Ski Touring the Neve has been something I've wanted to do since I got introduced to the wonderful world of backcountry skiing. The Neve is a point to point traverse that can be done in either South to North or North to South direction. Most people begin the traverse at the Black Diamond parking lot in Squamish and finish at the Garibaldi Parking lot further north off of highway 99 towards Whistler. Last year most of the crew had done the traverse in that direction but really disliked going down 9 km of tight switch backs that were mostly ice; therefore we decided to try it going the opposite way. I jumped aboard this time (having some free time in between courses, and looking for a job etc).
Saturday morning we did some car shuttling (in order to have a car at the end of the traverse as well as the beginning) and began our trek on the road towards Garibaldi Lake. We were lucky enough to hike the first 3 or 4 km with skis on our packs (really not that lucky...hahaha. It is amazing how much heavier the pack gets with skis tied to it). We eventually put on the skis and finished up the switchbacks... at least it felt a little shorter with the walking start?!? We had a gorgeous day so the 4km ski across Garibaldi Lake didn't feel as long and we had some beautiful sights to look at and let minds wander off. We arrived with plenty of time to cook in the sun (so nice to winter camp outside without shivering in the dark) and watch the sun set across the lake and rest behind the mountains.
The Burton hut was crammed with folk so we decided to set up camp outside; seeing that we brought tents we figured the weather was nice and the sleep wouldn't be too cool. Well, we were wrong about the warmer nights: it was still mighty cold and I had to put on all of my clothes throughout the night... Unfortunately two of our party decided to head back down the switchbacks and home due to lack of sleep etc.
Then there were three Andrew, Kala and I headed off toward the Neve. The sun was hot, the climbs steep, the crevasses big and the scenary magnificent. We climbed hard through the heat and managed to score some sweet turns on spring snow conditions down the Neve, across the sketchy Gargoles, to Elfin lakes, across Paul's Ridge and down from Red Heather to the parking lot and celebrate at the Shady Tree in Squamish.
The traverse has it all, ups and downs, trees, and glaciers. I was feeling the heat of the sun going up the glacier and had to stop and drink tons of water. My knees were causing me some problems half way through the traverse but I pulled through with some Ibuprofin and mental strength. The snow happen to be pretty awesome for our turns and the ski out was easy and quite peaceful.
Another great weekend spent in the mountains, on skis with fantastic friends.
I am truly enjoying my time in Vancouver since my return from South America. We live in a spectacular part of the world so go out and play!
Paul's Pictures here
Live, Love, Laugh,...DREAM!