Friday, April 13, 2012

Canadian Rockies: Snow

After ice climbing near Field we drove to Golden and traded the ice tools for skis. That night we met up with the 11 other folks, largely from Washington, who were joining us for a week long trip to the Fairy Meadows Hut in the Adamant Range of the Selkirk Mountains. A helicopter is required to access this remote hut and the following day we were suited up for the flight in.

 Flying In. The Hut is Located in the Trees in the Center of the Photo.

Unloading the A-Star


It took four flights to fly the 14 of us, 6 Canadians, and all our gear into the hut. After the last flight we wasted no time in putting on the skis and checking out our new surroundings.

Over the next 7 days we skied an incredible mix of alpine terrain and trees. If only the avalanche conditions had been more stable...

 Morning in the Alpine

 Seth Waterfall

Solveig Waterfall

 Eric Stevenson

Cooper Self


Our Home for a Week
(Hut is visible in the trees in center of photo). 

Heading into the Alpine

Seth and Solveig


Just before we arrived at Fairy Meadows about 3 inches of surface hoar had been buried by close to three feet of snow. The avalanche danger quickly rose from low to high and we were relegated to mellow slopes and tree skiing. There was a group of Canadians at the hut with us and on the first day one of them remotely triggered this sizable avalanche when he head planted into the opposing slope.



 Seth Examining the Huge Surface Hoar Crystals

The second day the Canadians triggered this monster on their way up and one of them took a short ride in the side of the avalanche. Mellow glacier skiing was all we could safely do in the alpine.

 Dave Bell. Keeping it Safe



Glacier Travel

Discussing Options

 Mountains up North Never End
 Mt Robson

Hut Below

This is a nice sequence of Seth, Eric, and Solveig.

We also did some skiing down valley.

Aaron Mainer


 Aaron Mainer


View From Kitchen Window



 Max Bunce

 Aaron. Weightless

On the last morning we awoke to cloudy skies and increasing snowfall. Weather was too poor to fly us out so we took full advantage of our bonus day, racking up over 7,000 feet of powder skiing in the trees.


Somewhere in the Middle of 7,000 Feet of Pow


We awoke the next morning to more snow and were placed on standby again. We had little food left and things were about to get ugly. We feasted on as much powder as our hungry bodies would allow and then waited. Early in the afternoon the helicopter came in, floating above the tops of the trees. Using the trees as his landmarks, and flying low, the pilot made the five flights required to get us out and the next group in. 

Bell and Coop Waiting to Fly

Flight Out

Leah, Aaron, and Cooper. Heading Out

This is a link to a short video I made about the trip:

A Video Eric Made:

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