Last Updated: July 18, 2024


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Upcoming reports & photos:

Oh my! Quite the backlog here...

  • Mount Truax - scramble (July 2023)
  • Blackcomb Buttress - rock climb (July 2023)
  • Whitecap Peak - scramble (July 2023)
  • Mount Hanover - scramble (August 2023)
  • The "Long Traverse" incl. Long, Tynemouth, Arrowhead, Tabletop & Anemone - hike/scramble (August 2023)
  • Armchair Traverse - scramble (August 2023)
  • Snowspider Mountain - scramble (September 2023)
  • Mount Trorey - scramble (September 2023)
  • Macleod Peak - scramble (September 2023)
  • Ben Lomond - scramble (September 2023)
  • Mount Killam & Gambier Island - hike (September 2023)
  • Lone Goat & Snow Camp Mountain - hike (September 2023)
  • Isollilock Peak - hike/scramble (October 2023)
  • Manson - Hatfield Traverse - scramble (October 2023)
  • Gargoyles & Columnar Peak - hike (October 2023)
  • Opal Cone and Lava Glacier - hike (October 2023)
  • Park Butte (WA) - hike (October 2023)
  • Trappers Peak (WA) - scramble (October 2023)
  • Rattlesnake Ledge (WA) - hike (November 2023)
  • Sauk Mountain (WA) - hike (November 2023)
  • Mount Daniel & Pender Hill (Sunshine Coast) - hike (November 2023)
  • Mount Dickerman (WA) - hike (November 2022)
  • Winter's End (Verona Peak) - hike/snowshoe (November 2023)
  • Dolomites (Italy) - snowboarding (December 2023)
  • Red Rock Canyon (NV) - scramble (January 2024)
  • Flute & Oboe - split tour (February 2024)
  • Whistler misc. (Train Wreck, Loggers Lake, Shadow Lake etc.) - hike (February 2024)
  • Mount Underhill - hike (March 2024)
  • Bombtram Mountain - snowshoe (March 2024)
  • Steep Peak - split tour (March 2024)
  • Ruby Mountain (WA) - snowshoe (April 2024)
  • Blustry Mountain - hike (April 2024)
  • Sowerby Peak (Barr East) - snowshoe (April 2024)
  • Picacho Peak (AZ) - hike (April 2024)
  • Kitt Peak Observatory (AZ) - (April 2024)
  • Mount Wrightson (AZ) - hike (April 2024)
  • Saguaro Nat'l Park (AZ) - April 2024)
  • Superstition Peak/Benchmark (AZ) - scramble (April 2024)
  • Mount Humphreys (AZ) - hike (May 2024)
  • Petrified Forest Nat'l Park (AZ) - (May 2024)
  • Piestewa Peak (AZ) - hike (May 2024)
  • Channeled Scablands (Columbia Gorge, Ancient Lakes, Potholes Lake, Palouse Falls etc.) - hike/bike (May 2024)
  • Rhododendron Mountain ("Pk. 2220") - snowshoe (June 2024)
  • Flora Peak - hike (June 2024)
  • Gibson Peak - snowshoe (June 2024)
  • Mount Urquhart - scramble (June 2024)
  • Rock Mountain (WA) - hike (July 2024)
  • Ladies Pass Quartet (Cape Horn, Ladies Peak, Snowgrass Mtn. NE Peak, Snowgrass Mtn.) - scramble (July 2024)
  • Old Snowy (WA) - scramble (July 2024)
  • Dog Mountain (WA) - hike (July 2024)
  • Mount Ratney & Mount Bardean - scramble (July 2024)
  • Torrent Peak - scramble (July 2024)

*As of 07/18/2024


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Thursday, March 28, 2024

Spearhead Glacier - plus Husume Coulior, March 2023

Minor variation to a tour we've done countless times before. Up below Blackcomb's East Col to Spearhead's east shoulder, taking the skier's right chute down onto Spearhead Glacier. Conditions this winter have been cold and dry, plus combined with glacial recession I'm sure and we found the chute was surprisingly icier and steeper than expected. Dropped-in blind off the shoulder and was committed right out the gate. Slide-for-life conditions managing a semi-controlled sideslip until past the cliffs before realising that I couldn't stop myself and straight-lined it the rest of the way, coming to a stop in powder below. Agata managed to pick her way down with greater care and control - next time I'm bringing axe and crampons or just taking the south-side traverse over to the lower notch.

Enjoyable run down Spearhead Glacier as always, all crevasses well filled-in. Re-skinned at the flats eyeing a lap down the eastern lobe of the glacier. Fun, mellow run down from the ridge for our second lap, and it was time to high tail it for Husume Couloir. Usual steep skinning followed by a short bit of booting to attain the col. Now in the shade, and thoroughly skied out, the couloir was mostly refrozen mank, and once again steeper than I remembered it. Still aesthetic as always and made it back down to Glacier Road in no time. Then straight to the Dublin Gate where Jackie greeted us with our usual shot of Jameson whiskey and pint of Harp!

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Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Silverdaisy Mountain - via Cayuse Flats, March 2023

Completely encircled by Skagit Valley and Manning Provincial Parks, but not part of either, the roughly 57 square kilometer area within which Silverdaisy Mountain is located is a virtual BC Parks no-mans land. Within this relatively small parcel of land can be found a collection of peaks such as Hatchethead, Claimstake, Brice, Eastpoint, Porcupine and of course the most frequently visited of the lot, Silverdaisy. Its popularity as a winter objective stems from the fact that a good, albeit long forest road starting from Hwy 3 can be followed to the ~5900ft Claimstake-Silverdaisy Saddle, a mere 1.6 kilometers from the summit. The terrain is also relatively sheltered from avalanches, adding to its appeal as a "safe" outing when conditions elsewhere are hazardous. Unfortunately, this also means that as a ski-touring destination, a trip to Silverdaisy isn't very exciting, although the East Face of neighboring Claimstake apparently offers a fine, steep run.

Content with simply tagging Silverdaisy on yet another solo outing, I found myself skinning-up at the highway pullout hopeful for bucking the car prowling trend the Cayuse Flats Trailhead has become notorious for. Crossed the bridge over the Skagit River and then a long, boring skin some 10 kilometers up Smitheram Creek Valley to the saddle. Sinking through the previous tracks for much of the way and dragging heavy clumps of snow globbed onto the bottom of my skins, it was an exhausting slog getting to this point. I stopped repeatedly to rid my skins of the snow and ice, but minutes later they'd glob back up again. Ugh! A short but steep pitch up to the South Ridge followed by more of the same laborious skinning to the summit. Decent views, particularly of distant Silvertip and Hozomeen as well as Claimstake and Eastpoint much closer in. Toured back from the top to the steep bit above the saddle before switching to ride mode and enjoying a quick descent mostly adjacent to my up track. A large cutblock area before the long FSR valley section offered the best riding IMO. Snow conditions had firmed up slightly now, allowing for a continuous descent back to the bridge with only one short stretch where I had to walk. What a relief! Back to the truck, where low and behold all the windows and doors were intact. Best part of the day for sure!

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Saturday, March 16, 2024

Blowdown Peak - South Ridge, February 2023

Chose this as my next split-touring venue off the Duffey. The peak with its distinctive chutes is easily spotted from the highway and had captured my imagination from the very first time I gazed up at them. Access is by way of Steep Creek FSR which also services approaches to Steep and Darkside. The FSR leads most of the way to Blowdown's west-facing basin and makes the descent very much a "road shot", with just a short bit of skinning on the return interrupting what would otherwise be a continuous ride from summit to the highway. Like with my other tours in the area, I postponed this trip for late winter as it takes a while for the terrain out here to fill in. I would not be disappointed by that decision, but seriously considered not stepping out of the car that morning as the temps were hovering around -25C! But it's a "dry cold" I kept repeating to myself as I strapped-in and shouldered my pack.

Up the FSR, then took a left at the Steep-Blowdown fork eventually reaching a cutblock area with my first good views of the line I intended to ride down. Just one set of older tracks here to follow but ended up making my own way across the cutblock proper. Travel here was slow, tedious, and exhausting. More wallowing now up the west-facing basin, in deep cold powder, breaking trail the whole way. At some point a helicopter buzzed by overhead and dropped a couple guys off at the summit. There's a Gazex exploder up there along with some other equipment that probably needed servicing. While I didn't see them at the time, these two skied down to a weather station hidden in the trees down near my up route. I think they were a bit surprised to see me, breathing heavily and moving slowly as I was! Said hello and kept plodding up towards the ridge crest above. Shortly thereafter the heli returned to pluck the two off the mountain and I was alone once again.

More skinning misery gaining the ridge, after which it was mostly smooth sailing to the summit. Outstanding views in all directions, particularly of Duffey Lake way down below. Other notables include views up Blowdown Valley towards Blowdown Pass, Gott and Gotcha, west towards Rohr and Marriott, Steep and Darkside to the south and of course the Joffre Group to the WSW. Sweaty and freezing up there, so I didn't linger for long, assembled the board and started down. Chose the more conservative of the two main chutes (skiers left) being that I was solo, despite the LOW avalanche rating. Unbelievable cold smoke pow down from the ridge back into the basin - faster is better, you know, just in case! The excitement was over with much to quickly as always, and unfortunately, I was far too spent to go back up for another lap! Steep looks appealing, and with the great access I might have to come nab that one next!

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