Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Garibaldi Névé - BAM

April 7-9, 2011

Preamble: Absolutely spectacular trip.  This being our third attempt at the trip (the other two being rained out), we got really excited when we saw a forecast for a clear weekend.  As the week progressed the clear spot started moving closer and closer to Thursday and Friday as opposed to Saturday and Sunday.  I got more and more stressed out.  I started waking up at night worrying.  Then I cracked, and we just decided to do it Thursday to Saturday, and work Sunday to make up for it.  Simple and elegant.   Now the only complicating factor was Caroline not being able to carry a heavy pack, since she was still recovering from her bike crash.  We decided that I would pull a sled with the extra gear.  Desperate, remember?

Here's me pulling the sled:

2011.04.08 Neve (43)
The trail we took looked something like this:

Neve route

More details for anyone interested:

General Notes:
·        - This was absolutely the best time of year to do this trip. Great snowcover almost the whole way, but also melted out enough to allow car access to either end.  Beautiful weather.
·        -  If you’re going to use a sled, make sure you can wear it.  Plan on sledding up to Red Heather, carrying to Elfin and then past the Gargoyles, sledding across the névé and the lake, and then carrying down to the trailhead.
·       -  If you are confident in getting across the Névé in one day, this is a hut trip.  The Glaciological huts are fine (but no fuel)
·       -  This area seems to be the ideal habitat for Québécois snowboarders.  Plan accordingly.

7 April:
Distance: 11.6 km
Total Ascent: 693m
Total Descent: 227m
Terrain: Gradual uphill then rolling
Time: 6.5 hours with lunch break
Notes: Paul’s ridge hard to negotiate with a sled.  Hours were spent being dragged backwards into tree wells when the sled fell off the trail.  Elfin Lakes Hut is now solar powered.  Lights only though.  Disappointing lack of solar heated hot tub.

8 April:
Distance: 14 km
Total Ascent: 1123 m
Total Descent: 1030 m
Terrain: Sidehills till out from under Gargoyles, then easy glacier travel for the rest of the day. 
Time: 12 hours with lunch break (would be much faster without sled)
Notes: Ridiculous day. Sled worked well once past the Gargoyles.  Going under the Gargoyles sucked –in future would likely go up and over them.  The Névé itself seemed a lot smaller than I thought it would. Only skiable line is at the very end, descending to the Glaciological huts.  Glaiciological huts had to be dug out, but were in good order.

9 April:
Distance: 17.1 km
Total Ascent: 77 m
Total Descent: 1245 m
Terrain: Flat across lake. Switchbacks down to parking lot.
Time: 7.5 hours with lunch break (had to walk final 2 km down trail)
Notes: The lake was amazing to ski across.  From the lake to the trail, and down the Black Tusk hiking trail down to the road was completely un-negotiable with a sled.  Heavy pack was the only way.  The trail had melted out to be unskiiable for the last 2 km, but the road out to the car still had a solid 1.5 feet of snow the whole way.

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