Post subject: Washington/BC road trip: reclaiming our snow
Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:38 am
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:55 am Posts: 1009 Location: Wasatch
By now everyone knows that this winter has sucked for most of the western US. The wasatch has been warm and windy with a few good days but nothing special. The season has been rough for a lot of people and the deaths of local riders like Alecs and legends like Steve Romeo have kept me on mellow terrain here in Utah. We had planned on going to the Baker Splitfest to demo some Chimera boards and it just so happened that the week before was my spring break. Our plan changed several times but we had a good crew and a game plan for 7 or 8 days of riding. At the last minute Bucky had to pull out of the trip and we scrambled to put together plan D.
Jason and I drove out to Enumclaw for a few days of riding around crystal before we picked Alister up from Sea-tac as he had been in AK for a few days. The first day was spent checking out the area and getting our legs under us. we ran into a super friendly group of splitters that offered to show us around we had just finished a break as they started theirs and we told them if we saw them at the top we would follow them around. Somehow we never ran into them again so I didn't get to thank them for the hospitality so if that was you-thanks. Jason and I took some runs in cement basin and rode a really fun gully. The sun went away and it started puking and the run back down East Peak was pretty great! we did manage to get a little lost in a wall of trees but made it out unscathed to the parking lot.
Not in Utah anymore
After some chinese food at the Four Season's we watched Super Bad at the hotel and called it a night. The next morning we hooked up with Kyle Miller and his friend Boot. He promised to show us the good and he delivered! Super good turns and awesome terrain. We had to bail early to head to seattle so after three runs we parted ways and Jason and I took a wild exit down to the road. Thanks again to Kyle and Boot for breaking trail and letting us snake first turns!
Kyle coming out of the white room
We picked Alister up and headed north towards Canada. We crashed at Alister's brothers house and had a mellow morning being tourist around Deep Cove and getting some breakfast. After a walk along the cove we started packing our bags to head into Keith's Hut. We left a little later than we thought we would and got to Pemberton around 2:30pm. The weather wasn't bad but as we got further up the Duffey Lake Road the weather got worse. I had assumed Keith's was a busy hut and that there would be a trail to follow and their was which was super nice as we were a little worried about finding the hut. We lost the skinner near the toe of the glacier and wallowed around for a minute as the wind and snow pounded us and had drifted a lot of new snow. As we neared the toe of the moraine we saw two skiers standing in a 2 foot deep crown that had fractured about 40 feet. This ended up being a psychological factor for us and we probably played the next day much safer than we need too. However we did see another avalanche about the same size get triggered near the cabin and on the final day saw a very large avalanche come off somewhere high on Joffre.
Originally we had four days planned at the hut, but plan D consisted of two days touring at the hut which turned out to be perfect as we got to ride Crystal, and scored blower the first day in BC and full on blue bird on the next day. After a crowded first night we awoke to cloudy skies but it wasn't as windy we made a short run above the cabin and realized how deep it really was. An hour or so later we were standing on a ridge across the creek and scoring some of the best turns i've ever had. We got a few laps on this before the sun came out and started to consolidate things.
Crossing Cerise Creek
Touring in some BC Blower
Jason riding pow with lots of sparkling stuff in the air
J coming out of some steeper trees
Alister with some cool powder clouds
We had planned on riding some of the lines off of Vantage Ridge, but ended up heading mellow terrain to a small col. This aspect had the most sun exposure and the snow was much more dense than it was earlier in the day. Still the view were great as joffre and matier started to show themselves and it felt good to get up a little higher. The ride down was fun and fast and all three of us "launched" a small cliff on the way down.
Joffre Shoulder and the Moraine Below
Some of our tracks from the morning
Where we were going
Our water bottles were running low at this point so we headed back to the hut for some water and food. The sun started to great lower in the sky and we headed up the Joffre shoulder to get a run in before sunset. The lighting was amazing and the scenery up there was unreal. The turns we good and we still managed to get some face shots lower down in the trees.
Duffey Roadside Terrain
Alister stoked on the steep ridge in the background
As it got dark we headed back to the hut to cook dinner and hang out. I could kill myself for not bringing my remote timer as the skies went totally clear and the stars were incredible over Joffre and Matier. The morning dawned clear and everyone in the hut was excited. A group of Japanese were planning on something around the anniversary glacier. Two Spaniards were heading for Matier NW face and the broke trail for us all the way up the Glacier I never did hear what the other two American's in the hut were planning but I know they wanted something big off of Joffre. I had initially suggested Keith's Hut so we could ride Matier or the Aussie couloir, but we figured in the interest of time(we needed to be out to the road earlier afternoon so we could drive down to Baker) we would have to settle on just riding the Glacier. that being said getting first tracks down Anniversary will go down as one of my all time favorite runs i've ever had. Riding something that big and wide was amazing. The top pitch from the Col down is pretty mellow but is big and sustained that you can fly down it. The visuals skinning up and riding down will be burned in my memory forever. Plus the snow was great.
*I did a classic rookie move with my camera and forgot to check the lens. A layer of condensation had formed on my filter, somehow I over looked that and thought it was moisture on the LCD screen protector. So there is a weird fog effect in the following pics. it sucks but at least it didn't totally ruin the shots.
Matier in the morning light
Jason looking at Anniversary Glacier from the shoulder
Matier from the Col
A slice of the almighty Coast Range
Jason Shredding an all-time run
Mellow but Epic
We packed up and skinned up the Joffre Shoulder with heavy bags on. A bailed off the ridge back towards the road and got another 1000ft or so of riding. An hour ski out and we were at the car. On the way out Alister educated Jason and me on Poutine, so we stopped in Squamish for some gravy and fries and I have to say I am a fan. We rolled into our cabin in Glacier,WA around 10pm. After some dinner and a soak in the hot tub I retreated to the creepy downstairs bunk bed room. The next morning was spent waxing boards and getting stuff ready for demo's at the splitfest. Sometime after noon we got our grear ready and head up to Baker. We got a 2pm start but still got three laps in before heading back down to Glacier. We left a little early to get down to Chair 9 Bar to get some demo boards out, but the hot tub was calling our name. We got to the splitfest a little late but the crowd was awesome and the Chimera swallowtail drew a fair amount of attention. It was also fun to meet some longtime online friends IRL.
Alister looking for snow
Russman checking out the Mace
The next day we got a little bit earlier start and it was crazy to see 30+ splitboarders heading up the skin track at the same time. We wanted to get away from the crowd and ride the aesthetic mt. ann. We took a bonus run on the way there and ended up in line behind 4 or 5 other people heading up Ann. They all rode the main shot from the summit so we traversed over to the chute. The day before we could see a few tracks in it, but the chute is wide enough to hold a few tracks and the apron was largely untouched. It felt good to ride a steep chute with a glorious apron finish. After that we headed back to the resort area and took a home run in Little Alaska. The splitfest raffle event was packed with people and gear! Pretty cool to see splitboarding draw a crowd that big. Chair 9 was a great host and the food was killer. I can't wait for next years splitfest.
100 year slide in baker ski area
Jason and Al on top of Ann
Alister dropping in
I didn't take any photos Sunday but we did a half day tour and took a lap with BCrider. All in all that was probably the best week of riding i've ever had. super bummed Bucky couldn't make it, but there's always next time. We were blessed to get such a good weather window. Big thanks to everyone that showed us around, hung out with us, demoed a Chimera, and the crew from Prior and Jones.
hey dan--- that was us you ran into your first day at crystal. it was me (fitzie), johnny haze, and z-bone. sorry we didn't get to connect later on. you guys headed up east pk and we went over to what we call ODB (old dudes bowl). glad you got some of the good stuff too.
baker rocked. wish we would have kicked it at the event more. got too hashed out from a cake-pop and only lasted 15 minutes at chair 9 on saturday night. retreated back to cabin for a mellow eve on the sofa perched in front of the wood stove.