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| | |-+  January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
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Author Topic: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC  (Read 8974 times)
radka
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January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« on: 01/21/14, 09:15 AM »

It looked like a really nice weekend so I decided to do a solo trip to Elfin Lakes, BC, to check out the area that I had never been to. Turns out I seriously underestimated the popularity of this place as I arrived at an overflowing parking lot on a Saturday morning. For a couple minutes I was hoping all these people were dayhikers (right?) until I saw a sign at the trailhead that the Elfin Hut was already full as of 11 am. Oh shoot, now what. I did not bring a tent as I counted on staying at the hut, but I figured with the mild temperatures, I could dig a shelter and sleep outside.

The trail follows a road for a few miles until Paul Ridge is reached from where it’s a marked trail, up and down, along the ridge. The shelter was not just full – it was a complete ZOO! By the time I arrived the party was on.

The first person I asked happened to have a snow saw and not only that – he and his 10-year old son were the authors of a super cozy ice shelter right outside the hut. I was told that somebody else expressed interest in the igloo so I set out to build a trench shelter using the crust. You could just cut out building blocks from the top 10 cm of the crust which is how the igloo was also built. Later I learnt that the igloo became available so I happily moved in to this luxurious ice hotel instead of my trench shelter.



When I say the party was on, I mean it was ON. A number of people appeared to be reaching the levels of acute alcohol intoxication and showed no signs of wanting to slow down. So far, it has been a frat party at all the huts in BC that I have visited – so I guess that means Canadians know how to party?

I spent a semi-chilly night in the igloo woken up by the moon that was shining directly into the shelter at one point during the night. So pretty!
I had very low expectations for skiing the next day as the snow along Paul Ridge appeared plain unskiable and awful. After a late start, I decided to check out the saddle between Columnar Peak and the Gargoyles, as was recommended to me by the gentleman who built the igloo.



Mamquam Mtn



View of Mt Atwell from the saddle



I was very pleasantly surprised by smooth, buttery turns on this lovely slope! Next, I went up the Gargoyles as the slope below had no tracks and was just asking to be skied. Once atop the Gargoyles, though, I saw more inviting terrain and was able to locate Diamond Head, which was also recommended to me. I made a quick decision to check it out. The turns on the N slope were even better – smooth and powdery!

Mt Atwell and indistinct Diamond Head in the foreground



It was a great tour to Diamond Head with nice views of Lions Bay and parts of the Neve traverse. The summit is just a high point on a ridge connecting Diamond Head and Mt Atwell. The skiing here was quite variable but the scenery was hard to beat.




 
Back at the hut, it was a quiet lovely evening with just a handful of people. I spent some time documenting the sunset and photographing the stars.

Here are a few pictures from Sunday night:













The next day, I was debating whether I should go for another run up the saddle but then decided to just head out. Some twenty minutes later, I notice that my heel lifter feels a little wobbly so I stop to take a look at it. And here it is – AGAIN!





My binding is split in half, the pins are completely missing, I have no ski mode and no heel lifter. WTF! I am not kidding – this is like the FIFTH time my Dynafits have broken. I used to be at Marmot every month with a broken binding, so often that I was called the gear tester. Fortunately, I had very mellow terrain ahead of me and was able to pizza all the way down the road back to the car.

At the border, I flashed my brand new Nexus card and saved myself an hour-long wait – I like this Nexus thing! I headed straight to Marmot where Eric was completely awesome as usual and replaced my binding. I will be so lost when these guys close the doors…

« Last Edit: 01/21/14, 10:15 PM by radka » Logged
MtnPavlas
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #1 on: 01/21/14, 10:25 AM »

Stunning photos, Radka, as usual ;- )
Thanks for reporting out on this area.
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Oyvind_Henningsen
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #2 on: 01/21/14, 10:29 AM »

simply awesome
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Lytt til erfarne fjellfolk!
Kenji
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #3 on: 01/21/14, 10:53 AM »

Sweet trip!  Next time, please twist my arm harder, or both arms.  btw, have you noticed I don't need those heel things, never had, never will  Grin 
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Zap
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #4 on: 01/21/14, 12:14 PM »

Great photos. I have been to the hut mid week so its been "quiet". The snow pack was deep at my visits and the low entry was covered. Smiley
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Edgesport
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #5 on: 01/21/14, 01:38 PM »

Has anyone given you an explanation as to why the heel is falling apart?
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ryanl
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #6 on: 01/21/14, 02:21 PM »

Awesome trip Radka! And great photos as usual. I love that place.
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rlsg
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #7 on: 01/21/14, 05:48 PM »

WOW--WHAT GREAT PHOTOS!!!!!!!!!!
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JimD
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #8 on: 01/21/14, 05:50 PM »

Cool. Fantastic photos as always. Love the stars.
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rlsg
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #9 on: 01/21/14, 05:52 PM »

BTW--where is this area?--Whistler area?
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Marcus
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #10 on: 01/21/14, 07:07 PM »

Incredible photos, Radka - I may have to dub thee "official TAY photographer".  Love the view of Squamish and the Chief from above - makes me look forward to climbing season.
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radka
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #11 on: 01/21/14, 07:51 PM »

Thank you all so much for your very kind comments and your generosity! It makes me super happy when I can share my joy of the mountains with others. I have to remember to post more often...

Kenji - I actually did think about you as my binding broke! I thought "oh great, now I am on tele gear, how in the world do I ski on that?" You must have really flexible calf muscles - I need to kenjify mine Wink

Edgesport - the explanation I have been given is that Dynafit Radical is poorly designed and there is too much plastic. I am open to other bindings, but haven't found an alternative. I don't have the patience for Verticals and Fritschi is not an option for me because it doesn't release well. 

rlsg - as Marcus pointed out, this area is right above Squamish so not quite Whistler yet. It's in the vicinity of Mt Garibaldi.

Marcus - you are too kind  Smiley
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Jim_Clement
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #12 on: 01/21/14, 08:34 PM »

Really great  photos, Radka. Please post more!
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jtack
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #13 on: 01/21/14, 09:43 PM »

Radka, I'm throwing in with everyone else, absolutely wonderful photo's. Thanks!
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smsherman
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #14 on: 01/21/14, 10:54 PM »

Marcus - good eye! I didn't see the chief there.  I think I can see the top of Angel's Crest  Grin

Radka - the photos and report are great! thanks so much for sharing!
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Marcus
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #15 on: 01/21/14, 11:28 PM »

Marcus - good eye! I didn't see the chief there.  I think I can see the top of Angel's Crest  Grin

Radka - the photos and report are great! thanks so much for sharing!

Ha!  Hi Stephen - yup, and the last couple pitches of the buttress.  Bet it's nice and dry right now too, maybe I should skip my schoolwork...
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avajane
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #16 on: 01/22/14, 05:19 PM »

I came into this post late, but want to add that the photo's are beautiful. By now I would have thought that Washingtonians should know that Canadians know how to party, ski, and certainly build Igloos. Building Igloos is part of an intensive 8th grade examination they all have to go through! I will be watching the Super Bowl with my Canadian Friends in a couple of weeks as it is my monthly duty to travel to the frozen north and check out the Igloos, Whistler/Blackcomb skiing, and the "Black Sheep of Canadian Liqueur's"

Brian "How bout that Grey Cup Ay?"

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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
Griff
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #17 on: 01/22/14, 07:19 PM »

Wonderful pictures, thank you sharing. If ok, I would love to share one or two this Monday on my skiing related FB page for the "Monday Shot".
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radka
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Re: January 18-20, 2014, Elfin Lakes, BC
« Reply #18 on: 01/22/14, 09:16 PM »

Thank you all again!

Yes, it does seem that knowing how to build an igloo is an essential part of the Canadian curriculum. The 10-year old boy told me he has been skiing since he was 18 months old. I am not quite sure I knew how to walk at that age. He was also using terms like "slab" and "crust" like a pro - I doubt his peers would even know what he is talking about.

Feel free to share pics! There are a few more here: http://radkaandchris.smugmug.com/Skiing/2014/Elfin-Lakes-BC-January-18-20
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