Begbie Unlike Ever Before
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.
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.
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.
We 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.
Great day 11760 feet of fantastic mountain travel.