Race – Joffre Enchainment in a Day

Nick and I had the day off and set our sights in climbing each of the three peaks that circle the Matier Glacier on the Duffy Lake Road in less than 12 hours; a mission partially inspired by the Ceriese Creek -> Joffre Lake Traverse by Stano F in this spring.

Stonecrop Face of Slalok from Upper Joffre Lake; Nick midway up the face after the icepatch; Nick leading the way up the final steep section to the summit.
We started from the Joffre Lakes parking lot at 7:30a and made good time to the fork in the trail at Upper Joffre Lake. Here we took off our runners and put on mountain boots to start up the talus below the Stonecrop Face of Slalok. We talked about finishing down Ceriese Creek past Keith’s Hut but decided to commit to coming back the way we came and left our shoes at the trail.  The face was smooth going on snow almost the entire way to the summit. One small patch of ice midway up the face broke up the cramponing.

NW Face of Matier; We passed a party of three near the top of the face; Summit of Mt. Matier.
Descending Slalok we noticed a party of climbers on Matier’s NW Face – our next route. We ran across the glacier as fast as we could in our boots and started up the face.
We stayed right towards the top of the face and climbed good snow all the way to the summit ridge. A quick rock scramble and we were on the ridge for lunch. Descending Matier via the standard East Ridge was easy but we took it slow because of a monster crevasse below us.

A view of the S. Buttress of Joffre from Matier, Our descent route was the snowy Couloir; Nick scrambling an easier ection of the Buttress; Scrambling the Buttress crest with Matier in the background; Midway through the climb we used the rope for three steeper pitches; Summit shot on Joffre.
We ran toward the S. Buttress of Joffre and started scrambling up. About midway up the rock steepens and we climbed three pitches of loose blocks that seemed ready to peel away from the mountain. After a rest on the summit we descended the Aussie Couloir on the West side of the mountain. Normally an easy snow gully, two sections had melted out completely requiring slow, carefull scrambling in our crampons down dirty, gravel covered rock slabs. Back on the glacier, we ran toward the icefall and descended the rock shelves and morraine on skiers right.

Descending the Matier Glacier; View of Joffre Lakes; Slalok reflecting in Middle Joffre Lake.
After changing back into tennis shoes we charged down the trail, running the last few kilometers to make our 12 hour goal.

Google Map of our route; Elevation profile; Summary statistics.
Gear Notes:

  • Trail Running Shoes for the approach were crucial. We changed into boots at Upper Joffre Lake but having my Inov-8 X-Talon 212s at the end was awesome.
  • We used two ice tools each but I would rather have brought 1 tool and carried small one axe like the BD Venom.
  • We did not bother roping up on the Matier Glacier.
  • The rope and a light rack were perfect for the S. Buttress of Joffre.
  • Patagonia Houdini was a perfect windbreaker for each summit snack break.
  • Ski poles were nice for the run along the approach trail.


  • 2 GU Gels = 220 cal
  • 2 GU Chomps = 360 cal
  • 1 Package crackers = 130 cal
  • 2 Small Burritos = 600 cal
  • Total = 1,310 cal Consumed During Exercise
  • 5 L Water

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *