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Little Brother

In late June, I was posed with a very difficult question on where to head to get my shred on. I was still a bit bitter about the lack of options and rapid melt brought on by the two month period of mid-March to mid May, with things falling apart right when prime season finally comes. I was still trying to catch up from a spring of many plans, but little action to match (I had some really big plans…) But finally in June there was a couple weeks of good snow up high, and that weekend looked like another good chance to get up high and get something done I should’ve been doing in the spring. Plans changed though, and as the forecasted freezing levels rose, so did my objective. Finally, I decided that giving Bryce north face was maybe not such a stupid idea. Continue reading

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A Moment’s Notice

Another decent looking storm, another bit of high alpine pow to chase after! All of 12 hours before leaving Golden, I got in touch with Matt to see if he was keen for Mt. Joffre in K Country, an impressive peak and fun looking ski descent, but nothing too scary since I’m over that for a bit after an ultra-sketch descent of Bryce Center Peak and attempt on Bryce north face. Joffre’s a fair bit of slog though. At 4:30 am, we were walking away from the car to do a 1-day assault on knee cartilage and Joffre. Continue reading

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The White Elephant

On the summer solstice, Matt and I geared up for a one-day trip to the Jumbo icefield in the Purcells. Leaving Golden around 11pm, we made the long drive out to Farnham Creek then started down the remarkably well-defined trail from the road, down and across Farnham Creek, then up the outflow from the Commander Glacier and up the ridge of the lateral moraine to the scoured glacial bed. Around here, the sun rose and we scrambled up the last bit of loose scree to the snowy ascent route, pinched between Cleaver’s north ridge and the Commander Glacier. We followed the cruisy snow slopes all the way to the summit of East Guardsmen, a round, glaciated summit and started skiing west, towards Commander Mountain. Continue reading

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Farnham Redux

Back to Farnham, one of the few that got away. Mt Farnham is the tallest peak in the nearly 400km long Purcell Mountains. When Ian and I tried last March, we found a stout adversary, with ceaseless winds and hardly enough snow to cover the many chokes of the couloir. We made it up though, but the dream of linking the summit with the couloir remained for another time. I knew the summit block did fill in, I’d seen pictures in June. I figured it just needed that late spring snow, with nice high freezing levels so the snow that fell on the summit block would paste on instead of just blowing away. Continue reading

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Summits and Icefields

I’ve been waiting for the right time to do a big mission out on the Columbia icefield for a while. With this rapidly maturing spring making most peaks with a valley bottom approach an extra slog to get to, the season was right. And after the thermostat was stuck on high for so long, then a crucial cold snap happened, conditions for crevasse bridge trustworthiness were ideal. Then a little storm passed through and the weather went blue, time to go! Continue reading

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King of the Bush

The Bush Mountain massif has been the secondary objective of a few trips now. Last year, we were going to ski some of its three peaks (Rostrum 3284m, Icefall 3195m, Bush (peak) 3081m) after Arras peak on the other side of the valley, but ran out of weather window.  Then this April, Ian and I decided we would abuse the sleds on gravel one last time to do a long trip, skiing as many of the plethora of 3000m+ peaks in the upper Valenciennes River and Icefall Brook logging road systems over a full week, but were turned back by the state of the road, not enough snow to get the sleds over a large washout no matter how much roadbuilding and sweat we put in. So, with a short weather window, I decided to bike it now and concentrate my efforts only on Bush Mountain. Continue reading

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Redux

I hate unfinished business. I’ve felt Murchison taunting me since my poor routefinding and sleep-deprived state nixed my first attempt. I thought the route to the summit ridge could be feasible but never got the chance to give it the full inspection up close to know for sure. So I had to go back and close the door on this beast, either finding a way through or knowing for sure it wasn’t going to happen. Continue reading