Archive:20Feb2008 Neve

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General Idea

This is a mixed-friendly trip. You can adjust, somewhat, the difficulty level. The basic idea is to go up to the Burton hut Friday, get VOCers on top of as many of the peaks around there as possible Saturday, and cross the Neve to get out on Sunday. If there's something you want to practise (ie - arresting a crevasse fall with skis on) there should be time for dicking around on Friday after skiing up to the hut. If there wasn't time on Friday (either due to heavy trailbreaking or general slowness) then you probably shouldn't be pushing yourself too hard on Saturday anyway.

Pre-trip meeting

There will be a pre-trip meeting, 6pm on Wednesday the 18th in the clubroom. It's not manditory, but if you can't make it be sure to keep in touch so I know you're coming and you have the right gear.

Leaving Vancouver

All drivers please be driving across the Lions Gate bridge at 6:00am with all passengers in your vehicle, if you want to stop for Timmies (or gas) please leave proportionally earlier. We will meet at the Rubble Creek trailhead. Car faff options still hanging... possibly we will enlist the help of Roland's Red Heather camping crew.


You'll need all the stuff for a normal ski hut trip plus a few extras, depending on what you want to climb. I'd like everybody to have, at a minimum:

  • Backcountry skiing kit - remember we're out for two nights - bring the correct amount of food and fuel!
  • Harness, ideally one you can put on without taking your skis off, but if not you can just wear it all day.
  • Helmet (for getting hit by rocks, or falling into crevasses)
  • Ice axe
  • 3 caribiners, at least one big locking one.
  • 2 prussiks <=6mm diameter (so they can easily grip 8mm ropes)
  • 1 double length sling (or 8 feet of webbing)

Some of the leader types will be carrying:

  • Rope
  • Webbing + cord
  • Ice screw(s)
  • Rock pro

If you own them, then bring them, otherwise don't worry about it:

  • Ski Crampons

Note: at the trip meeting it was decided that we would not bring crampons. They're heavy, and we probably won't need them.

Where will I get it?

From the club, mostly. Probably we'll have all the harnesses etc. but we may be out of the skiing stuff. MEC rents, so do a lot of other places on goretex row. Plan early. Note that you won't be able to borrow the caribiners/webbing/cord from the club - we don't own any. Beg, borrow or buy.

Biners' If buying I recommend the tiny BD notchless lockers - cheap, light and useful! Also the Petzl William locking 'biner for the big one. Cheap, notchless nose and super-wide - it even fits of the squamish river tyrolean!

Prussiks To make prussiks tie a 1m long piece of 5 or 6mm cord into a loop using a double fisherman knot. The loop should be about the size of your head. Some like 'em long, some like 'em short. I like them short, so that's the kind I described here. I can show you the knot in the hut, but I can't generate cord from thin air - so make sure you have 2m of it. Someone might tell you you're sketchy for not using at least 7mm cord, but 7mm cord doesn't grip 8mm rope very easily and you won't be taking huge falls onto your prussiks anyway. 5 or 6mm is fine, really.

Webbing Get a double length sling, or enough webbing to tie one (about 8 feet). Get nylon, not spectra - it's cheaper and more durable. This way you can tie knots in it (you're not supposed to tie knots in spectra - it weakens it significantly!), abrade it against rocks, step on it with your crampons and generally abuse it. You also won't be sad if you use it for rap-tat, since it was so much cheaper.

Car Faff

How will we get back to our cars, since we're leaving to a different parking lot? Don't you worry about that just yet...

There are a few possibilities:

Two-party methods

If you've got two groups going in opposite directions then there are a world of possibilities, requiring various levels of organization. Actually, they all require similar levels - but just move the faff time around. In all cases having an extra set of keys really helps.

Plan-ahead car swap

Drivers switch cars sometime days or even months before the trip. Drivers drive someone else's car to the traverse and their own back home. Requires planning way ahead.

Squamish car swap

Switch cars in Squamish, usually at Timmies. This is the most common option.

Plan-later car swap

Drivers take their own vehicle to the trialhead, and drive someone else's home - either all the way back to Vancouver, or swap in Squamish. Swapping in Squamish could take some serious waiting if one party gets down before the other, but avoids some major faffing later in the week.

One-party methods

Most one-party methods involve some serious faff. When I climbed the Sphinx last year we ran into some BCMCers in the parking lot who were in the midst of their car faff for a giant Neve crossing. We'd left Vancouver at 10am, they'd left at 5am, and we were heading up the trail before they'd finished. I think they were using the shuttling method.


Drop off all passengers at trailhead A. Drivers drive all vehicles to trailhead B, and return in some (overcrowded) vehicle(s). After the traverse most people can head home, but somebody needs to go get the vehicle(s) still parked at A. This takes some time, see above.

Deal with it later

A favourite amongst people who aren't really sure if they'll make it. Just leave your vehicle at the trailhead and go for it. If you reach the other side, you can always deal with the lack of vehicle later - usually by hitchhiking.

Split party

A variation on 'deal with it later'. Enough people (one for each car) in the group decide that they didn't really want to do the traverse anyway. These people drive back over to the other trailhead and pick up the people who (hopefully) made it across without them.

Potential Goals for Saturday

Around the cirque we have:

Guard Mountain

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

The Deception Pinnacles

Usually a stiff 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.

The Sphinx

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 is a nice moderate line (just one hard step). The route from the other side is an alpine classic rock route.

The Bookworms

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.


Never really looked closely... Bivouac says:

1. North Ridge (1911) Large BCMC Party. Steep snow. The crux of this route is the climb up a short snow couloir (75 m) to the col between Phyllis Engine and Mount Carr. Once over the col, the peak can be climbed either by scrambling directly along the NW ridge, or by going east onto the icefield and then approaching directly from the N. Often done as a ski ascent. In icy conditions, the snow couloir has turned back experienced parties. One bypass is to kick steps up the snow slopes immediately adjact to the couloir, but this can be daunting in avalanche conditions. In short, Mount Carr is not always a pushover.

2. South Ridge Class 3. From the col between The Bookworms and Car, gain the S summit (8100', 051291). From there a razor sharp rocky arete has to be negotiated, with danger of loose rocks. Then ascend 45 degree snow slope on the E side of the ridge at the top of Gray Glacier. The rest of the ridge is an unpleasant class 3 scramble on poor rock.

3. West Face Very steep snow. From Sphinx Glacier, gain the bottom of West Face at GR049300. Steepness of the face will vary depending on conditions but expect very steep snow, possibly overhanging! Continue up the loose summit pyramid to the top.

Phillis' Engine

This rock tower resembles a train engine, and at 5.8 you'd have to be pretty hard to climb it in the winter.

Castle Towers

The true summit is apparently 1m taller than Garibaldi, but it's a bit of a haul from the hut and likely a tough climb in winter.

Yo-yo skiing

No, that's not a peak, but it is an option if peak bagging isn't your thing.


Note: The trip signup 'open'/'closed' thing is totally based honour system - you can still edit the wiki even when it says "closed". Of course, people will know since the wiki records who edits what when. So it's not quite honour system - maybe we should call it the guilt system.

No Write.png Signup Closed
This is the sign up and organization page for an old trip. It already happened on 20-02-2009. Please do not sign up for it.

There will be a pre-trip meeting, 6pm on the Wednesday before, but I'm sort of flexible on it since you likely know what to bring for the skiing parts anyway and I don't want to place it during some other yet-to-be-posted reading break trip. If you don't know what you're doing, come to the pre-trip meeting. You can certainly talk to me directly via email, phone or (gasp!) in person if you're trying to figure out if this is for you. If you're not interested in the peak bagging, but are fairly confident about your abilities, it would be highly rad to organize a 'competing' trip heading the other direction so that we can car faff together.

Also, please indicate if you're willing to act as 'rope gun' (ie. lead a group of people up a peak). It should be noted that since you rarely set fixed belays in ski mountaineering the term 'rope gun' is not quite true, but leading a group and kicking the first steps is still somewhat more difficult than following. I'd like to get a good number of people willing to lead a group, so that we don't end up all crowded at the same peak (this is dangerous for many reasons). 4 or more would be ideal, so I'm reserving some spots for that. Also, most people should have some form of avalanche awareness.


  1. Veenstra (rope gun, avy savy)
  2. Scott Webster
  3. Evan M
  4. Jay B; will rope-gun for chocolate (and if someone else carries the rope)
  5. Pawel M
  6. Lisa Erdal
  7. Laura M
  8. Laura C
  9. Emily A
  10. Ryan G (can drive 3 if needed)
  11. Ran Z
  12. Greta R
  13. Bob L
  14. Lee
  15. Tomas Holkup
  16. Jirina Holkupova




  1. Veenstra
  2. Laura M (UBC)
  3. Lisa Erdal (UBC)
  4. Tomas
  5. Jirina


  1. Evan
  2. Greta
  3. Bob
  4. Ran
  5. Lee

Jay's B-52 (12th and Arbutus)

  1. Jay
  2. Co-Pilot Extraordinaire Laura C will pilot the B-52 to tele-tastic times
  3. Scott W
  4. Ryan

Sick List

  1. Pawel M
  2. Emily A