Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Finally, this trip lined up. I have been wanting to do this trip since I showed up to Squamish four years ago. Well I finally got the peeps, and the weather and after a season of ski touring we were all in shape to do it in a day. We had Michelle Boender, a nordic patrol at Cypress, her friend Mark, my buddy and Ski Guide/Patrol Martin Fitchl and his young German friend Rafi. After pounding back a cup of coffee at 5:30 am and picking up the crew we were at the Diamond Head trailhead and leaving at 6:15 am. We absolutely nailed the weather as it was a clear bluebird day without a cloud in the sky. By the time we got to Paul Ridge the sun was beginning to come up and it was spectacular. I have probably toured up here 25 times this year but everytime I come up I am amazed with the scenery. The majestic Tantalus Range sprawls to the west, the big Massif of Garibaldi was beckoning to the north, Mamquam Mountain northeast and the Squamish and Cheakamus valleys far below blazing a path through the various ranges. We stopped at Elfin Lakes for some foot repair and then headed back out into the sunshine for 5 hours of climbing up Ring Creek. The further we got into this trip the more dramatic the scenery became. I had never seen the views of Mt. Garibaldi as was laid before me now. It was also getting hot and I was dropping a lot of water. We stopped for one of our lunches on the neve, stuffing our faces with food and crushing bottles of water with Nuun tablets. I sat in amazement with the scene laid out in front of me. Hard to believe we were only 5 hours out of Squamish but in a place so remote and stunning, our backyard. After our first lunch we carried on higher and higher with a bit of frustration occurring due to sticky snow on the skins and hot spring like conditions. We certainly didn't need anymore weight on our skis. We were going light though since we were knocking this off in a day. Our high point of the trip was 1000 feet below the summit of Garibaldi. It was in fine shape and tantalizingly close. We all agreed to come back to knock on the summit next time. I am sure we would have bagged it if we had an overnight plan but our "mish" today was door to door so we needed to save some energy. After our second lunch at our high point it was backcountry skiing heaven on the north facing aspects. We shredded some incredible April snow, zippering lines into the Warren Glacier, one of the best runs I have had all year. I couldn't keep the smile off my face or the hurt out of my quads. This is what it is all about. Another bit of uphill touring lead us to the top of the Sphinx Glacier. I had a visit from my raven brother along this section, he flew overhead  sqwalking about hoping spring would arrive soon. Skins back off we crushed another line right down to the Sphinx hut just above Garibaldi Lake. I was really happy to see an open creek since I had gotten very quiet over the last two hours since I had gone through all of my water. Water is the best thing in the world eh? Especially cold Sphinx Glacier water......not that crap in plastic water bottles labelled "glacier." Now it was time for the long trek across the frozen lake. An hour into the flat traverse I felt like Mr. Roboto, in rhythm, mindless touring with awesome mountains jutting out of the lake and great views of Black Tusk. It was also at this time that my feet started aching, my boots and feet not used to the duration of this tour. As J.S.G would say, "stop whining and just put it in your pain box", course I think I left my pain box in the car or I had trouble opening it. Once we completed our traverse across the lake it was all downhill to Mark's truck. The ski out to Rubble Creek was pretty good except for the last KM where we had to take our skis off and walk the rest. The bag of chips Michelle had strategically placed in the truck for our arrival were demolished in minutes......as was the Flask of vodky......seconds though for that. What a day. I was stoked. 14 hours truck to truck and 42 kms. Thanks a lot to my teammates Michelle, Mark, Martin and Rafi, for such a great day. Now I am motivated to find more big day traverses in our backyard of Squampton.

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