Begbie Unlike Ever Before

DSC_1661.jpg Mt-Begbie is Revelstoke’s mountain, it is the face of our town. It adorns the newspaper and many other business logos in town. Its the only mountain viewed from town that has glaciers spilling off it. This mountain overshadows town and we love it.It is high on the tick list of many Revelstokians.
Today I went out with the intention of soloing up its east ridge and skiing down the North east face, a hanging snowfield that I have never skied before. I didn’t really think I was going to ski it today either but I liked the daydream. I toured up quickly from  2000 feet to 7500 feet  where I had to begin boot packing up the steep face to the col. It was perfect boot packing, one kick Styrofoam snow. I was up at the col in no time and looking south into the Monashees to see if I could spot the Traversees.(Dave,Jay,James, Chris who I left at Gates peak two days ago) I couldn’t see them so I tried my confidence on the east ridge. Booting up to where the first rock moved begin I started to not feel as confident. The rock move is a high stem across a void and into some steeper snow. Lacking the confidence to solo it I turned and shredded down the col and wound around to the North West glacier.  777.jpg

Although I lacked the confidence to solo up the ridge I decided on going up the North West glacier, I have skied this line three times but never climbed up it. The snow was so perfect for bootpacking that I set myself up and booted up the glacier and onto the ridge. The snow was still perfect, one kick and voila a perfect step. I traveled up quickly, I soon crested the glacier and was looking at the final headwall to the ridge.  This was one of my worries about summitting from this side. Its a steep 40+ headwall that has a cornice hanging over it. But as luck would have it the cornice was small and the headwall had slid with the last avalanche cycle. So I crossed the bergshrund and was up on the ridge in now time. From there it was  a long and rhymed up ridge to the summit, serious exposure but great footing led me to the summit. From here I looked long and hard for my friends but never saw them. Skiing back down the way I came up I had some chalky turns that were fun and fast.DSC_2585.jpg

Needing a bit more vertical I skied down to 5600 feet and then toured back up to the glacier. Somehow; in the hour I was in the lower elevations, some sledders had come and terrorized the area. Sledding almost up to the high col. Its amazing what these boys can do, although they didn’t come close to the summit!

In the last hour the Traversees had come around the corner and I met up with them at 7200′. Dave mentioned that he was curious about skiing the NE face, I jumped at the chance. Perhaps all the daydreaming about the line would bring it to fruition.

DSC_2588.jpgWe toured and boot packed back up to the col and up my steps to my high point.  From here I was hoping that Dave would lead the way but somehow I ended up on the short end. Funny how I was scared while solo, yet confident with my friend.  Great bootpacking led up the ridge and to the summit, only from the east this time! From here we carved chalky turns down the exposed face and approached the choke.  As we got closer I could see blueish ice above the rocks, not glacial but a rain layer. Something that our skis would not carve into. So sitting half way down the face we had a dilemma, either climb up and out or downclimb the ice and get to the decent snow below. While sitting there figuring out our plan we laughed at ourselves and so did our friends who were 1000 feet below and watching us. Dave led the downclimb and we got through unscathed. I was so excited about having descended the NE face that I could ignore the fact that I will have to come back and get it when its good. But still I can’t believe I finally skied the NE face of Begbie.DSC_2580.jpg

Great day 11760 feet of fantastic mountain travel. 

Gates and almost Kelly

DSC_2547.jpgAnother adventurous day went by yesterday. At one point Aaron turned to me and expressed how lucky we were to be doing what we do. And how many amazing days we have had out in the mountains. Yesterday being one of the many, many incredible days out there.

 Chris,Dave, James and Jay had decided to go on a three day traverse of the southern monashees and asked me to go on it. Although I was interested I feel the need to be at home right now so I passed on the traverse. But I realized that perhaps I could help them out with a sled shuttle and get a great day out in the Monashees. The Southern Monashees are the best kept secret around here. Remote, impressive and they get more snow than the Selkirks.

Since they had two sleds, Aaron joined me for the shuttle and a huge day out in the mountains. The morning was a bit of a "shit show" since they were getting their gear ready for three days of ski touring. Aaron and I realized that they we were on our own program and took off towards Mt-Kelly.DSC_2534.jpg

The approach involved four km of valley touring surrounded by huge mountains on either side. Then we toured up the north side of Kelly wrapping around the seracs on the glacier and skinning to the highest skiable point. The glacier is crevassed but it is hard to imagine falling through a snow bridge since there is 4m of snow covering these slopes. Here is Aaron reaching our high point with Mt-Gates in the background.DSC_2543.jpg

From Kelly we had a great descent down a rib and the over the glacier. For some reason I chose to not bring the map along so we had some adventuring into the unknown to get from where we were to Gates peak where we hoped to meet our friends.First we boot packed up a small couloir and busted through a cornice, followed by a small tour up a small peak  from there. Standing on this peak it was hard to tell which way was the safest way off it, I almost guided us down a steep face and over some 100’foot cliffs. Luckily instinct prevailed and we skied down the ridge till we found a weakness that curled us around and under a huge cornice and down towards Gates peak. A quick snack on the lake and then we toured up the south ridge to the summit. Nearing the summit we watched as the traversees came around from the north side and  summitted before us. It was so great to meet up with them one last time before they headed off towards the north and we headed home. I was a little jealous looking north at the terrain they were about to tour through but I was also happy to be headed home.DSC_2571.jpg

After a fantastic glacial descent Aaron and I said farewell and skied out the valley home. Seemingly easier than it was. 8 km of flattish valley and small lakes till we finally found the sleds. From there we sledded the 24 kms out and loaded the trucks and home. what an adventure, 8600′ feet of touring, 28 km of new  terrain, one new summit and almost another. Great day,  

North Albert 9627ft

 DSC_2479.jpgWhen driving into Revelstoke from the west a giant monolith of a mountain stands off to the east. Usually when you see it, it is basking in alpen glow and looking especially pretty. Well today we finally headed to its summit.  We sledded in 9 km to where the road is washed out and then began our three hours of road walking. It’s amazing how far into this valley they have logged, their road led us directly into the alpine.

 By then we were a bit punched by the arduous approach, but we headed up. Selkirk tangiers decided to heli ski part of the line we were vying for. Its a little frustrating that they scooped us on our line but they did not ski off the summit nor did they earn their turns. It also cost them quite a lot more than it cost us.DSC_2464.jpg

 At around 8500 feet we had a boot pack up a steep slope, that led us to the summit ridge and finally the summit. A well deserved summit where we all sat there exhausted but excited about  where we were and the 7000 feet of descent ahead of us. The  road that was so frustrating on  the way in was heaven on the way out. From the summit to sleds was 40 minutes. and the a quick tow back to the trucks and we were done.DSC_2517.jpg

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