
Spectacular meadows nearing the Maccarib pass
Falls can be painful with a heavy backpack.
Bridge crossing ? Portal Creek?
Another bridge to cross.
The confortable sleeping cabins at Dixon's
Spectacular view of the Maccarib pass and the mountains surrounding it
The Remparts by Amethyst Lake
a trail getting to Amethyst Lake
Along the trail to the Dixons cabin
Inside the Wates-Gibson Alpine Club hut