Snow Spider and New Years
Happy 2008 to everyone!!!!! I was lucky enough to spend new years and the days leading up to it traveling by ski up and over mountains with some fabulous friends, great weather and beautiful terrain. We landed ourselves in the cutest little cabin in one of the most gorgeous areas I have yet explored out here on the west coast. Joe picked me up from Squamish the morning of the 29th and despite his cold he kindly drove me and all my things to the entrance of the Cerise hike.
It took us a blistering 1.5 hrs to make it to Keiths Hut. We waited around for the others who were already there, ate some lunch and when they still didn’t show went out for a couple of laps. There was some fantastic snow in the area. Joe, couldn’t stay so he dropped me off at the hut and I just chilled in my sleeping bag while the others returned from their day trip. I had an early night due to my late night the previous evening at my friend Gary’s Christmas party. This entire Christmas holiday was testing my ability to stay calm, relax and go with the flow. My nature is to go go go and when things don’t quite work out the way I had planned it is sometimes difficult for me just to take the time to relax and enjoy the place I happen to be (and to be honest they are usually places worth taking a moment to admire and love). My mantra is “lina…its about the journey not always the destination….”
We hit the skin track at about 8am. We traveled over the Vantage/Matier couloir, around Duke Mountain and over the pass to land ourselves into the SnowSpider Valley. The weather was great although we got hit by some strong winds in the first part of our trip until we got over the Vantage col. Mark led us through some trees hoping to find an old logging road that we were to follow until the pass. We eventually found the road and had some lunch on it…it was fantastic. The views were great, the snow was incredibly deep and the company fantastic (an my sandwhich not half bad…). Our road quickly came to an end and we were back in the trees. We skinned up and up and eventually reached our flat spot where the cabin lay. This cabin is tiny and on the edge of three tiny lakes….covered in snow…As one can imagine it is somewhat difficult to detect at the best of times and if you don’t have prior knowledge of where it is or exact coordinates for its location its darn difficult as we found out.
We probably spent approximately 1.5 hours searching for the cabin. We split up one point to try and cover more ground. Once we regrouped and secured our waypints on the gps and decided which way to go we were about 5 minutes from the cabin (of course). We arrived at about 3pm to an empty cabin!!!! We were pumped but exhausted yet thrilled we did not have to do an emergency tenting for the night. We settled ourselves in and made it our home for the next two nights.
We decided to explore the area around the cabin for some skiing. We hit up the North West Ridge of SnowSpider. It took us about 2 hours to get to the top. The snow was deep and so trail breaking was a little tougher but still so great!!!!!. The views were unbelievable as we skinning up to our destination and I was giddy as anything…
As we were digging a pit to check out the snow conditions and avalanche possibilities the fog rolled in and so the rest of the skin up was done with little to no visibility (somewhat tough in unknown terrain). After lunch at the top the fog cleared and we scored a sweet run back down. We went up again for another try at a line Marg saw and wanted to shred.
We ended back at the hut at about 3pm. Relaxed, ate, played cards,drank and cheered in the New Year outside under the stars!!!!! Fantastic! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to ring in 2008!!!
The 1st 2008
We left the hut at 730am. We decided to take a different route back out. We skinned up Mt Casper (a steep, deep skin up….big pat on the back to everyone…..it was tough) We reached the top of the pass safely, excited and a little tired. I’ve never skinned up something so steep, deep and technical. We had to cross one avalanche pass and did so one by one…My favorite ski run down occurred once we skied over the pass.. It was just amazing….I think Craig got a video of my fine style…We then traversed and skied along the river, through a bunch of trees (some more ski whacking) in hopes of finding yet another logging road. We eventually found the road but just barely as to our surprise it was covered by overgrown Alder trees.
We were ski whacking (again!) through the alder for quite a while. Eventually it tapered off and we could get a clear path going. I have to admit my knees and toes were killing me….I didn’t think my feet were going to make it and it was really tough to try to get my brain to forget the pain especially with the fatigue rolling in. Sometimes its harder to get through the pain when you are not racing as nothing is really at stake but to finally pull through and finish off the task feels just as good and satisfying. We arrived at the road at 4pm. Craig and Marg hitched a ride back to our car (bless the kind sledders, it was 4km down the road). We finished out trip off in typical fashion at the Pony over good food chit chat and talk about the next trips to be had!!!!!!
Live, love, laugh,…DREAM!