Friday, May 8, 2009

The Spearhead

We had no trouble finding eight backcountry skiers that wanted to try British Columbia's infamous Spearhead Traverse on a Monday in late April, even with marginal weather forecasted. We wanted to spend three days enjoying the area as well as doing the route.

The weather was supposed to be the best on Monday, so we bought our lift tickets in the rain and rode up to the top in the fog. We headed into the backcountry in whiteout conditions, hoping that the clouds would eventually lift. But, unfortunately they didn't go anywhere.

We waited for a few hours hoping that things would change before we realized that we wouldn't be able to complete the route the way that we planned. Six of us decided to descend the Blackcomb Glacier, while two others stayed behind to wait it out.

Patience is a virture and those who wait are often rewarded. The two who stayed behind were rewarded with clear skys and great spring skiing. They ascended Blackcomb peak and then laid fresh tracks all they way down...

AAI Backpacking Guide Jeff Ries in the Fog on the Spearhead Traverse

Heading into Spearhead Backcountry

Camping on the Spearhead

Ralph on top of Blackcomb Peak with the Black Tusk and Whistler Mountain in the background

Ralph Skiing the Blackcomb Glacier

Skiing the Blackcomb Glacier in Great Spring Conditions

--Jeff Ries, AAI Backpacking Guide

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