Archive:29Aug2009 neve crossing

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The Plan

Since these past "moderate-friendly annual summer traverses" have been such a good time, and the first one happened so early in the season, let's jump ahead and do two this year. The semi-alcoholic traverse happened early in the summer so we'd have lots of snow to cover up the talus... this will be the opposite - well into the summer of a low snow year.

The Garibaldi Neve is the huge glaciated icefield behind the Garibaldi massif. Everyone knows the it as the classic ski traverse, when the crevasses are all filled in and buried under the huge snowfall the area receives. But is it possible in the summer, when the snow has melted and the crevasses open up? Of course - but is it possible by us? With this winter's record low snowfall it should be mostly bare ice - which means no dealing with ropes, just strap on the crampons and go! We'll still bring some ropes, just in case. Wouldn't want to fall into a crevasse unroped...

The plan will be to go from the Diamond Head parking lot, out past the Opal Cone and onto the Neve. We'll pass around behind Garibaldi Moutain, and go back out via Brohm Ridge. Well, that's the plan... we'll see how it goes.

If you've been on a few trips, nothing too serious, but are reasonably fit (or at least very tough) and own (or can borrow - maybe from the club) the gear you need, this is the trip for you. If you're wondering whether or not this is the trip for you, go ahead and email Veenstra or post on the message board. The idea is for the trip to be pretty cool without requiring any special skills (maybe you'll even get a chance to learn, or at least find out about, some of these special skills).


The trip meeting will be on Thursday the 27th - 6:30pm, in the clubroom. If you know what you're doing and can't come that's OK but please send a representative so I know you're coming, and don't have to organize people individually in addition to the whole group. If you don't know what you're doing, then you should really try and come personally, especially if you've never been on a glacier before. Bring your crampons and your boots, we can dick around with them together.

The trip will be on the 29-30th August (last weekend in August, the weekend before Mountaineering Camp).


We'll be sleeping somewhere... possibly on a glacier, but hopefully we find a scrap of rock. We'll need tents, or maybe we'll sleep under the stars (could be dewy). A sleeping bag and pad are needed, and they should be reasonably warm. In August it can be really warm during the day, but will be cold at night if it's clear (below 0C).

Likely it will also be hot, and quite sunny - so suncreen, sunglasses, a hat and a bandanna are a really good idea. On snowy terrain it is possible to go painfully close to snow-blind in a weekend without sunglasses.

We're also bringing some glacier kit. Enough rambling - it's listed below, might get updated as we get closer to the date.

Other stuff includes (list reserves the right to be amended):


  • 1 set of non-cotton clothes (just the one on your back)
  • 1 additional warm thing (fleece / down jacket)
  • rainjacket / pants (if it is supposed to rain. Otherwise a nice light breathable softshell would be better)
  • toque (best warmth/weight ratio going for clothing)
  • gloves
  • boots
  • sun hat
  • gaiters


  • Tent (not everybody...)
  • sleeping bag (a summer bag is probably good, depending how warm you think you sleep. 0C or warmer)
  • sleeping pad


  • Burly container / outer bag for carrying poo bags
  • Sunscreen
  • Headlamp
  • lip balm
  • sunglasses
  • camera
  • bug net (works way better than bug juice, plus it doesn't wreck the environment or your stuff)
  • Toilet Paper
  • Toothbrush
  • Lighter
  • Bearspray (optional - with such a large, probably noisy, group I'd be highly surprised if any self-respecting bear would go anywhere near us)


  • ski/trekking poles (poles are highly awesome for hiking. I can't recommend bringing poles enough)
  • ice axe (the lightest you can find)
  • crampons (which fit boots! Test beforehand! Really - figure out how to put the crampons on ahead of time)
  • climbing harness
  • locking 'biner
  • helmet

This is the minimum, if you know how to use them you may also wish to bring

  • rope (or be one of 6 friends with someone who has one)
  • a few prussiks and extra biners
  • webbing
  • ice screw and hooker for making V-thread


  • stove + pot + fuel + lighter (or be friendly)
  • Plastic thing to eat out of (old yogurt container? Or something fancier)
  • spoon
  • Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch - remember you'll be on the move all day, so bring extra lunch for Sunday. Eat extra breakfast (which you then don't have to carry on your back) before heading out Saturday morning.
    • Most people can eat somewhat under 1kg of food per day (we're talking dehydrated food - no heavy water). Veenstra eats way more than most people and usually brings 250grams/breakfast, 400-500grams/lunch+snacks, 250-350grams/dinner+dessert.
  • Water (ability to carry ~2L, depending on your size).
  • Water purifier drops (optional)


(some things might be worth their extra weight, including):

  • songbook
  • 1 pair extra socks
  • down slippers for camp


And a pack to put it all in. Remember - stuff is heavy, so don't bring too much stuff! If you show up with a pack larger than 50L, Christian will tear it apart in the parking lot looking for extra weight.



Although there are many hazards, the large amount of glacier travel involved in this trip will make that the primary concern.

This trip could end up being dead easy, or difficult enough we must turn around - it all depends on the glacier. Ideally, it will be bare ice flat as a pancake and we'll have no trouble. It could also be hard blue ice, with loads of crevasses and ice fins everywhere making travel impossible. We'll have to see. Even without crevasses ice itself is a hazard, as if the terrain is steep and you fall over stopping may be impossible. Definitely you will need crampons which fit your boots in order to travel safely.

On a glacier snow is a mixed blessing - since it covers up the crevasses. This can be good since it lets you travel over them, sometimes without even knowing they're there. If can also be bad, because the snow may collapse suddenly and you fall into a crevasse. The normal solution is to 'rope up' where you tie yourself together with your climbing partners so if you fall in your friends stop you from hitting the bottom. It's also a good idea to take off your crampons, if your boots are stiff enough to walk on the snow without them, since they can catch the sides of a crevasse and break your ankle. If we must travel on snow we'll rely on the 'huge rope team arrest' idea. By making really large rope teams no finely tuned skills are required in the event of a crevasse fall - just rely on the extra weight. This does mean that we'll have to avoid steep snowy terrain, but probably we should be doing that anyway.


This trip will involve what's often called "General Mountaineering" - the sort of stuff you learn at Glacier School. Most of these skills are actually quite simple, but could have fatal consequences if done incorrectly. If you're asked to do something, or see everybody else doing it, (like put on a harness, rappel, rope up, put on crampons - anything) and you're not absolutely sure that you know how to do it speak up and ask for help.

If you do something incorrectly it may be too late before your error gets noticed. You are responsible for your own safety.


The pre-trip meeting happened, and "interested" was sorted out from "coming". Here's the list of who's coming, and who's car they're in.

Roland's Trooper

  1. Roland
  2. Paulo
  3. Beth

Mohammad's Car

  1. Mohammad
  2. Phil

Ilia's Car

  1. Ilia
  2. Rueben
  3. Julie
  4. Ryan

Maria's Car

  1. Maria
  2. Phillip
  3. Tod
  4. Andrew
  5. Yanna

Craig's Car

  1. Craig

Gili's Car

  1. Gili
  2. Maya
  3. Veenstra
  4. Veesntra2
  5. Martin Pachel

Lisa's Car

  1. Lisa
  2. Parent1
  3. Parent2
  4. Veronika

Pretrip Meeting

  1. Plan + Questions
  2. Bromh ridge???
  3. Car faff
  4. Tent+Food faff
  5. Gear