Welly well well. My Desire is long but my time is short. What to do?
Suggested listening: It blows my mind. Don't listen to this song if you've ever been offended by anything.
Pictures remotely or marginally worthy of it are clickable for enlargements.
Friday morning, the deck seems stacked against us. I have a plan. Early in the morning, along with my first cup of coffee, I untangle some 7 mm cord to match a length of 6 mm cord I just bought. Somewhere in the middle of the cords, I hear a *pop* in my lower back. Hmm, that can't be good. Sure enough, it starts hurting shortly thereafter.
Naomi forgets her hat so we drive to Squamish to get her a new one.
I couldn't find my compass and wanted a new one after wandering in circles in the fog to find Russet Hut a few weeks ago. So I bought a tiny new one with a thermometer before leaving Vancouver. I accidentally slam it in the car door and break it at the trailhead.
Despite all that, finally heading up the road.
Whoa baby, there's a lot of new snow! Breaking trail to and across Garibaldi Lake is a lot of work. We get to the Burton Hut around 1 am and there are 40 VOCers there on a Reading Week trip. Sheeeeet. So we schlepp another two hours to the decrepit shelter above Sentinel Bay.
After sleeping until nearly 11 am, somehow it makes more sense to me to climb Garibaldi, like that will be easy from here. Wrong.
See that wind ripping off Garibaldi? The wind makes it possible to break trail in both directions!
We're finally getting somewhere.
Sunset, getting higher.
Breaking trail up the steep slopes below the summit of Garibaldi, in the dark with two meters of powder, is interesting. It's not like I haven't been to the summit of Garibaldi. But after all that work I want to get there again. The full moon was so bright last night. I have fantasies of skiing waist-deep fifty-degree powder from the summit in the bright moonlight. Naomi is susceptible to my deluded fantasies. So we summit in the dark and admire the lights of Squamish. I wish she could see the views. It's too cold and windy to wait for the moon. So we ski the steep and deep in the dark by headlamp.
The moonlight is with us when we get to the hut again.
FIRE is LIFE.
The next morning we come to life a bit earlier and easily glide our still-intact (no wind!?) skin track to Sphinx Bay and check on the friendly VOC crew.
VOC represent. Only like half of them remain in this photo. They're getting ready to leave. It's nice to have the option to crash there after Castle Towers.
Alpine wind sculpture.
Naomi high on the Sphinx Glacier with Sphinx, Garibaldi, and light reflecting off the Howe Sound in the background.
Now we're finally getting close to Castle Towers.
On the east summit of Castle Towers. Andy and I found a big rock and excavated it. I tied a few meters of 7 mm cord around it. I have my 7 mm 35 m and my 6 mm 35 m and my back-to-back double fishermen ready to go. Naomi fusses with her Maestrales trying to get the elusive lock mode with some icy snow jammed into the cracks.
A little more about this Northwest Face of Castle Towers Mountain. It's the tits. The cat's meow. Possibly the most pitch-perfect slope of this sustained steepness I've skied. It's the face on the biggest mountain in the background of this Whistler-Blackcomb wallpaper. It's where Jason Hummel took this photo of Ryan Lurie that landed on the cover of the Ski Journal.
We booted to damn near the summit but there's some fifth-class climbing not really suitable for ski boots with skis on the back between there and the summit.
Andy Traslin and I made several day trips, skiing peaks in the area, trying to finish huge days with this line. But it's tough to commit to the rappel and the involved descent with rubber legs at sunset.
The satisfaction of tagging the summit and skiing the line in one go had eluded me. But this time, it's cross-country freeride style for the win. Here I go.
35 m is the perfect length, NICE.
Perspective from the flipside, Naomi rappels.
Naomi cuts the first steep turn to evacuate the fall zone while we try to arrange a rappel for Andy.
A bit more about this Andy Traslin character. We left him a voicemail, indicating our intentions to ski the Northwest Face of Castle Towers on Saturday. But those plans got altered. Somehow, he made a one-day push and met us high on the Sphinx Glacier on Sunday. Then he accompanied us to the summit, where he helped me rig the rappel. In the midst of all this, he tells me, "I didn't bring my harness." Essaywhuman!?
I tie my harness to the 7 mm cord. Andy pulls. Naturally, as it is wont to do, the cord with the knot and the harness gets stuck in a crack in a rock. Andy feeds the cord, pulls the cord, feeds the cord, pulls the cord. No luck, it's stuck. The light is failing. Eventually, we must ski. Sorry Andy, gotta go.
Naomi patiently awaits the end of the Andy shenanigans. She is standing erect. She's not a lean-into-the-slope kinda girl. But look at how her bent arm rests in the slope: pitch perfect. Too bad the light is failing.
Finally, communication successfully confirms Andy's descent to the south and our descent to the north. Let's go.
I couldn't ask for a better ski for this than my new 188 stiff BROs. Muchas gracias, Señor Keane.
Itch gets scratched.
We opt to stay at the Burton Hut. It makes the slog across the lake more tolerable the morning after.
Extracurricular Rubble Creek gnar after overstoking on open pow below the Barrier.
This was a trip of shenanigans, followed by more shenanigans, topped with icing of epic and Andy. The report doesn't give the whole 4 days justice. The snow was amazing on both Garibaldi and Castle Towers. I <3 steep pow.
I didn't think I would run into you guys.So I tried to go light and speed no harness.Maybe pow laps on Deception.Team VOC mentioned yellow pants and it was off to the races. Murphy's Law.All three other times I brought my harness.
I am glad you guys skied it.It sure was painful spectating from the summit as you guys skied the pow.Then I skied sun affected snow on the south side.
But it was even more painful when in my plan to go light and speed.The VOC poached my grocery bag with extra food and my car keys and decided to ski out with it.
I guess I have go back one more time with 2 60 metre ropes and climbing harness to get it done.
I'd love to see you do it. Ryan knows it really is all that. Ask me for the secret beta before you go. I might even join you and do it again. I'd like to do it in, ahem, full daylight and for the maximum vertical to the toe of the glacier.
I got back to the highway and tried hitchhiking with no luck.So I just called a tow truck and got towed all the way home. I recouped my gear from the VOC.Next time I will have a bag with my name on it and find a better place to stash my keys.
Sounds good.I can't not go back after trying three times.It doesn't have to be an all out suffer fest.
I think I have a 8mm 40 metre rope and a 7mm 30 metre rope.I would haul them up.
Ha ha ha, I just changed it to a version that doesn't advertise a ringtone. Just in case anybody wants to get offended by the song, the funny part is that I'd never heard it until Naomi played it on her iPod. So there ya go.
Do you want to ski with me? Come and keep me company.
Karma....Thanks for the invite I am glad I lent you my car? I guess you forgot about the Mt Waddington trip? And Mt Logan? I held your spot in the plane for three days then helped re pack your section of food. It is all about the me ski mountaineering team....
Remember ice hockey....everyone plays there part on the team,,, Otherwise a great looking trip guys!!!!
Hey lets go to Goat mountain tommorow Andy? (blindside)