Last March I had the opportunity to travel Fairy Meadow and the Bill Putnam Hut in British Columbia, Canada for some backcountry skiing. The hut is located deep in the Adamant Range on the other side of Rogers Pass, and is only accessible via helicopter. And since heli rides are expensive, we only paid for two: one to drop off us, and one to pick us up 7 days later. On these flights we took everything we would need for a week of skiing, principally ski gear, food and booze. Doug, Megan, Gus and I shared the hut with 16 Canadians who we didn’t know prior to this adventure, but after a good amount of time bonding on the slopes and in the sauna, we became fast friends. Our week was essentially perfect: great snow, blue skies, delicious food and wonderful company. We took down some monster objectives, and played around in the trees searching for pillow lines to surf. The absence of electricity, let alone any sort of connectivity, helped us all focus on one of the most important aspects of life: shredding the gnar.
I am working on down selecting and editing about 1,300 photos from my epic trip to the Bill Putnam Hut at Fairy Meadow in British Columbia. Until I unleash all the glory that was a week long backcountry ski odyssey, I’ve put together a quick video with some highlights. Make sure you cruise over to the Vimeo site to watch in full HD.
P.S. The video is also on YouTube.
The Greatest Snow on Earth. That is what license plates all over the state of Utah claim, and after several days in the Wasatch, I am inclined to agree. On New Year’s Eve of 2012, Anne and I joined a cadre of backcountry skiers and ventured into the White Pine Lake zone out of Little Cottonwood Canyon. We enjoyed crisp pow and blue skies—I think I’ll be back soon.
Reaching the summit of Mount Baker was one of my first conquests in the Pacific Northwest. I came to Seattle in 2006 as an intern, and climbed to the top of Grants Peak that summer. For the last several years I’ve had Mount Baker on my hit list again, although this time with a slightly different mission in mind. I want to ski from the top.
WTF is a chairlift? It’s about this time of year that the concept of a seat dangling from a wire which spans the side of a mountain begins to sound like some kind of exotic luxury. Hauling skis up mountains to find snow in June is exactly what Megan, Steven and I did near the Liberty Bell Group. Our objective was to complete the scenic North Cascades’ gem known as the Birthday Tour.
This year on America’s birthday, Keith, Lucas, Jon and I got several helpings of corn courtesy of Naches Peak near Chinook Pass. The weather looked promising, and we hatched a plan to assault the nearly 6400′ mountain during the morning of July 4th. We departed Seattle shortly after 6, and were parked and skinning up by 9 AM. We approached from the west and made our way up the ridge. The early morning surface conditions were icy, but not so much so that crampons were required. After several hundred feet, snow coverage became a little patchy. We blistered through the final push to the summit along the edge of the ridge with skis on our backs.
After an abnormally grueling ski up Snoqualmie Mountain, we unceremoniously reached “The Slot.” I actually couldn’t even see it. I was several yards behind Bobby, Tristan and Gus when someone announced, “we’re here.” All I saw was the edge of a ridge that presumably dropped off into a granite abyss. As I inched closer and closer to the precipice, the 35-45 degree pitch of The Slot revealed itself. Damn. As my heart rate was already spun up due to the treacherous, steep side hilling on shear ice that was our ascent; peering over the edge to view The Slot did little to calm my nerves.