START WEEK TWO (see Traverse report for week one)
At the hut we had first 3 days of powder, then one and a half clear days, then more snow. The snow made for super powder skiing, but the low visibility added to the challenge. Robson and Tom alternated leading us, and we never split into two groups. The highlight was the ascent of Pioneer Peak on Wednesday, with the steep descent from Pioneer Pass taking us home.
Sunday April 29: Two runs to Friendship Col, 4300' climb. Lunch under the giant cornice at the col. Most of the group did 3 runs (5300'), but the traversers stopped at two.
Monday April 30: To below Pioneer Pass in powder and low visibility. 5200' climb.
Tuesday May 1: To Colossal shoulder in powder and acceptable visibility. 5000' of climb. On the second run I counted 133 turns for me without falling (which was unusual for me!). Tom succeeded in contacting the CMH Adamant heli-guide and asking them to telephone my wife to say we had arrived safely (which they did). Mike took a rest day.
Wednesday May 2: All 14 of us get to the N Summit of Pioneer Peak (10700'), skiing right to the top, and then off the top. We roped for the last part of the ascent. It was great to see Gibraltar, Thor, and other peaks, but Sir Sandford never came out of the clouds. On the way up Robbie, Phil, and Leslie got big air off the cornice at Friendship Col. 4600' climb.
On the last run to the hut Drew fell hard onto his ski tips -- ate his skis -- and came up bloody. He had a bad split upper lip (no tooth damage), so back at the hut we set up an operating room -- boiling water, Jim Beam whisky, rags, gloves, bandages -- and Mike Anderson sutured four stitches into his lip (through the mustache). Drew handled it well and was skiing next day. If Mike had not been there, the wound would have been bandaged, but would probably have left a large scar.
Thursday May 3: To Ironman Col. Clear on the way up and the views of Pioneer, Gothics, Ironman, Unicorn, Colossal, Enterprise, and Sir William were great. We roped up for part of the Granite Glacier, coming close to a giant crevasse. We did two runs: 5900' climb. Barry had a sore knee and had to sit out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Friday May 4: Three steep runs (some booting to get up) in the Houdini Couloirs. The steepest one felt very much like a Colorado couloir. Mike's badly sunburned lips forced him to take the day off. And a sore back forced Dave out this day. 4260'.
Saturday May 5 (Day 15): Robson led us to a very steep run behind the Slingshot below Friendship Col. Then we traversed and climbed for a last run down what we called "Ladies First", the steep run near the hut. JeanMarie took a rest day today. 2600' climb. Helicopter paused on way in due to a squall, but the delay was short and it soon rose to the hut, and Don McTighe carried us out to the Bush Arm. He took the second group directly to golden while we bussed the road from Bush Arm. Dinner at Da Guido's with the whole group and Richard and Louise Guy.
Sunday May 6: Rise at 5, catch 7 am flight with Leslie, quick shuttle and back home at 11:15 a.m.
Traverse food and equipment notes: One fully dehydrated dinner; lots of dehydrated veggies, etc. Two MSR Dragonfly stoves. 4 litres fuel. One large tent (North Face VE 25), one small Bibler. Some titanium pots. Light Petzl Tikka headlamp. Crampons, ice ax, and harnesses for all. One snow saw we never used. Four shovels.
Failures: My new skins had very bad glue. They will be replaced for free.
I broke a small part on my MSR stove, but it did not impair the stove.
Bindings: Stan: Voile pin and cables; Bob and Leslie: Rainey; Mike: G3
Fairy Meadows comments: The hut is beautifully situated for quick access to a variety of steep and not-so-steep slopes. There is terrain for everyone here, and the scenery and hut itself are outstanding. And if the snow is good and one knows where one is going (read: knowledgeable guides) one can ski the high terrain in bad weather. I have now visited many Canadian lodges and huts for skiing. I could rank them, but they are all great when conditions are good.