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TR - touring and riding in British Columbia

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  • TR - touring and riding in British Columbia

    Inspired by some great TRs of late, here goes. Thirteen of us set off to Kimberley, BC for a short heli ride into the Boulder Hut for a week of unguided but catered touring. The place was amazing, the snowpack was fantastic, the hosts were super chill, and the legs were worked. We woke up to coffee and a hot meal, a lunch display for packing, and we returned to beer, wine, and warm food. We set out each day around 9:30 am and returned between 4:30 and 6. Life was grand.

    The crew from Juneau ranged from 41 to 67, and the oldest dude there was nicknamed Dan-imal because he's a machine. F'ck, I hope I'm there when I'm there. We had 3 telemarkers, 7 ATers, and 3 splitboarders.

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    The first order of business was to pack the beer in the cold storage chamber.

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    After that was squared away, we scoped out a ridge to get up.

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    The terrain had something for everyone -- steep trees, mellow lines, alpine climbing. It had dumped over a meter in the days leading to our arrival and the avy forecast was moderate but to be wary of windloading and slabs above treeline. The group that departed as we arrived had triggered a massive slide while skinning on one of the peaks. No one was actually near it, fortunately.

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    Me enjoying the snorkel deep goods.

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    To be continued . . . .
    Last edited by dschane; 30 March 2022, 10:54 AM. Reason: photos added

  • #2
    On a bluebird day, we set to get up on the ridges and enjoy the views for a day long traverse . . .

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    And there was some hubris . . . five of us when to climb a peak, the final ramp to the summit traversed under a corniced ridge, so we switched plans and decided to bootpack up a col. The plan was to do a mellow line on the other side of the col and do a circuit back to the hut. The snow in the col was funky and we f'cked up. The guy on top triggered a 4" - 6" slab that took four of the five of us for a ride. When we came to a stop, we checked in and everybody was fine. We later debriefed and discussed our errors (e.g., we should have discussed a third option - turn around and go down, esp. given the wind affected snow, it's not like creamy powder was waiting for us on the other side of the col, and we should have been ascending the col one at a time in light of the avy report and there was a safe spot about 50 meters below the top); everyone was shaken up, especially the one guy who didn't get caught. Some pictures of the ascent and aftermath. . . .

    The ramp to the summit is straight ahead and then veers to looker's left. The col we ascended is pretty much 12 o'clock.

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    Transitioning to bootpacking

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    And the after

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    • #3
      The trip continued without another hitch. There was a hilarious sign in the middle of nowhere:

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      But all things come to an end . . . .

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      Briefly, at least. We decided that the rest of my family would meet me in Revelstoke for my kids' spring break, so I had a week in between and caught up with JNicol in Fernie. The first day had decent chopped up remnants from the days prior, though jnicol is a master at finding the untouched areas. Great guide and skier, and I think 3/4 of his family is on tele. Half of our group headed to Fernie and got to check out the beautiful area and sweet town. I definitely want to go back.

      I arrived in Revy a few days before my family. We were staying with a friend, so she took me on a tour of Rogers pass on a low-angle day with cement for powder, but whoa, that area is endless.

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      Last edited by dschane; 30 March 2022, 09:31 PM.

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      • #4
        Cool TR. Glad you guys were ok. Even a 4-6 inch release can carry one down. I watched my ski partner (in Vermont no less) trigger a 2-3 inch sluff on a crust. It went edge-to edge in a narrow chute. He didn't get knocked over, but he would have been carried into trees.
        Great to ski with jnicol in Fernie too.
        ps. My wife says if Trump gets re-elected, we are moving to Canada. I say, sure as long as it's to Fernie
        Last edited by chamonix; 30 March 2022, 01:53 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by chamonix View Post
          Glad you guys were ok. Even a 4-6 inch release can carry one down.
          Yeah, when I saw the snow coming towards us and realized that with skis on my pack, I had nowhere to go, but then I thought it would pass through. No, it knocked each of us down and we quickly entered a washing machine. When it stopped, I had snow packed into my mouth, but I also realized that I was probably never that far below the surface even though it felt otherwise. Spooky as f'ck.

          The guy who didn't get caught was the least experienced and fresh out of his Level I course. He was mentally tormented by the fact that we went out of sight, he struggled to remove his ski crampons and became unsure if he could even remember how to do that, couldn't decide if he should take his skins off, if he should ski down the debris pile or try to go around, etc. After we confirmed that we are all good, the person who was carried the least managed to climb up and let him know that we were all safe. Those that had their skis off but not yet secured to their backpacks had their sh't partially buried. We managed to recover it all except for one pair of sunglasses.

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          • #6
            Yikes. One bad moment in a whole mess o' goodness. Good job on the debrief and taking care of each other.

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            • #7
              Wow that sounds like a great trip and the terrain looks amazing. Love that Revy/ Rogers Pass area. It’s fricking huge!! Glad no one was seriously hurt or buried. That shiz happens and move fast and can really surprise you. Thank you for sharing your TR!

              I was on a Swiss Alps trip and one day we were preparing to ski a peak we just climbed. Our guide told us not to move from our current positions and he skied down a bit to have a look at our line. Well one of the party was near the rear of the group and decided to come around toward the front even though Martin told us not to move. Wouldn’t you know it, he kicked off a 6” slab below us than ran down to Martin our guide but it peeled off to the side of him and did not knock him down. It was scary to watch it roll away from us and towards our guide with nothing we could do. Needless to say the culprit got a serious ass chewing which was much deserved. Earlier on the same trip which was an April- May time frame, I was skiing in bounds at the Shiltehorn in some rocky terrain. I spied a chute to ski on the way up and skied some nice round turns above it at moderate speed. I paused a second or two to look down it before dropping in and my own 6” sluff which I did not realized I released caught me and I surfed it down the chute on my ass. I got my skis up once I realized what was happening, I popped up when it slowed some and was able to ski out. I had nowhere to go but luckily it was not a big sluff. It sure does shake you up and scare the f?ck out of you. Still amazed at how fast it happens when it looks like it’s moving kinda slow.
              Last edited by Allan Fici; 30 March 2022, 04:32 PM.
              Function in disaster, finish in style.

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              • #8
                Awesome TR dschane! Great photos, snow and terrain!

                I was so glad you were able to carve out some time to ski with us after the hut trip. You are the real deal - a class act AND an excellent telemark skier! And your buddies are a great bunch as well! What was remarkable was your stamina! After 7 days at a hut, still having legs to charge around a resort for 2 days. And the conditions were less than ideal with some challenging crust low down the first day and heavy and deep slop the next. The kind of conditions many will stay home regardless. Not this crew!

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                • #9
                  Great write up! Thanks for sharing!

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                  • #10
                    WOW! 4 out of 5 caught while climbing and no injuries. Very lucky. Great trip otherwise.

                    My biggest fear is getting caught while skinning, no coat, wearing a ball cap, sunglasses, light weight gloves, and boots unbuckled.

                    Have not been to the Boulder Hut, looks awesome, but have toured Rogers Pass a number of times and up to the Asulkan Hut with Canadians that know the area. Incredible place with people doing unbelievable lines.

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                    • #11
                      Love it! Great snowpack, scenery, action shots, and really good photography. My pictures never come out like that. Looks like an amazing trip and I'm glad everyone made it back safely.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for the good vibes and sharing of anecdotes. Allan, I think I may have read about that incident, or perhaps one very similar.

                        CMS, luck is right. My wife has emphasized that multiple times.

                        Jnicol is the second person on this forum that I've met IRL, and his family was ribbing him about his "tinder date" with me. My family appreciated that one too.

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                        • #13
                          Phew!

                          I'm glad all remained uninjured and you were able to enjoy your trip at Boulder Hut as well as enjoying some F2F time with another forum member in Fernie.

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                          • #14
                            Mighty fine documentation!

                            Good thing the trip was catered...it doesn't look like anyone in that group can be trusted in the kitchen.

                            Having met several great touring partners on the internet I can say the only thing I don't like about it is that's when they find out I suck at skiing.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by aqua toque View Post
                              Good thing the trip was catered...it doesn't look like anyone in that group can be trusted in the kitchen.
                              Haha, very true. After skiing, we'd arrive at hut central to "après" ski snacks, worlds above Mountain House boil-stir-serve grub:

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                              And jtb, I'm in the running for worst photographer ever. Fortunately, among the other 12, some came out very nice. Everyone was just using their phones.

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