ACC Toronto Section - Fairy Meadows Camp
July 21 - August 3, 2001
(Ed's Note: This site is a work in progress. I will add articles and photographs from other trip members so stay tuned for more adventures.)
"Toronto section has openings for their Fairy Meadows ACC Section Camp". When I read that notice in the ACC email I knew it was an offer I couldnít refuse. Two years ago I had gone to the ACC General Mountaineering Camp and the bug had bit. This decision was easy. A few emails, a topo from Sid Scull, a map from John Carey, buying, borrowing and packing the gear I needed (and more), a flight to Calgary, a bus ride to Golden, B.C. and I was there. Sure there were a few problems like lugging 50 kilos of gear around and getting into Golden at 3AM because the flight arrived late, a bag went missing and I missed the bus connection to Golden, but by Saturday 6AM, I was ready.
Altogether there were 14 of us. There was Joe Propiak, Jim Prowse and myself, Dwight Yachuk, from Ottawa. From Toronto there was Sid Scull, Laura Scull, Boris Kaschenko, John Carey, Kerry Buller, Don and Ester Collier, Chris and Sue Killey,
Ian and Barbara Frensch and Jayne Beardsmore. We met at the chopper hanger and boarded our taxivan, drove on logging roads for three hours past the Columbia River to a staging site where we waited for the chopper, loaded all the gear onto a cargonet which the chopper whisked to FM for us and then, for five lucky people, arrived at FM in three minutes flat instead of the 4-5 hour uphill muddy slog through mosquito infested bogs and swamp to the hut. Yep, I rode.
Now during my previous trip to the Battle Range, we slept in tents, ate in tents, dried our gear in tents and even used toilets that basically were tents. This time we stayed in the famous Fairy Meadows hut with its wonderful sauna and beautiful views. Think of a smaller version of the Montreal section hut in the Adirondacks, add running water and a view of the mountains and youíve got the picture.
Did I say there were 14 of us? Actually there were 15, including the most important person, Theresa Calow (with John and Jim), our cook. Can you imagine 14 people trying to cook for themselves? Or having to cook for 14? (Whadda yah mean, you donít like baked beans and wieners? Thatís my specialty!) No, having someone get up at 6AM everyday so you can rise to cowboy coffee, porridge, cereal, yogourt, fresh fruit, cinnamon buns, eggs hollandaise (or any style you want) is the only way to go. All we had to do were dishes. (Photo of Joe Pro doing dishes for sale to highest bidder) Of course you had to pack your own lunch. Leftovers from last nightís dinner, cold baked lasagna for example, was always a favourite if you werenít into creating your own sandwiches. There was always a smorgasbord of cheeses, dips, fresh veggies, mussels, and baked goods if you were back by 2 PM.
And then around 7PM there was dinner. How about poached salmon with wild rice, waldorf salad, carrots and beans and carrot cake for dessert? Maybe a turkey dinner with pumpkin pie for dessert? How about coconut curry stew on rice, lasagna, burritos or bowtie pasta with olives, artichokes and red peppers, caesar salad, garlic bread and chocolate cake for dessert. Thatís fresh baked bread (white or whole wheat, you choose) and home made chocolate cake. Wonderful delicious meals, each day, every day. I thought I would loose 10 lbs on this trip but not with someone exhorting you to seconds and thirds. " I bought so much food and you guys arenít eating enough" to quote our culinary queen. (Yes, Theresa received proposals from every man, woman and couple to come home and cook for them, just like she has had on every other trip sheís been cook on).
My mind's made up. From now on, every trip has to have a cook. Theresa comes highly recommended. Drop her a line, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh yeah, climbing? Well youíve got the Adamant range to the south and the Nobility range to the west. Right, time to waddle out and hit those hills! Now Fairy Meadows is famous for winter skiing, but being snugged next to a bunch of glaciers , there is plenty of snow and ice in the summer as well. In fact, a few times, having skis would have cut down travel time considerably, although glissading on your butt is lots of fun. Basically the weather was as good as you would dare dream of for the mountains. Most days were either sunny or rolling clouds passing through. Sometimes there was early evening rain would pass and on two days it kinda sprinkled off and on all day (any excuse for a rest day).
Day 1 Up Friendship Col
The first day several parties set out on the hike up to Friendship col (right between Damon and Pythias). The route starts on the path up the moraine hill in front of the cabin, crosses a glacier creek (watch for the cairns) and continues up the boulder field before turning right at three directional cairns (easy to miss), up a loose rock and boulder hill, up several snow slopes lead by our fearless leader Boris , until finally onto the snow covered Echo glacier heading up the actual Friendship col . Here you start playing the game Spot the Crevasse! We crossed our first one (hey, that was easy), and then the second (oops, this one is bigger) and up onto the Gothics glacier. Just before getting onto the glacier, you have to climb a steep gully guarded by a 2í crevasse. Two feet isnít much on the flat, but when itís uphill you treat it special. Luckily there a wide bridge across the center so we could easily cross. But is it a bridge or just a thin snow covering? Well Jayne Beardsmore and I managed to uncover the crevasse to the left as we glissaded back down (we didnít notice anything) and Laura ? She managed to find a new one on the right where she plunged into her armpits.
Boris said he wanted to climb Sentinel, so Jayne, Jim Prowse and I followed him. It turns out that Boris was a guide in Russia 10 years ago. We ended up following Boris a lot. The hike across the glacier was wonderful, uphill but not too steep. Finally we gained the rocks and a 20 minute scramble brought us to the top. We could see Mount Sir Sanford to the south. Would we make it there? On the way down we took a snow slope off the top. I managed to set off a miniavalanche and we watched it slowly slide into the bergschrund below. No glissading here! We continued across the snowslope until it was safe to glissade down.
On the way back Boris and I scrambled up Damon. It was broken rock to a snow field and then a short ridge walk to the top. On the way back another couple was at the bottom of the snowfield and we got to bombard them with balls of snow rolling down the hill everytime we stepped. There was some light rain as we scrambled to our packs but it passed. That night around 8 PM it really poured with lightening and thunder. Two couples were staying out in tents. I hope they werenít blown away.
Friendship col is an important route as it takes you to several peaks and ridges, including East Peak, Pioneer, Sentinel and Damon peaks to the west, and the ridge run including Pythias, Houdini, Quadrant, Spire and Outpost to the east . Itís also the route across the snow covered Gothics Glacier to Thor Pass and on to the Great Cairn hut just in case you had any delusions of climbing Mount Sir Sanford from here.
Delusions of Climbing Mount Sir Sanford
We certainly planned to climb Mount Sir Sanford before we arrived. You know, a day from FM to the GC hut, maybe a rest day if we were tired, a day up and down Mount Sir Sanford and then a day back. As soon as you take your first hike up Friendship Col do you realize the folly of that plan. Quickly our plans turned to maybe hiking to GC hut, and then maybe hiking to Thor pass for a look across to maybe, maybe next time. A full days hike to GC hut means 16 hours of hiking with all your equipment and grub. Youíd need a rest day by the time you got there, at least a full 16 hour day to get up and down Mount Sir Sanford, another rest day to recover from the exhaustion and then a final 16 hour push back to FM cabin. Add a day or two for bad weather and an unsuccessful first attempt and it looks more like a week. Better to arrange for the chopper to drop you there and pick you up 4 days later. (Hmmm, maybe, maybe next time?)
Day 2 Exploring Granite Glacier
Rise and shine! Opps, itís raining, drat. But by 9 AM the rain had stopped. Boris and I headed out to explore the Granite Glacier. You hike past a waterfall and a stream through the actual Fairy Meadows and up along the crest of the Granite glacier moraine. The actual route branches along the crest but Boris and I continued down. From here we picked our way through rock, meadow, moraine and snow slopes until we reached the upper section of the glacier. (The upper section is snow covered, the lower is clear of snow and the 30 degree slope dividing the two is fun to climb and descend) From here you get a good look at the southern approach of the Pioneer to Unicorn section of the Adamant range as well as Colossal, Enterprise, Cycle and the Nobility peaks. You also get a good look at a heavily crevassed glacier. You also get a look at the two best outings I was on. You also get a look at a few that got away.
Boris and I built a small cairn at a rock island and roped up to cross the glacier. I insisted on being the crevasse poodle, as I wasnít sure of being able to haul Boris out of a crevasse if he fell in. We walked through a large bowl and partway up the other side stopping directly under a massive rock protruding through the glacier. We waited in vain for the clouds to clear for a good view of the Adamant range. Instead it started to hail. We crouched under our rain ponchoís ($1.29 from Canadian tire) and ate lunch. On the way back we built several cairns to mark the route until we met Jim and Jayne on the moraine where they pointed out the easy route up. Several people had been watching us wondering what we were doing building cairns, but hey, you canít have too many routes.
Day 3 Pioneer Peak (3290m) or Bust!
Our hardest climb? Boris, Jim, Jayne Beardsmore and I decided to try Pioneer peak in the Adamants from the northside via the 5.2 northeast ridge. 5.2 may mean nothing to a rockhound but when youíre in plastic boots, carrying a pack and just spent 8 hours on the approach to snow and ice covered rock itís something to consider.
Itís up at 5AM and out the door 45 minutes later. In 1 Ĺ hours weíre on the snow covered Granite glacier. John, an alpha mountaineer, suggested that we might find the crossing very difficult if not impossible. And he would have been right if not for Boris our Russian ice gun!
We roped up, myself as crevasse poodle, and headed out. We had reviewed glacier travel and crevasse rescue but we werenít planning on dropping into one. I found a hiking pole and ice axe a good combination. You could probe ahead with the pole with the axe ready just in case. We tried to read the glacier and stay at right angles to the crevasses. You quickly learned they were easy to spot if you looked to the sides as well as just in front. The route across the Granite glacier was riddled with crevasses. We crossed and skirted a number of smaller ones until we came to our first major crevasse . It was 50 feet across and totally impassable. Or so three of us thought. I was ready to turn back, but Boris, our fearless guide got on his belly, and wiggled to the edge. He pronounced that one on the overhanging snow cornices was actually a snow bridge leading down to a lower section (Sure, yeah, you go first). While we put him on anchor he fearlessly, stealthily, weightlessly stepped across. Twenty feet later he declared himself safe. Light weight Jayne went next. Jim was having trouble being lightweight and stealthy at the same time so after one foot plunged a long way down he elected for follow Borisí belly crawl technique to get across. Finally, on belay from the other side, I made it across. We were now in the crevasse. "Letís go and see if there is a way out of here" were Borisí encouraging words. We started down the length of the crevasse, edging towards the other side. A few hundred feet later we headed up a snow slope to a 6 foot snow wall separated by a small 2 foot crevasse. Boris borrowed an ice axe and with two axes attempted leaping the gap as demonstrated in the movie "Vertical Limit". If the wall had been ice it might have worked but the axes just slid down the snow as Boris struggled to keep his feet on this side of the crevasse. I thought I should volunteer to try as I had a much longer reach, so I lay down for a while instead until the feeling passed (actually I took pictures). Finally, instead of straight up, Boris edged right to where the wall changed into a slope (and the crevasse opened up into a very wide and deep hole) and threw himself onto the snow ramp using the famous Russian velcro technique . In a flash he was up and over the top. The rope kept playing out at least another 50 feet and suddenly he shouted "Safe" . We quickly followed to where we found him on top of a 4 foot overhanging ice horn guarded by a crevasse as well. Had Boris leapt across this void? He wasnít telling and the ice was keeping its secrets.
Now out of the crevasse and back on the glacier we continued on, some of us wondering if we could make our way back. Up and up we went as the snow slope got steeper and steeper. I played crevasse poodle, crossing a three foot crevasse on a two foot wide snow bridge (I was confident by now). More uphill switchbacks until we rounded the northwest buttress and finally saw our route. We were now between two ridges and heading up the snow gully to the mountain. It was obvious that the snow and ice had greatly receded since the guideís photo had been taken and the indicated route was unreachable. (We since concluded that the line drawing is too low). We continued toiling uphill until we hit the bergschrund. Boris climbed a 50 degree snow bridge onto the slope above. We switched to belaying each other and within a couple of rope lengths we had crossed to the left and hit the rocks. We switched to rock and ice mode and using crampons and hands I led a couple of class 5 traverses sticking to a snow/ice/rock gully to the ridge. From afar we could see several needles on the ridge and one of them had a rock sitting on top. An obvious cairn (wrong) we thought as we made our way there. Finally we were at the ridge. An easy 5.2 scamper to the top and we were there. Well getting from the ridge break onto the ridge proper looked like a 5.8. To the other side there was a 30 foot drop to a grassy ledge. Did the ledge lead to the top or would we be stranded there? Boris wanted to be lowered down for a look, but it was 4:30 PM, weíd been climbing for over 10 hours and I was getting cranky. A simple mistake and I knew someone could get killed. I suggested we turn back. Jim and Jayne agreed with expressions of relief. Boris didnít want to return the way we had come. The descent down the snow slope to the bergschrund was dangerous in the afternoon sun. He was right. However I remembered being stuck on top on Mental Blocks at midnight in the pouring rain unable to find the rap rings and looking at a four hour stumble through dense brush in the dark. I remembered the words of that five season inveterate hardman, John Wade declaring we would "Rap the route". Better the route we knew than dropping 30 feet into the unknown. Everyone agreed.
Sacrificing a sling and double roping allowed us to rap along the edge of the snow field to the first bergschrund, but unfortunately not below. Being the last, not on belay, I thought I would just glissade right over it. Sanity prevailed and I plunge stepped to my comrades. A second rap brought us safely off the snow slope but I was belaying Boris from below as he descended the 50 degree snow bridge he had lead up. Further down and around the ridge we say our decision to turn back had been correct. There was a snow gully even higher than the one we had taken that seemed to connect to the snow ridge on the other side. That was the correct route. Our 30í descent would have stranded us on a grassy ledge with shear walls on three sides and a 100í drop to an 80 degree snow chute.
After that, our 10 hour approach disappeared in half that time. We crossed the crevasses like the new pros we were and made it back to the hut at 10 PM. Everyone had long gone to bed but there was turkey dinner and pumpkin pie waiting. We gorged ourselves, toasted with a glass of scotch and satisfied by our big adventure, headed to bed.
Day 4 Rest Day on the Granite Glacier
If youíve never been on a glacier (and even if you have) heading across the Granite glacier towards Cycle is a great experience. Instead of heading up the crest of the Granite glacier moraine, follow the path down and continue to the Inutshuk (cairn) and then head down the slope and onto the glacier itself. A one hour trip takes you across Granite glacier towards Cycle (aim by the big blocks on the crest of the glacier). There is no snow here on the glacier, so no danger of hidden crevasses. However the glacier is riddled with them so lots of time can be spent jumping crevasses and threading the maze.
It can be a bit unnerving at first. Boris found me manic with indecision here one morning. I was trying to follow a group that had crossed earlier and was looking for the "path across the glacier" (there wasnít one). "No problem", said Boris as he scampered onto the glacier in his running shoes (and hiking poles). I followed in boots with hiking poles. What a lot of fun! An hour later we were across, where I watched the delightful sight of Boris doing the Russian glacier dance as he (quickly) skidded his way down the 30 degree slope to the far shore.
In fact, you can spend many hours exploring, following surface streams and watching them disappear into blue holes, peering into deep blue crevasses, some a foot wide, others as wide as a house, jumping some crevasses, skirting others and wondering if youíll ever find a way back. Just stay away from the seracs . We didn't see any tumble (But I'm just not that brave)You can head out alone without crampons if youíre up to it (safety plug goes here) or in a group, crampons on, roped up and ice axes ready.
Once on the other side we came to a frigid glacial stream which ran right under the glacier! We doffed boots and waded across the stream and hiked up to the meadows enroute to Cycle. Itís a rest day right, so we lazed around the meadows for an hour or two, caught a nap and then headed down to play on the glacier again. Cycle could wait another day.
Day 5 Ridge Walk - Pythias to Houdini
Jayne Boris and I set off at a lazy 9 AM under sunny skies and by 11AM we were at the top of Friendship col. What had been a snow covered climb just a few days earlier was now turning into a climb up the bare glacier. We hadnít brought crampons so 20 feet from the top of the col, we had to turn back down and traverse into the rocks to continue up.
The ridge is lots of fun and recommended as an easy day for advanced climbers or a rugged but safe hike for neophytes. The first half of the ridge had lots of scrambles and 5.2 sections (harder on the ridge proper, easier 10 - 20 feet down). The boulders were solid and easy to scramble over. The ridge was mostly over ten feet wide but in spots it narrowed to just a few feet.
Past the disappearing needles (we never saw them) the backside of the ridge eased off and it would be an easy scamper onto Granite glacier. By 2 PM we were at Houdini peak where we ate our lunch and watched Jim and Don at the top of Quadrant. By 5 PM we were back in the cabin.
Day 6 Rain Day
It rained off and on all last night. In the morning it was wet, misty and drizzling. No one was moving much and the benefits of a warm dry cabin were appreciated. Instead we read, played cards and scrabble and tried to eat as much of Theresaís cooking as possible.
Late in the afternoon a chopper flew by quick and low, stopped in Fairy Meadows for about 2 minutes and then flew out again. More food? No, it was three old timers, Hamish, Kim and Peter from Nelson/Kamloops BC with Stan, a young bull, who got to learn by going out front to break trail. It seems the last time they were out here (without Stan) was in Ď78! (At a time when, no doubt, they were young bulls.) A quick look at the guidebook and there were their names against several first ascents. Yep, we were in the presence of mountaineering gods. And what do you do with mountaineering gods? Well, you invite them in to help eat all the food we had brought and which, as Theresa kept telling us, we werenít eating fast enough. Once the shock of not having to cook for themselves passed we had friends for life and all the guidance and stories we wanted. And we got to follow their trail if we wanted. (Boy were they fast!).
Day 7 Success on Pioneer
Boris and I set off up the Granite glacier at 8 AM. This time, instead of heading up the southside of Pioneer, we intended to climb Pioneer col and attack it from the north. Stan, Laura and Jim as well as the Nelson boys were approaching it from the north as well, but up Friendship col. Surely with three parties someone would make it up.
The weather was unsettled. It was windy all day with the clouds blowing through. For a July day, it looked like winter. Boris and I climbed up Pioneer pass in driving snow/hail.
Pioneer pass is divided in two. On the right is a narrow chute under a serac. We had seen it calf two days earlier. We choose the wider left approach. There was a wide crevasse about 1/3 of the way up with a possible route across a snow bridge. Although the crevasse wasnít very wide, about three feet, the angle was fairly steep and we had to climb up. The snow bridge looked about four feet thick but the snow was unconsolidated. I kept moving left and down, plunge stepping my feet through the snow to the crevasse lower lip (so I hoped) while probing with my pole. It was scary pushing the pole down, down, down and then pulling it out and looking into the crevasse below. The snow was solid at about head height but how to get across? I was fast running out of snow bridge so finally I just leaned forward and crawled uphill until I was safe. We continued up the much steeper (35 degree) slope, Boris and I swinging leads until about 6 pitches later we were into some rocks about two hundred feet from the top. Boris started up but immediately hit ice and had to stop and put on his crampons. In two pitches we were at the top and we actually got to use two ice screws! Now we were back on the snow.
We may have climbed Pioneer pass alone but we werenít unwatched. The Nelson boys were up on Sentinel watching our progress and as it turned out, we could be seen from back at the cabin.
Once on Gothics glacier, the way to Pioneer was fairly straight forward. There was a large crevasse coming down to the left, which disappeared under the snow, reappeared and then ended in a huge hole. We caught up with Sid, Laura and Jim at the snow bridge and once over the first major crevasse we had the Nelson boys breaking trail. With Stan in the lead we made good time. We had seen a rock ridge rise out of the snow on our right and thought it would make a good summit. The Nelson boys steered down and to the left and in a few minutes a huge black monster of a rock pile loomed out of the swirling clouds. We skirted down and around to the right and climbed directly up the steep southern snow slope. Boris and I got up just in tome to see the Nelson boys unrope and scamper onto the rock ridge. There was an eight foot step and then a 100 foot scramble to the top. The step was made for tall climbers so I short roped Boris up and did the same for Sid when they arrived. Finally we were all at the top shaking hands and taking pictures. It was 3:30 PM and time to head home. The wind is howling and visibility is poor. What an adventure. On the way down every once in a while you would be in a wind shadow or the sun would come out and youíd be sweating and stripping layers. Moments later it was the wind or the clouds and back on went the clothes.
Day Eight Sentinelle
Time for an easy day. The Nelson boys are heading up Outpost. Don and Glen tackle Enterprise. Sid and Laura try Cycle and John heads up Pioneer alone. A braver man than I.
Jayne and I discover what looks like an interesting route. The six pitch, 5.5 climb up Sentinelle, a bump on the east ridge of Sentinel. Jayne had been marveling at our hiking poles so Boris lent his for the day. We head up the Friendship col route but instead of crossing the creek we turn right and head up the moraine. Itís pleasant but rough going in the boulder field. We can see the east ridge ahead. On the glacier we see a person standing. Who is it? Perhaps a Fairy? To get there we have go up the moraine and onto the toe of the Shoestring glacier. Itís all mud, rock gravel and loose rock. Very dangerous! We come to a pleasant little lake and skirt the edge. Every once in a while we look up and see our fairy standing above. We continue up the boulder fields and get into the loose stuff. We glance up. Our fairy is gone! I donít have a good feeling. With the rocks shifting under our feet and stuff rolling down Jayne and I get up to the glacier. We took separate lines. Nobody wanted to knock something down onto the other person. There is no way Iím going back down that way.
We see what may be the route but it looks loose and unappealing. We trudge up and around the corner and see another possible route. Still unappealing. Jayne wants to try it but I decline. Instead we rope up and without ice axes nor crampons (and no Boris) we head off across an unknown glacier. We make it across just fine, having to jump a few crevasses and skirt a few others. We head for a waterfall and a possible break in the slope to the trail below. Jayne falls heavily but is okay. Borisí pole doesnít fair as well. It is bent and instead of straightening, snaps in two. Weíre shortly back at the hut. Another fine day for adventure.
Day 9 Colossal
Itís 5 AM and still dark when Boris, Jim and I are up and eating breakfast. By 6 AM weíre out the door. By now weíre all veterans (aspiring to be mountain gods). Boris, Jim and I climb up the middle of Granite glacier, front pointing about 500 meters up the steep ice slope.
Once up we take the crampons off and head across the snowfield. There is a large crevasse right at a band of rocks but a handy snowbridge gets us across. From there we turn right to gain the ridgeline. After scrambling across a few more rock bands, you are on a snow ridge. We were unroped and feeling confident, but itís a steep 200í down on your left and an even steeper 500í on your right. Then the ridgeline itself starts to steepen. At this point Boris asks if anyone feels like they need to rope up. Rope up? Well every fourth step, your bottom foot slides down a couple of feet so you jam your ice axe in on the other side of the ridge just a little harder. I just need to keep moving. Thankfully weíre in the swirling clouds and canít see much but every once in a while the clouds clear and itís a long way down.
Finally we reach a triangular plateau. Here we drop our packs and scramble a short ridge the last 200í to the rocky summit. The clouds blow away, the sun comes out and the view is gorgeous! (Sorry Boris, you donít get your money back) There is a cairn here with an old plastic gatorade bottle in it. We read the names of climbers from last yearís GMC camp. They write ominously of the ice slope they climbed. Is there something else awaiting us? We read through all the notes and scrapes of paper, the earliest dating back to 1976.
Itís time to go back down. But not the way we came up, oh no. The Nelson cowboys are hot on our trail and with the hot sun on the slope Boris doesnít feel itís the safest way down. Instead we take the third ridge off the triangular top and head further south until we hit a rock band that lets us scramble down to a snowfield below.
Now all along the ridge on our way up, the snow slope had ended in a rock band, a potentially nasty surprise at the end of a fall. Here, however, the snow slope descended to a snow field. Our way down. Just a rope length Boris shouted, so I hammered in a snow stake and ice axe and set up a belay station. Jim and Boris descended backwards on the fixed line. If the slope gave way I hoped I could hold them. "Make big steps", I shouted, watching Jim disappear over the snow crest as I realized that when I tore down the belay station, Iíd be descending unaided. Finally I heard the cry of "Off Belay" and so it was my turn. Actually it wasnít that difficult. I had two axes (Jim had left me his). Between plunging them in at every step and following in their plunge steps I made it down quickly. But we were less than half way, so I continued. I rammed in my hiking poles and used slings to attach them to the rope so Boris would have some protection on the way down (Boris drew the short ice axe so it was his turn to stay above). While I belayed Boris down, Jim continued unaided ready to turn an unanticipated fall into an elegant glissade. Finally we were down. High up we heard a cry from the Nelson cowboys. Was it safe to descend? Well we had, so we yelled yes and then watched as they plunged stepped, unaided, down the slope.
It was a pleasant boot glissade and fast shuffle back the glacier slope, jumping a few crevasses on the way. At one point I could see a crevasse coming up so I stopped a few paces short and plunged my pole into the snow. It went right into the crevasse. One more step and I would have been in it. The crevasse was about three feet across so I stepped back a few paces and took a running jump. Jim tried his standing broad jump but, as he says, it needs working on. One leg dropped in but he managed to pull himself out. Boris? Well he just sauntered 20 feet down and walked across. Soon we were back at the hut. After 10 hours we were just in time for afternoon tea, a sauna, and then dinner!
Day 10 Disaster on the Throne
Last nightís dinner was ratatouille with left over beef stroganoff from the night before. (I know Theresa, we should eat more) Letís just say that you shouldnít keep a cream based meal as a leftover. At 4 AM there was a steady procession of us to the outhouse with many of us grounded for the day. It was sunny too. Oh well.
Day 11 Our last Big Day
Boris and I had been laying plans for Adamant. We had thought of camping up on Granite glacier to save 3-4 hours but Theresaís delicious cooking wasnít delivered and we sure werenít going to forgo a meal. Instead we plan to get up at 4 AM. However at 3 AM I notice itís raining. Next thing I know itís 6AM. Itís still wet out and Boris has a splitting headache. It just wasnít meant to be.
At 9 AM Joe and I head out for a last hike up Friendship col. Itís grey out, sometimes raining, sometimes windy. Itís good to be out for a stroll, looking at the mountains and tarns , and sad to be leaving. Weíre back by 4 AM, time for afternoon tea.
But first we have to change the outhouse barrels. They were empty when we arrived but all of that cooking had to go somewhere. Jim, Boris, Sid and I volunteer. There is only room for three in the platform so I direct from below (and safely to one side). Letís just say that it isnít too difficult. The barrels are on wheeled skids, which makes it easy to move them. The important thing is to get the lids on!!! Well thatís our share of the camp cleanup. Off to the sauna and then dinner.
Day 12 Fly Day
The day arrives with blue skies. Itís cleanup day. We sweep and wash the floors, clean the windows of dead mosquitoes (again) and pack ten boxes of uneaten food and ten boxes of garbage. Nothing can be left behind and we burn everything we can, bread, old boxes, cornflakes, etc. Jimís in the basement fixing a leaking PVC pipe. He finds a perfectly cut length and replaces the leaking pipe. You guessed it, that was the leaking pipe previously replaced but not discarded. Jim found another piece and the repair was made.
By 9:30 we were all done, all the gear and boxes were down at the landing. At 10 AM the chopper arrived. By 10:30 we were all gone.
I'll be back, . So, who wants to go next year?
Drop me a line,