Monday, April 14, 2008

I love it when a plan comes together

This weekend was on of those times when everything went right. For the past few weeks suggestions of doing the Spearhead Traverse in a day have been heard in the pub, in the car on the way home... and in Friday afternoon emails. I suppose you can't hear things in an email, but you get the idea. Waiting for the right weather was the problem... and then this weekend we got it. On Saturday Paul, Jacek, Kala, Luisa and myself drove (at some ridiculous time of the morning) up to Whistler and got on the lifts up to the Blackcomb glacier. I'd been pretty dubious I was going to get a chance to do the Spearhead this season as I'm off to the UK on Friday and then straight off up to Mt Waddington after that for a week trip. But on the drag-lift up the glacier it dawned on me that we really were going to (try to) do it.

The sun had brought plenty of other ski tourers out and some were also going for the Spearhead in a day. We were lucky to have a track to follow... which turned out to be from some of Paul's friends from work. The first climb was a struggle and the first few switches of gear from climbing to descending and back again seemed to take forever. Of course pretty soon we had everything running smoothly and were making (and having a) great time.

The views were amazing, and a real contrast to the treed terrain we normally spend so much time skiing in. Being up among the peaks and glaciers was quite an experience. The snow conditions were suffering a little from the warm temperatures and we had some fun dealing with loose wet snow... but nothing too tricky and we still had some great skiing.

We were getting close to the home stretch after 9 hours of skiing and decided to finish the day by climbing back up to the Whistler ski area and skiing down the groomed runs. Of course everyone else around had long since abandoned the mountain for the pub and all the lifts were closed... it was great skiing down through the empty resort. Then we hit civilization again, hundreds of people stood in the village square to watch a freestyle competition... quite the reception for 5 heroic ski tourers. Here's the essential GPS plot of our route:

After that you'd think we'd all need a rest, which we probably did. Instead, on Sunday I think we were all still so excited from completing the Spearhead Jacek and I went out for a ride on the North Shore... and then we all rode out and met up with some others at Lighthouse Park in the evening to climb (not very much or well in my case) and watch the sunset. It was a beautiful ending to one of the best weekends I've had, ever.

Paul has loads of photos here... and I have a few more here.