Another Brew Debacle

This trip report was written by Kevin Burton, but I don’t know how to make the machine think that he is the author.  Too bad about that.

Last weekend (Jan 18-19) we (E + W + me) went for a big-time brew trip with a very late 9AM Squamish, so 10:10 start skiing start. The road conditions for the drive up were not too bad, but new to me but I drove very carefully which worked pretty well except my wind shield wipers iced up so I used all my washer fluid de-icing them.

The parking lot looked remarkably like none of the other 18 hut-goers or the dog even attempted to show up, and the fact that we had to break the entire trail pretty much confirmed that. Unfortunately E carried way too much stuff and has very skinny skis so wasn’t much good for breaking trail like I had planned. We got to R200 at around 1PM after a very long and luxurious lunch of macaroni and cheese which I wasn’t in on the memo so I brought croissants. Anyways we broke more trail and followed the GPS and the trail markers that were ninja-starred into trees since the ones nailed onto them were almost all covered in snow.

Eventually while it was getting dark we did get a little bit avalanched which was pretty exciting, and then it got fully dark and doing some calculations, we determined we were moving at around 100metres/30minutes, so we’d stop to make a quincee and then make dinner in it and sleep. This mostly actually worked, the quincee took not too long to build and was really not too bad at all – we ordered the 8 foot vaulted ceilings. Cooking dinner turned the humidity in it up to full steamroom 150%, and then the fondue didn’t really help the steamyness but was good. We do have a video of the fondue eating in the sauna somewhere.

Sleeping was not so good, I brought a sleeping bag that would have been just superb for staying in the nice warm hut, W and E brought their full on winter bags. I did get to borrow a down parka from W which probably stopped me from shivering loudly all night though. The quincee dripped a lot which made my down bag most unpleasant, and also the roof sagged about a foot over the night which I really didn’t like at all. I got maybe 25 minutes of sleep. Eventually morning came which involves putting back on the ski boots which may just be the least pleasant place my feet have ever been, but eventually the water in them did warm up.

Heading down it had snowed around a foot over night so our up track was visible but we still had to break all the trail again. It was easier than going up though.

Eventually we made it back to the Jeep where it had been raining all day and melted out a whole bunch of snow and also had unfroze my trunk lock so we could get into the trunk. The drive back was uneventful, my Jeep is very good off road but my heater sucks – I’ll have to try that flush procedure from a previous email.

Overall I’m glad that everyone survived and also have a couple of takeaways for next time that mostly involve getting everyone on the same page in terms of planning and what a trip that’s not just another trip up to Mt Red Heather is actually going to entail.

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3 Responses to Another Brew Debacle

  1. Vincent Hanlon says:

    Wow a real debacle! What is a “little bit avalanched”?

    Quinzees suck.

  2. Kevin Burton says:

    The avalanche was crossing one of the slopes after the rock slide but before the tree switchbacks; there’s an open slope on the left and trees on the right and generally I kinda meander along the bottom of the slope next to the trees. This time we were higher – maybe half way or so up the slope, and about a third of the way across we triggered an avalanche onto us from above. It was very small but was an actual avalanche and went over our skis and continued on a little ways. Our general consensus is that we didn’t handle this situation all that well.

    The quinzee suckage was pretty sucky, but since it didn’t collapse on us I can’t take off too many marks.


    This really wasn’t supposed to be a VOC TR and I don’t really like to publicly roast my friends on the internet, so could someone who’s a TR/Wordpress admin please swap out the names with E/W?

  3. Scott Nelson says:

    I recall there are 4 rock slide areas along the trail. Can you clarify which one it was? I think they are all actually pretty similar in terms of their avalanche potential so maybe it’s not important.

    #1 the big bowl just after leaving the logging road
    #2 a big one after a downhill section. Generally in the winter cross half way up, but in summer drop down to the bottom edge and climb up again
    #3 a small one where you climb along the bottom edge
    #4 at the start of the switchback climb to the meadows. The marked route just clips the corner of this one.

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