Wedge Mountain, Northeast Arête Ski

24 August 2007

Wedge Mountain NE Arete The Northeast Arête in the morning sun - hover to see the line drawn.

Borders, calendars, work weeks: self-defeating creations of mankind. They're in the same category as fear and underwear: good for consideration, not stricture. Let's lose the shackles before we lose our minds. Go commando. I nearly lost my mind from an overdose on pics of skiers making sweet tracks in the southern hemisphere last week. That's not fair! I don't have money for a plane ticket. Every shot showing snow spraying felt like a personal wedgie; my panties were wet and twisted.

Rumours of an epic winter in BC, a cool cloudy summer, and a cold wet storm last weekend brought another wedgie to mind: carry the tune through Whistler to Wedgemount Lake. When we got there, our hopes to see BC hotties bouncing acrobatically into the lake were supplanted by the pulchritude of the morning sun's highlight on the Northeast Arête.

One of the couloirs we'd originally had in mind looked constipated with poopy rockfall and a big bergschrund to block its bowels. But the arête glowed in the sun and promised clean snow to the summit. I remarked to Dan, "The exposure up there to both sides is going to be so beautiful."

Wedgemount Lake Wedgemount Lake

Wedge Glacier What a morning!

"You're a sick man," he replied.

Wedgemount Lake only took two hours on the steep and direct climber's trail. It was fortunate that the 3 am-5 am Sea-to-Sky closure had stopped us. It helps to sleep a couple hours.

The glacier was straitforward and wet through an interesting icefall. Conditions were good for June. One zigzag and an airy-then-narrow snowbridge put us within a steep snow slope of the arête. The breeze died on the opposite side, where we had lunch. Wedge was rocking a king crown on its northeast face. The arête's exposure didn't disappoint on this side, either.

Stupidity on the icefall Let the stupidity begin.

Crevasse Bridge "Go ahead and cross that bridge, Dan, it'll make a great photo."

Flirting dangerously with a content nap in the sun on a warm rock after lunch, I redoubled my resolve to inspect the arête. Would the snow stay soft through the choke up there? Fresh frosting on your exposure-flavored pastry?

Weart Glacier Lunch with a view of the Weart Glacier

Dessert Our lunch perch also had a wonderful view of dessert. Exposure? Check.

Summit Gloat Trying to gloat

climbing the arete "Can we get some exposure up here?"

Soft snow ruled the day. One ax/one pole was the perfect combination for the climb. Dan and I both felt overwhelming exhiliration at the new area, new views, spectacular summit, and an exciting descent with fresh corn snow.

SMOOTH What time is it?

CARVE August carve?

Ski uphill. Hitting it switch is all the rage, but what about skiing uphill?

Less than eleven hours car-to-car, three-thousand feet of good-to-perfect corn from a prominent summit, views of new terrain in every direction - what month is it again? Who cares? I'm going to Metsker's; I need to buy more maps.

Washington Ski Map