Turns All Year Trip Reports

2009 Backcountry Trip Reports => January 2009 Backcountry Trip Reports => Topic started by: Marcus on 01/07/09, 02:48 PM

Title: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: Marcus on 01/07/09, 02:48 PM
After hearing tales of last year's powdery slopes and moldy yurt walls, Anastasia and I couldn't pass up the chance to join Andy, Mica, Kirsten, Nate, Todd and Murray (and Tundra, canine wunderkind) on a New Year's return trip to the Qua Yurt, 20 logging road miles outside Ymir in southeast BC.

What should have been a powderfest was somewhat dampened by the results of our test pits:

Snowpack depth between 4 and 6 feet, with 8 inches of sugar over ground beneath a 1/2" ice lens.  Significant slabs of 12 and 18" thickness, buried around 18" down and 36" down respectively.  The uppermost layer was very reactive (RB1, Q1; CT5, Q1).  We had a number of failures of the entire snowpack (CT11 and CT0, 26 degree and 37 degree slopes) over the course of a few days worth of pit digging.  This is all buried under more new snow, falling under very cold temps.  Frequent whoomphing on low angle (25 degree) slopes.

It was bitterly cold (compared to the Cascades, at least) and the pitches we were able to ski were barely long enough to warm us up as we climbed them for our laps, so we got about 4500 feet of skiing in for the entire trip.  Part of that was because the snowpack is about 3 feet behind normal for this time of year, so the tree skiing was still littered with rocks and brush in many areas.  We also had to hump our big backpacks in about 1800 feet from the snowmobile drop-off -- a touch more than the 500 feet most of us were planning on.

Nonetheless, it was a fantastic trip for the company, the beautiful terrain and the delicious food (bratwurst, jambalAYA, bbq pork and lasagna).  The yurt could be a little better thought out and the operation isn't smoothly oiled, but the terrain is amazing.  I'd certainly return in a more stable snowpack.

Pictures are Todd as the rutschblock fails Q1 with about 50 pounds of weight on a 37 degree slope, followed by Tundra, shredding my goretex pants in terror on his first snowmobile ride.

Title: Re: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: Matt C on 01/07/09, 05:37 PM
Too bad about the snowpack, Marcus. But it sounds like a fun trip nonetheless. If you want a "cozy" shelter for next year in that area, check out the Huckleberry Hut just south of Nelson.

Title: Re: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: Marcus on 01/07/09, 05:39 PM
Thanks Matt, we'll check that out. 

Had we better snow, the terrain was like a low alpine version of Fairy Meadows.  Many, many fantastic lines, if only we could get near them without changing our shorts.

Title: Re: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: Scotsman on 01/07/09, 09:01 PM
Wow, those are some scary pit results Marcus CT5, CT10, CT11 with Q1!!!! yikes.
Sorry it didn't work out for you but seeing new terrain for the future is always money in the karma bank.

I love that part of BC.

Title: Re: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: Marcus on 01/08/09, 12:30 AM
Yeah, there's some remarkable stuff up there.

Some of the pit variability was due to the sub-snow surface -- lots of rock and trees, etc, so lots of local changes.  That CT11 to ground was on a 25 degree slope though... spooky.  All the pits we dug were to ground.  It was that 18" slab on the rutschblock that scared us the most -- the whole slope we dug it one actually cracked above our pits as Todd was approaching the RB...

Title: Re: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: Tophervw on 01/08/09, 09:20 AM

Spooky is right!  We baggd our outing all together.  Good to hear the area has promise.  Scotsmans got the Karma statemtnt to the T....Now lets get winter back on.

"Next time gadget.....Next Time...!!!" (Dr. Claw)

Title: Re: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: md2020 on 01/08/09, 10:11 AM
We took a trip there a couple years ago, but under much better conditions. The "highlight" of the trip was, due to lack of space on the motorized vehicles, several of us being towed out on skis behind the sleds. Pretty fun for a while, but after 20 miles in those temps it got old real fast.

Brenda and I had planned to spend the holidays in Nelson, but canceled at the last minute due to the conditions. They had had a very thin snowpack, under super cold temps for several weeks, so the conditions you found do not surprise me.

Title: Re: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: bcskibdy on 01/08/09, 09:42 PM
Before the Coldsmoke Fest started, Nils Larson organized a tele clinic at Whitewater, BC Presidents' Day weekend.  In Feb 2006 a group of us spent 3 days after the clinic at Qua yurt with Nils and Kasha Rigby.  Great time, great company, great skiing.  The facilites are 'basic' and Trevor forgot to come pick us up and we had to ski out after sitting around waiting for a couple hours, but no serious complaints.

Title: Re: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: jimmyclimbs on 01/08/09, 11:36 PM
My group went to Ymir last Feb. 29. Trevor was a total wanker, he forgot to get us too.

We had a fab time 4,000 touring one day, 5,000 the nest and the access was great from the stinky moldy Qua yurt.

Question is how do you accept a "guide" / outfitter who can't honor his word. Lots of stories out there about Trevor forgetting this or that, but he never forgets to cash the check.

Title: Re: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: jimmyclimbs on 01/15/09, 10:29 AM
Here's a link to a video from our trip there last Leap Day. Snow was quite nice, the yurt worked and snow was quite stable, but of course we didn't dig to the ground, or have local knowledge on our side.


Title: Re: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: hypermartyr on 01/15/09, 10:32 AM
Excellent music... great transitions... nice editing... GREAT video!!

Title: Re: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: kootexp on 03/03/09, 09:49 PM
Apparantly I'm the wanker that jimmyclimbs if referring to, although I have never forgotten anyone at the yurts. I can't remember exactly his issue. Yes, the yurts have been a little rough over the last three years as I moved from a guided/catered operation to a self catered and self-guided operation where I don't have as much control over the experience. I could not find much information about jimmyclimbs except for this email: I tried your card to place the 25% deposit for the booking Feb 29-Mar 3 today. But the card was declined. The deposit is $198.75. Wow, I must be raking in the cash on this deal. I'm not sure what the problem was depositing a cheque, or what other trangression I am supposed to have commited. BCSkiBuddy - I never forgot to pick your group up, I was there at the appointed time but the group was not and not answering the radio so we took the group that we did have with us out so they did not have to wait and returned two hours later for your group. The yurts are 30km away from the nearest plowed road and in the past have been up to 2 hour ski tour from the snowcat road so they are remote. We have pulled groups out after 50cm snowfalls overnight and avalanches over the access roads which have delayed our trips - that goes with the territory. If you fly into a cabin by helicopter sometimes you won't get out at all for a day or two if the weather is poor. The yurts are basic and they are cheaper than any other non government subsidized backcountry experience. The terrain is amazing. I transport people in and out and that's about it right now. In the future perhaps we will provide more services.

Title: Re: 12/31 - 1/4 Ymir Yurt, BC
Post by: Dave S. on 03/26/09, 09:40 PM
Wow, I had no idea that video was on youtube. My wife is famous. We did a fair bit of skiing out there. The terrain is outstanding. On the way back to the car it was snowing like crazy. Our snowmobile driver pulled over at a couple of places and let us make powder turns between switchbacks... Very nice... Then he picked us up again at the bottom.
I'll go back...Eventually.

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