Lyell/Mons Glacier Hut Trip, Dec 2014December 31, 2014
It has been a very rewarding experience finding my path as an independent IFMGA guide. Although not an easy career. It gives me the best opportunity to follow conditions and do what i really love to do. To be out in the mountains, help people with self development, being self propelled and channeling creative energy. As a person with a huge thirst for adventure, I enjoy the remote experiences I have with others. To be able to pick locations for the best conditions when I am hosting clinics, courses and private trips. Usually in the mountains, ideas and plans always change. This trip was executed on conditions alone. My time with Marcus has been another great experience. His needs for bettering his personal development, becoming a more self reliant recreationalist ended up in my lap. His self motivation alone to learn the ways of gauging snowpack, evaluating alpine terrain, becoming a better skier tourer/climber have given me an opportunity to transfer information to a gifted individual.
Here is our first of many stories.
Marcus's long term goal has been Mt Arras. Located at the far end of Icefall Brook. A large mountain with an endless array of ski lines for the experienced.
The conditions this year in BC have not played favour for skiers in the lower elevation areas. Rumours of ski operations cancelling weeks, postponing trips and temporarily laying off employees were floating around the ski industry rumour mill. Having clients with flexibility on objectives makes the job as independent guide easier. Marcus left me with the decision of where to go and what to ski. I cancelled our Mt Arrus plan because of undesirable conditions. Taking a flight to Lyell glacier in Icefall Lodges tenure seemed like the best option. This choice turned out to be a memorable trip. With blue skies in the forecast, and a considerable amount of precipitation and warm temperatures in the previous weeks set things up for fantastic skiing conditions.
We departed Golden on Sunday just after 8 am with Alpine helicopters. Six of us on board, we flew to Lyell hut, unloaded the hut gear and lifted to Lyell 5 (Christian peak) for the start of our incredible adventure. In the summer months, people travelled from far away to be hopeful in summiting one of the Lyell's. On this day, our group skied off three of the five lyell peaks. What a summit drop with the helicopter and what day touring and skiing the near by peaks of the Lyell massif.
Through out our week together, Marcus, myself and a few others skied many lines. Including steep descents off Lense Peak, around crampon col, and Mons peak. The snow quality, snow coverage on the glaciers, weather and solid snowpack made for a perfect trip. See the photos for yourself. When we weren't' shredding this incredible place, I was helping the others train and come up to par with the ACMG standardized systems of crevasse rescue, risk assessment and snow pack evaluation.
After four days at Lyell hut, the group headed to Icefall main lodge for our final night. This trip from Lyell hut to Icefall Lodge is a fantastic outing. Reminding me about the European Alps, without the people. Thanks to Larry Dolecki, his dedicated work ethic and crew to make this trip possible with the comforts of the hut system. The tour to the Icefall lodge takes you over crampon col in to the bowl below La Clyte. Varying terrain, landscape, glaciers over a large span of elevation makes this tour one of the finest civilized trips in North America.