Turns All Year Trip Reports

2018 Backcountry Trip Reports => March 2018 Backcountry Trip Reports => Topic started by: discostew on 04/11/18, 11:09 AM



Title: Mar. 24-31, Fairy Meadows, BC
Post by: discostew on 04/11/18, 11:09 AM
My party of 9 was lucky enough to book a week at the Bill Putnam (Fairy Meadows) hut through the Alpine Club of Canada lottery. The hut is located about 60 km north of Revelstoke, BC in the Adamant range at an elevation of about 2000m. We picked the last week of March in hopes of getting sunny, mild, high pressure weather that would allow us to explore the huge glaciers and high alpine peaks that Fairy Meadows is known for.

Unfortunately, the only bluebird days we got were the days we flew in and out. The rest of the week was full on mid-winter. It snowed ~150cm while we were there and a combination of high winds, poor vis, and storm/windslabs kept us from spending much time on the glaciers or in the alpine at all, which was a bit disappointing.

But, the upside of lots of snow is... lots of snow. You don't go to FM to ride trees, as there isn't much easily accessible subalpine terrain, but we had an absolute blast riding what was available. Most of the 17 people in the hut including myself proclaimed it was the deepest and lightest snow we'd ever ridden. I'd heard of mythical so-called choker pow that you can't help but suffocate on as you plow through it, but this was my first time experiencing it. GoPro footage was comical, as every clip would consist of 1-2 turns (or 1-2 seconds of straight-lining) before the lens was plastered in pow (see video). Most of the week was spent doing as many bottomless 2-300m laps as our legs could handle.

Video:  https://vimeo.com/264195655

Our first day poking around after arriving. Looking north at the hut and Cycle peak behind it from the top of the "practice slopes"
[img width=1000 height=666]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/806/40478223844_321456318e_b.jpg[/img]

Looking west towards the Granite Glacier and Unicorn and Colossal Peaks. We only made it onto the Granite one day.
[img width=1000 height=513]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/791/41191854441_51e11ba28a_b.jpg[/img]

Skinning up to the practice slopes for our first run of the trip. The Needle chutes in the background.
[img width=1000 height=666]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/807/41191864311_62f10636df_b.jpg[/img]

Heading to Friendship Col, the gateway to the Gothic Glacier. The day started out with reasonable vis, but that would soon change. This was the one day we managed to get up there.
[img width=1000 height=588]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/798/26318640637_3af9605753_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=1000 height=625]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/801/40295557495_e7e6f8b6f7_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=1000 height=639]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/796/40295544205_52b731c17f_b.jpg[/img]

Looking north from Friendship Col. Weather came just as we gained the col and we were in a whiteout on the Gothic. We had hoped to ascend Sentinel and Pioneer but were forced back.
[img width=1000 height=589]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/889/27317435268_dbc7bf807d_b.jpg[/img]

As a consolation, we booted up one of the Needle chutes, figuring the rock walls would provide enough contrast to make this the only alpine line with enough vis to ride.
[img width=1000 height=745]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/873/41191796551_dfefaee308_b.jpg[/img]

Exiting the chute. One of many choker pow turns
[img width=1000 height=671]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/795/41146492162_9f1e821a48_b.jpg[/img]

Over the next couple days it stormed so we retreated to Outpost Bowl and trees. We rode this chute pretty close to the hut on our way
[img width=553 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/888/41146480012_a65819822c_b.jpg[/img]

Our first look at Outpost couloir. A couple members of the other party in the hut rode it a couple stormy and windy days after this pic was taken. Given the slab risk, this was outside of my comfort zone but we watched them slay it and it looked glorious. We were jealous to say the least. We attempted it a couple days after them, but a huge whoompf as we approached the fanout turned us around. I would rank this as the best line I saw at FM and I will be back to slay it!
[img width=1000 height=540]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/808/39380911880_80f858e60c_b.jpg[/img]

This was what we spent most of our time doing:
[img width=941 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/885/26318574417_5141995fb0_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=742 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/818/39380900340_cfa3a843d4_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=1000 height=665]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/877/40295467995_fc524ee78d_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=771 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/811/27317348848_132ecfffcb_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=1000 height=773]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/896/41191710801_0a57bcac58_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=922 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/869/26318535607_f4897cb9c1_b.jpg[/img]

This pic of my wife is probably my favourite of the trip
[img width=1000 height=541]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/874/39380855870_d992f20a2c_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=1000 height=676]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/800/39380849240_7c1929363c_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=882 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/811/40478048184_bdbefff4db_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=1000 height=673]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/801/41146420192_7dceeb62a5_b.jpg[/img]

This was the one day that weather broke enough for us to attempt to get onto the Granite glacier. The day started out bluebird but gradually got more socked in. Also, it was really fucking cold. I measured -20C at this col and it was howling so windchill was much worse. This was one of the few times I've skinned wearing every layer I brought plus my balaclava and goggles.

About to get onto the Granite
[img width=1000 height=410]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/895/27317262958_e797e2d70d_b.jpg[/img]

On the Granite looking south at the highest peaks of the Adamants, all guarded by crevasse fields
[img width=1000 height=499]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/868/40295364925_e3eafcd0c7_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=1000 height=504]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/796/27317245018_e470fd15e8_b.jpg[/img]

We did a couple hippie turn laps under Pioneer pass
[img width=1000 height=645]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/870/40295352115_16c72d7aef_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=823 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/885/27317226718_a1bfaff94b_b.jpg[/img]

Then we set off for the Unicorn/Colossal col, but a combination of incoming weather and an equipment failure turned us back
[img width=1000 height=683]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/794/41191583031_dfb48a805f_b.jpg[/img]

Our aforementioned unsuccessful attempt at Outpost couloir
[img width=1000 height=683]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/806/40477959654_ee02851d8c_b.jpg[/img]

...aaaand back to trees and pillows!
[img width=627 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/801/41191564771_28808e0961_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=616 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/820/40295463095_994e42a059_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=616 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/883/41191556471_fe532c67da_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=584 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/878/40477941234_b25014483c_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=548 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/820/40295303975_75b46850ce_b.jpg[/img]

Of course, our fly out day was a perfect windless, mild, bluebird day
[img width=958 height=800]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/809/40295294065_8b44eb87a2_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=1000 height=473]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/888/39380730730_acb799aa54_b.jpg[/img]

[img width=1000 height=787]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/790/40295290465_99455a1a4f_b.jpg[/img]

I was a little disappointed at not being able to spend more time in the alpine but such is nature of booking a hut a year in advance. The ridiculous snow we got to ride made up for it. I had heard about the FM hut for so long and after finally getting there, it's no wonder a lottery is required. The terrain at FM is mind-bottling. I will keep coming back until I get a week of bluebird!


Title: Re: Mar. 24-31, Fairy Meadows, BC
Post by: mikerolfs on 04/11/18, 06:40 PM
Awesome trip and that snow looked so great!

I've been once to FM. There is a gully across the Gothic Gl that shares my daughter's name, Freya. I went over to ski it, and had the same experience you had, with weather coming in, we turned around at the top and hoofed it back without skiing the good line. I recognize some of the tree areas, especially that gully across from the hut. That was a fun line.

Thanks for the write up. Really fun to read. Great pics.


Title: Re: Mar. 24-31, Fairy Meadows, BC
Post by: dbkiker on 04/11/18, 08:33 PM
glad you had a great trip! we were out there the previous week, a lot less snow coming down and only slightly better visibility. what an insanely cool place to put a hut!


Title: Re: Mar. 24-31, Fairy Meadows, BC
Post by: discostew on 04/12/18, 08:14 AM
Quote from: dbkiker on 04/11/18, 08:33 PM
glad you had a great trip! we were out there the previous week, a lot less snow coming down and only slightly better visibility. what an insanely cool place to put a hut!
were you in the group with the girl that got caught in the slide on enterprise and nearly pushed into a crevasse? ya, coolest hut location i've ever seen. can't wait to get back there


Title: Re: Mar. 24-31, Fairy Meadows, BC
Post by: CascadeSkier on 04/12/18, 11:55 AM
An excellent trip report! thanks for sharing


Title: Re: Mar. 24-31, Fairy Meadows, BC
Post by: dbkiker on 04/12/18, 08:22 PM
Quote from: discostew on 04/12/18, 08:14 AM
were you in the group with the girl that got caught in the slide on enterprise and nearly pushed into a crevasse? ya, coolest hut location i've ever seen. can't wait to get back there


yup that was us. scary stuff. storm slab triggered at a real bad time. coulda been worse tho and rest of the trip was a blast! cant wait to go back indeed!


Title: Re: Mar. 24-31, Fairy Meadows, BC
Post by: Zap on 04/13/18, 08:27 AM
Thanks for the great photos and comments. It brings back memories of the year I was there with a couple storm days and more powder and sunny days. I was a "fill-in" and I met some great folks.  ;)


Title: Re: Mar. 24-31, Fairy Meadows, BC
Post by: SYates on 04/13/18, 09:00 AM
Incredible! Flying out there tomorrow!


Title: Re: Mar. 24-31, Fairy Meadows, BC
Post by: Pinch on 04/17/18, 08:59 AM
Niiiiicee. Reminds me of a good time in '06.


Title: Re: Mar. 24-31, Fairy Meadows, BC
Post by: discostew on 04/17/18, 05:26 PM
Quote from: Pinch on 04/17/18, 08:59 AM
Niiiiicee. Reminds me of a good time in '06.
looks like the top of outpost couloir! sweet!


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