Friday, April 17, 2015

Peru 2015

I've got a whole bunch of cool things going on this coming summer. Most notably, I'll be in Peru in June and earl July and then the Tetons for the remainder of the summer.

In Peru I have three different missions. All are exciting and two of them may be of interest to you.

  • From June 8-28 I am working with my good buddy Josh Beckner and his School for International Expedition Training. We have one spot on this amazing course. Josh has set up an amazing course for the accomplished climber looking to enhance his or her big mountain and expedition skills. I am honored to come along and share what I can with our students. Check out this link for more details, and feel free to contact me with any questions. 
  • From June 29-July 10 I am available for alpine climbing in the Peruvian Andes. You should join me. We could team up with Mark and Janelle Smiley on Alpamayo, or develop our own itinerary. Because I will already be there, our itinerary and logistics are fully customizable. If you have a dream in the Cordillera Blanca, it can't hurt to ask.
  • After July 10, I go on a personal climbing and filming mission with Mark and Janelle. We'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"Lawn" Sale. Spring 2015

I's got stuff to sell. Whatcha want? Let's use Paypal to make the transaction. I'll have to ask that we work around my travel schedule. Most of this stuff I can ship to you. Or you can retrieve it from me in Leadville, CO.  If we ship, you cover shipping costs. Shoot me an email
Black Diamond Stigma skis. 168cm. With Black Diamond Full Mohair skins. And mounted with Ski Trab race adjustable bindings. The bindings work well for boots between about 280 and 300mm. Everything has been used about 20 days, and is still fully functional. Awesome super light set up. $600. Bindings alone retail for $600.
Dynafit TLT 5 ski boots. Size 26.5. Very well used. But still fully functional. $60

Outdoor Research Rumor Hoody. Lightly used. Fully functional. $50

Size 24.0 Women's Garmont Mega Star AT ski boots. $100 (in storage. must wait until 5/20)

Voile avalanche shovel. Handle extends. Well used. $15

Backcountry Access Float 32 pack. With canister. Fully functional. Lightly used. $330

Size 26.5 La Sportiva Spectre AT ski boots. Lightly used. Never heat molded. $200 (in storage. must wait until 5/20)

Black Diamond Amperage skis. 185cm. Dynafit Radical ST bindings (mounted for BSL ca 295) Used, with base damage, but not a ton of mileage. Still got life and snap. BD cut-to-fit Mo-Mix skins. Selling all together. $450 (in storage. must wait until 5/20)

Brooks range Hybrid Sweater. Size medium. No down insulation on the back. $40

Chalk bag. With belt. $8

Cams. All sold with one carabiner each. Camalots $40. Metolius/Alien  $30. Or  $250 for all of them.

Evolv Geshido. "Split sized".  10 left. 9.5 right $35

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Glacier Circle Ski Vacation Mini Guide

The Glacier Circle Cabin, near Rogers Pass in British Columbia and run by the Alpine Club of Canada is an under-appreciated resource. Part of the issue is its reputation. Multiple guidebook entries suggest that the day-trip skiing there is poor. While it’s perhaps not world class convenience skiing, there is enough small and huge stuff to keep most ski tourists busy for a week. Also, the information available is pretty poor. I wrote up a story on the Feathered Friends blog, and this page is a nuts-and-bolts complement to that article. 
Just before dropping in on the Witch Tower descent. Yes, its pretty. Yes, the sun is setting. Yes, we did have to find the hut in the dark. 

Maps and Books. 
  • The best text resource for the area is the summer alpine climbing guidebook. While it is a recent, modern guidebook, it sure seems difficult to find. Search out the "Rogers Pass Alpine Guide” by David P Jones. 
  • None of the Rogers Pass ski books or current convenience maps cover Glacier Circle well. In fact, both Chic Scott and Doug Sproul books are pretty down on the Glacier Circle zone.
  • For maps, your best bet is to get ahold of the Canadian government “quad” maps. You want Mount Wheeler. 
  • We also secured a map from a friend that worked well for us. It was fully prepared for skiing, waterproofed and everything. It extended south into the Glacier Circle zone. But it sure seems to be basically unavailable.
Yeah, pow happens in there. 

Approach and Exit
In good visibility, the approach is strenuous, but pretty easy to follow. Getting onto the Illecillewaet is usually marked by at least one skin track all the way from the car. Once on the ice field, follow your map and nose. Near the end of the approach, as the guidebooks point out, you have two options. You can descend the lower slopes of Mount Macoun, or go over to the Witch Tower and descend along its base. We did our actual approach and exit near the Witch Tower, but did a day trip up onto Mount Macoun that traversed the option there. So we did both options. And the Witch Tower is much easier to figure out from the top down. This is our route of exit. We were a little smarter on the approach, with better visibility. But we didn’t GPS track it. The line at that link will serve you well enough. Let me know if you want the data in a more “raw” format. 

Once you’re in the basin, finding the hut can be problematic. Marks on maps will get you close, but the zone is heavily forested, with giant boulders that all look like snow-covered huts. We collected multiple “ground-truth” gps coordinates at the hut:
  • 51.1722N 117.3925W on an Iridium GO satellite communicator
  • Zone 11U. 472508E 5669096W on an iPhone
  • 51.172661N 117.393097W on a Suunto Ambit GPS Watch.
Day Tours. Some are photographed and shown below, while others are linked to route pages. Some we did, while others we just looked at. All are at least possible in ideal conditions. Some are clearly better in tougher circumstances. 

  • Lower West slopes of Mt Macoun. 800-1200 vf. Forested ribs between open avalanche paths. Up and back the same way. Slope angles 25-40. SW aspect.
  • Summit slopes of Mt Macoun. 5000f. 45deg. W and SW.
  • N. Shoulder Mt Macoun. W. 4500vf. 45 deg. W and SW
  • MIni Macoun. 4500vf. 35 deg. NW and SW.
  • Mt Selwyn. 5000 vf. 6 miles round trip. Up and back the same way. Max slope angles in the 40s. N, NE, E aspects. Glaciated and crevassed. Historically, negotiating the icefall in order to gain the toe of the Fox Glacier has been impossible. However, as the glacier pulls back, it appears more and more doable. 
  • Lake Slopes. Below hut. SE Facing. Open. About 600 vf. Max slope angles ca 35. Down, then back up to hut.
  • Deville Glacier.  5 miles or so. 3000 vf or so. Down from hut, then up as far as you want to go. The Deville icefall can be passed in two different ways. See the climbing guidebook for the best info. 
  • Pt 1793.  5 miles. 2300 vf. (With option for more laps.). North and NW facing. Forested. Max slope angles ca 30deg. Ski down from hut, then down valley a bit, then laps in the trees. Entirely below the hut. As low as 1400m.
  • Poo View Peak. Super short, great stormy skiing. Or an excellent vantage point for scouting the area. 
  • Mount Fox lower slopes. 800vf. 38deg. Along either side of a band of trees. 
  • Ice Wall Chute. Steep and narrow. An ice cliff hangs over the top. This section of the Illecillewaet may pull back as the glaciers retreat. In which case, this 2000vf, S facing couloir could be an excellent line right outta the hut. 
  • Witch Tower PPP (Protected Pow Place). 500vf slope, E facing, seemingly threatened by spindrift and serac fall from Mt Fox and the Witch Tower glacier. However, a concave basin protects this slope. 

Weather and Avalanche Info

Mount Fox lower slopes. 

Lake slopes

Mini Macoun

Hut outhouse from the top of "Poo View Peak"

Mount Macoun with its summit slopes somewhat obscured and the N Shoulder run traversing down and right under the cliffs. 

The Ice Wall chute. Cool looking, higher objective hazard. 

Taken from the NW corner of the basin, with the Deville glacier in the distance and the  treed horizon indicating Mt Fox's lower slopes. 

Deville icefall from Mt Macoun

Selwyn Ledges zoom. An option for gaining or descending the Deville. 

The Deville Chimney zone from Macoun. 

A historical photo of the Deville icefall. 

We did our entire exit in white out. Do your homework!

Poo View Peak

Protected Pow Place