Archive:Sphinx Camp 2012

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Back in the day, the VOC used to swarm up to Sphinx Bay for their annual Spring Ski Camp - this generally happened during exams, but it was a large event, often involving food drops by aeroplane to extend the party. We even built the Burton Hut up there. More recently it seems that we havn't quite been sure whether or not Garibaldi Lake is frozen during exams - so let's do it during Reading Break. The VOC is often hanging out around Sphinx Bay anyway, this should just help people get together.

Hopefully this page is used for a lot of organizing, but it may help to read the Message Board as well. That's also a good place to ask questions, since then everybody can benefit from the answers.

A fair amount of the organization will be done on the Wednesday before the break. There's a fair bit of beta here, and also a map which he painstakingly put together to help you figure out what there is to do up there.

What should I do there?

We picked Sphinx Bay for a reason - it has some of the best ski mountaineering and backcountry skiing opportunities around.

Check out this map:

Peak Bagging

There are a lot of really sweet peaks around. Counter-clockwise along the top of the massive glaciated bowl topped with granite and volcanic cliffs and peaks we have:

Guard Mountain (2177m)

A stiff scramble in summer, it will seem much harder in winter trust me.

The Deception Pinnacles (2233m)

Usually a short scramble / climb (depending on the pinnacle) on one side, and ski-able on the other due to wind packed snow. Some are a stiff scramble / climb on all sides. The deception part is figuring out which is the tallest (HINT: the one closest to Guard).

The Sphinx (2402m)

The Sphinx dominates the terrain in the area, and gives it it's name. The steep rock face is the head of the beast, and the glaciers its paws.

The route up from Sphinx pass (the pass between the Sphinx and Deception) is a nice moderate line (just one hard ~30m step). The route from the other side is an alpine classic rock route.

The Bookworms (2331m)

20m pinnacles poking up out of the cirque overlooking Sphinx Bay.

Depending who you believe these were either named in honour of old VOCers who couldn't make it away from their studies to enjoy the skiing in the area, or those same old VOCers - turned to stone for the same reason and left looking over that skiing they just couldn't make time for.

4th class, apparently, although Veenstra has been known to try and aid up them in a blizzard only to be convinced by his party that the turnaround time had passed.

Mount Carr (2590m)

The face pointing towards Sphinx Bay and the Bookworms is quite exciting, but skiing/scrambling up from the backside is easier.

Phyllis' Engine (2530m)

This rock tower resembles a train engine, and at 5.8 you'd have to be pretty hard to climb it in the winter. There is a pass beside it which gives access to the backside of the cirque and is a good approach for Carr, Castle Towers East and beyond.

Castle Towers (2676m)

A triple-summit - The Westernmost is a moderate scramble from the west, the True (centre) summit is apparently 1m taller than Garibaldi and can be climbed (in winter) via the couloir between it and the Westernmost and a short low 5th step, the Easternmost is a ski-ascent from the East.

Yo-yo skiing

No, that's not a peak, but it is an option if peak bagging isn't your thing. To get you started the best ski-up is directly up the Sphinx Glacier - nice 25 degree or so slope all the way with little avi hazard, then take a run either back down it or cross over near Deception and take a ~2300 foot north facing run back down to the bottom of the valley. There are other options, of course, but that's enough to get anybody started.

Snow caves and lounging in the sun

Yes, you can do that too.


Much like Mountaineering Camp or New Years at Phelix, we're hoping that people will basically take care of themselves - organizing themselves into smaller groups doing trips in and around the camp. Indicate here when you'll be arriving and leaving to help coordinate use. Also, if you'd like to lead a trip as part of the camp throw that in here under a sub-section and indicate what you'd like to do and when.

Hopefully we'll reach critical mass at some point, get lots of people up there, and have ourselves a great time stretched out over many days with different groups arriving and departing at different times.

It should be noted that the hut sleeps 12 although up to 16 have been known to fit in there at the same time. Tents work too, as do snowcaves. The embankment near the hut is probably a good place for snowcaves, and if many people are using them we could just leave them assembled.


  • 18th, Saturday

Likely Arriving.

  • 19th, Sunday

Already there from the day before

Likely Arriving.

  • 20th, Monday

Already there from the day before

Likely Arriving.

  1. Bruno Godin
  2. Anton Bezglasnyy

  • 21st, Tuesday

Already there from the day before

  1. Bruno Godin
  2. Anton Bezglasnyy

Likely Arriving.

  1. Spencer Rasmussen
  2. Alfred Larsen
  3. Noriko Okamoto
  4. Ian Johnston
  5. Todd Van der Star
  6. Philip Daoust

  • 22nd, Wednesday

Already there from the day before

  1. Bruno Godin
  2. Spencer Rasmussen
  3. Alfred Larsen
  4. Anton Bezglasnyy
  5. Noriko Okamoto
  6. Ian Johnston
  7. Todd Van der Star
  8. Philip Daoust

Likely Arriving.

  1. Nora Helen Lund Lyngra
  2. Michal Rozworski
  3. Marius Muja

  • 23rd, Thursday

Likely already there from the day before.

  1. Spencer Rasmussen
  2. Alfred Larsen
  3. Bruno Godin
  4. Anton Bezglasnyy
  5. Noriko Okamoto
  6. Nora Helen Lund Lyngra
  7. Michal Rozworski
  8. Ian Johnston
  9. Todd Van der Star
  10. Philip Daoust
  11. Marius Muja

Likely Arriving

  1. Len Goff
  2. Jake Alleyne (ideally leaving after work)
  3. Conrad Koziol
  4. Daniella Zandbergen
  5. Katherine V

  • 24th, Friday

Likely already there from the day before.

  1. Anna Stemberger
  2. Spencer Rasmussen
  3. Alfred Larsen (leaving Friday)
  4. Bruno Godin
  5. Anton Bezglasnyy
  6. Noriko Okamoto (leaving Friday)
  7. Jake Alleyne
  8. Nora Helen Lund Lyngra
  9. Michal Rozworski
  10. Ian Johnston (leaving Friday)
  11. Todd Van der Star (leaving Friday)
  12. Marius Muja
  13. Len Goff
  14. Conrad Koziol
  15. Daniella Zandbergen
  16. Katherine V

Likely Arriving

  1. Sam Mckoy
  2. Fred Lin
  3. Fisal Elstone
  4. Andrew Cavers
  5. Nick M

  • 25th, Saturday

Likely already there from the day before.

  1. Anna Stemberger
  2. Spencer Rasmussen
  3. Sam Mckoy
  4. Fred Lin
  5. Bruno Godin
  6. Fisal Elstone
  7. Anton Bezglasnyy
  8. Jake Alleyne
  9. Andrew Cavers
  10. Nora Helen Lund Lyngra
  11. Michal Rozworski
  12. Marius Muja
  13. Len Goff
  14. Conrad Koziol
  15. Daniella Zandbergen
  16. Nick M
  17. Katherine V
  • 26th, Sunday

Keep in mind that most of these people expect to be at work on Monday, so you may not actually be planning to spend tonight at Sphinx.

  1. Spencer Rasmussen
  2. Sam Mckoy
  3. Fred Lin
  4. Bruno Godin
  5. Fisal Elstone
  6. Anton Bezglasnyy ski out Sunday night
  7. Jake Alleyne
  8. Andrew Cavers
  9. Nora Helen Lund Lyngra
  10. Michal Rozworski
  11. Marius Muja
  12. Conrad Koziol
  13. Daniella Zandbergen
  14. Nick M (ski out Neve today)

  • 27st, Monday

Seems like everybody's back at school!

Intro to Ski Mountaineering

Synopsis (aka - read this section carefully if you're confused as to how it all works)

There's likely going to be a lot of groups skiing in to Sphinx Bay Friday the 18th, bagging a peak Saturday, and skiing out Sunday to be back in Vancouver either Sunday night or some time Monday. "Skiing In" and "Skiing Out" may or may not involve a Neve crossing, depending what you want to do. Check out all the different groups below, and feel free to indicate your interest on their signup lists. If you're just interested in skiing in and out via Rubble Creek and generally "hanging out" then you probably don't need to associate yourself with any of the groups here (although perhaps you could create your own group to gauge interest). If you're interested in doing something not listed here that's great, and feel free to create a group to help you gauge interest.

As always, indicating interest on the internet doesn't guarantee you make it to the top of the mountain, what ends up happening in real life will depend on a variety of things, including weather, but especially whether or not you've communicated with the leader of the group and come to the pre-trip meeting to indicate you're more than just a name from the internet. Lots of people email/wiki, but it's those who come to the pre-trip who generally make it out on trips.

Pre-trip meeting

Date: Tuesday, February 14th, 2011
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: VOC clubroom

The pre-trip meeting will be Tuesday before the trip, 6pm, in the clubroom. It's a little earlier than normal because some people won't be around at the beginning of reading week, but still want to come on the trip (which is at the end of reading week). It's not mandatory - in the sense that if you've got a ride/full car, want to be an independent group (ie - not one of the groups listed here), know what you plan to do up there, and are bringing a tent then just let Katherine know about it and I'll see you up in Sphinx Bay. If you're not totally sorted out and independent then you'd better come on out to the pre-trip, or get someone to represent you.


Although there may be some variation, for all these groups you should probably have all the skiing gear, and also:

  • Harness
  • Big locking carabiner
  • Ice axe
  • Helmet
  • 2 prussiks, 2 more lockers and a long sling/webbing if you know what to do with them, or want to learn.

And probably it would be good to also have a tent, or at least have some idea where you're sleeping. We can't fit this many people in the hut, even if we don't allow packs inside (which we won't).


Want to organize a party to go do something? Start a crew, indicate your objective, how difficult you figure it's likely to be and a maximum group size. This will likely change about 100 times leading up to the pre-trip, at the pre-trip and then again once everyone is at the hut, but it gives an indication of what people are planning on getting up to.

Intro to Ski Mountaineering Saturday, February 25th.

If the weather and avi conditions are reasonable, Katherine will lead a beginner friendly group attempt up Sphinx. You should know how to put on a harness and be able to survival ski. Maximum party size is 8 for now, depends on how many sort of experienced people sign on. This will take place on Saturday, February 25th.

Please indicate any mountaineering, skiing, avi experience.

  1. Fred Lin--No experience, beginnerish skier, AST1
  2. Clemens Adolphs -- glacier school, good downhill skier
  3. Fisal Elstone-- glacier school 1, good skier, AST 1
  4. Isabel Verse-- AST1, survival skier on AT, no experience
  5. Andrew Cavers--GS1, good tele/AT skiier, enough to survival ski. No AST1.
  6. Gergely Ambrus -- beginnerish skier, no AST1
  7. Daniella Zandbergen -- one traverse, several years of downhill skiing, no AST1
  8. (Stephanie Grothe -- glacier school, bad skier, probably too unexperienced)

Neve Crossing, Sunday, February 26th.

If the weather and avi conditions are reasonable, Nick will lead a group across the Neve. You should be fit as it is a long day with all of your gear. There isn't really any challenging skiing to be done but you should be competent on your planks. A harness is necessary as well as a locking carabiner as minimum. I'll bring a light glacier rescue kit just in case. Maximum party size is 5 for now, depends on how many experienced people sign on. This will take place on Sunday, February 26th.

Please indicate any glacier, skiing, avi experience.

  1. Marius Muja - GS2, good skier, AST1
  2. Michal Rozworski - experienced with glacier travel, decent skier, AST1
  3. Fred Lin - No experience, beginnerish skier, AST1


Driver's name, [leaving WHEN, FROM], [returning WHEN], [going TO (Rubble Creek/Diamond Head)]

  1. Passengers
  2. Passengers

Alfred Larsen, [leaving Tuesday (21st) from UBC], [returning Friday (24th)], [going to Rubble Creek]

  • Arrival dates tentative, return date firmer
  1. Ian Johnston
  2. Noriko Okamoto
  3. Todd Van der Star

Katherine Valentine [ leaving Thursday ], [returning Sunday Rubble Creek/Neve]

  1. Len
  2. Conrad
  3. Daniella

Fred Lin [Leaving Friday Morning to Rubble Creek], [returning Sunday via Neve]

  1. Andrew Cavers

Tele-Transporter (or similar) [Leaving Friday Evening to Rubble Creek], [returning Sunday via Neve]

  1. Nick M
  2. Nick Gobin (too be confirmed)
  3. High Output Person #1
  4. High Output Person #2
  5. High Output Person #3
  • If there is space available then I can transport possible Neve personnel at the end of the trip

Marius Muja [Leaving Wednesday to Rubble Creek], [returning Sunday via Neve]

  1. Michal Rozworski
  2. Nora Helen Lund Lyngra

looking for a ride/organizing car rental

Passenger's name, hoping to [leaving WHEN, FROM], [returning WHEN], [going TO (Rubble Creek/Diamond Head)]

  1. Bruno, hoping to leave on 19-20-21 from Vancouver (Mount Pleasant), returning Feb 25-26-27 (to and from Rubble Creek)
  2. Clemens and Steph: about Feb 24. to Feb 26., we could get a Modo car if needed. Kitsilano area.
  3. Isabel Verse, want to participate in the Mountaineering thing of Katherine, so going up Saturday 26th(or Friday and camp at where the crew starts next day) coming back Sunday 27th with or without the Neve Traverse
  4. Andrew Cavers, same as above. Want to go up 24 and come down 26...tentative dates for now.Happy to join up with any other groups if there's space and I've got the experience.
  5. Gergely Ambrus, hoping to leave somewhen in the middle of the week, coming back Sunday 26th, but basically open to any options.
  6. Michal Rozworski, hoping to arrive on Wednesday and come back on Sunday; interested in potentially doing the Neve on the way out, dependent on conditions and car faff, but otherwise very happy to get a ride back from Rubble Creek! I'll aim to be at the pre-trip.
  7. Julien Renard, Feb 24. to Feb 26.
  8. Philip Daoust Feb 21 22 23
  9. Nora Helen Lund Lyngra [22 or 23, Dunbar], [26], [to Rubble creek, and hopefully Neve on the way out]
  10. Spencer Rasmussen 21(ish)-26(ish)