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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2022
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    65

    A Northern Monashees Basecamp

    We just wrapped up a backcountry ski basecamp deep in the Northern Monashees. Unsettled weather provided some new snow, a mix of sun and cloud and good stability for exploring big, glaciated terrain. A backcountry ski basecamp We flew from Revelstoke with Glacier Helicopters to our camp location. A sprawling valley with massive glaciated terrain and a sheltered campsite was our destination for five days. The campsite was perched at 1830m and granted access to excellent north aspect terrain out the backdoor or a forested sneak into the main drainage to the north. Hut runsAfter setting up camp on the first day we did an avalanche safety briefing and headed north to ski a solar aspect and get a view of the glaciated terrain to the west. Dropping down past a waterfall and climbing up through a polished bedrock canyon gave notion of the scale of the terrain; it was big and complex.Part way up the 700m climb.The immense landscape was spectacular and incredibly featured; it was a pleasure to weave a skin track through the gullies, moraines and benches.Recon skiingThe climb back to basecamp.The following day we headed southwest of our basecamp and up a steep head wall that guarded a glacial lake. Spacing out in the big country.Due to the February 2 PWL, I exercised caution and spaces my group out significantly on the climb as there was evidence of snow depth variability and relatively recent avalanche activity on that layer. However we made it up the slope just fine and crossed the lake to the toe of the glacier.Ancient ice. The weather was uncooperative and yielded spring convective flurries throughout the day, but we managed some fun turns nonetheless.Gaining the pass.Boot packers have more fun.South aspect pow.Spring backcountry ski basecamp trips cash in on long days and reasonable temperatures. But having a good camp setup is crucial to enjoying the experience. We use two larger communal tents coupled with individual sleeping tents. The two communal tents are heated with wood stoves. Basecamp LifeThe drying tent and guide’s quarters.StackedDay three yielded more promising weather, so we set out for a fun ski mountaineering objective. We recycled our previous days up track and headed southwest from camp. A bootpack and a lower got us into our line and set us up for a 900m descent and loop tour back to camp.The morning commuteLunch breakA glimpse of sunLowering folks into the line.Flat light ridingThe road home.Day four started out sunny and quickly deteriorated into milky skies and light snow. By the time we reached the glacier the light was flat and we were headed for serious whiteout navigation conditions. As I approached the toe of the glacier, I noticed a cave on one side and a hole on the other. Incredibly enough, the tunnel was passable and we toured right through it to our early lunch spot.Powder portal?The exit pitchWhile we at some food and ruminated on the deterioration conditions, we decided to modify our plans and do a tour that would yield more opportunities for better skiing if the visibility was poor. However I wanted to keep our options open to ski our main objective if the conditions improved. So with amended plans we headed in a different direction and boot packed our way around an icefall.Improving conditionsBy the time we gained the glacier above the icefall, the skies cleared and we headed for our original objective, the big glaciated run in the background. The scale of the terrain in this area was impressive and confounding at the same time. It was easy to under estimate it’s size from afar and then be wowed by it once you were in the feature. Big country Embracing the roll.Flat light doesn’t make for great photos, it these were some sweet turns.The last day we broke down after breakfast and headed up into one of the bowls south of camp. The towering rock wall lined glaciated cirque was a great way to cap off a fantastic trip.Climbing out of camp.Settled pow turns.Surfing between the cliffs.What a playground.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    5,377
    Looks like a creative trip! The guide’s quarters look like the warmest and smelliest option. Do you use a double wall tent for the drying room?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2022
    Posts
    65
    Quote Originally Posted by Dromond View Post
    Looks like a creative trip! The guide’s quarters look like the warmest and smelliest option. Do you use a double wall tent for the drying room?
    Thanks. The drying tent is a double walled tent with a floor; Arctic Oven is the brand. It can be odiferous at times; but the winter tent-less 21 year old tail guide was stoked on it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    North Vancouver/Whistler
    Posts
    14,062
    What a good way to get around the sheer cost of booking huts these days. Plus the Monashees!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    31,395
    the first question that comes to mind is are you close to anyones Tenure ?
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2022
    Posts
    65
    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    the first question that comes to mind is are you close to anyones Tenure ?
    We were in tenured areas and appropriate Incidental Use notice was given. Heli ski tenures are non-exclusive; of course being a good neighbour is part of the deal, so I choose locations on the periphery of their tenures that probably don’t conform to Diligent Use guidelines—meaning they don’t use it because of the terrain and distance from their bread and butter terrain.

    The Adventure Tourism Policy is a good read if you’d like to know more about commercial tenures, Incidental Use and public access to tenured land:
    https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/fa...re_tourism.pdf

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    5,377
    Quote Originally Posted by Arctos Guides View Post
    Thanks. The drying tent is a double walled tent with a floor; Arctic Oven is the brand. It can be odiferous at times; but the winter tent-less 21 year old tail guide was stoked on it.
    I've never used one but have heard that those tents are amazing. I take it that you fly in pre-split wood for the trip? Nice work opening up some new trip options with a semblance of shelter. The dry gear every morning sounds like a game-changer for a multi day camping trip. There is so much terrain out there compared to the number of huts and access.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    shadow of HS butte
    Posts
    6,504
    Very cool, thanks for sharing

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    31,395
    Quote Originally Posted by Arctos Guides View Post
    We were in tenured areas and appropriate Incidental Use notice was given. Heli ski tenures are non-exclusive; of course being a good neighbour is part of the deal, so I choose locations on the periphery of their tenures that probably don’t conform to Diligent Use guidelines—meaning they don’t use it because of the terrain and distance from their bread and butter terrain.

    The Adventure Tourism Policy is a good read if you’d like to know more about commercial tenures, Incidental Use and public access to tenured land:
    https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/fa...re_tourism.pdf
    Just curious cuz the back country seems pretty busy down there, at a GAH trip the hut was poached by sledders as we flew in and then twice by the hut next door
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    vernon
    Posts
    2,996
    Looks like Bourne? Nice camp setup. Got ran over by a snowmobile at 9000ft there last year when the belt grenaded at 85kmhr tandeming. Got lucky! Such a rad zone, want to do more poking around there.
    Last edited by el hefe; 04-08-2024 at 07:26 PM.
    www.skevikskis.com Check em out!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    North Vancouver/Whistler
    Posts
    14,062
    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    Just curious cuz the back country seems pretty busy down there, at a GAH trip the hut was poached by sledders as we flew in and then twice by the hut next door
    The Esplanades where GAH is located has approaches where sleds can get in.

    Where ARctos was based the approaches don't lend themselves to sleds

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2022
    Posts
    65
    Quote Originally Posted by el hefe View Post
    Looks like Bourne? Nice camp setup. Got ran over by a snowmobile at 9000ft there last year when the belt grenaded at 85kmhr tandeming. Got lucky! Such a rad zone, want to do more poking around there.
    Thanks. It’s not far from there. The Northern Monashees are a great place to explore!

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