Archive:Sphinx Camp 2011

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Stop hand.png Old Trip
This is the sign up and organization page for an old trip. It already happened. Please do not sign up for it.


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, and a slideshow about ski mountaineering in Sphinx Bay the Wednesday before the break, will be done by Veenstra. 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.


  • 12th, Saturday

Coming up the Barrier Trail

  1. Geoff Martin
  2. Fabienne M.
  • 13th, Sunday

Already at Sphinx

  1. Geoff Martin
  2. Fabienne M.
  • 14th, Monday

Coming up the Barrier Trail

  1. Roland (car)
  2. Caroline
  3. Katherine V
  4. Gwyn
  5. Merick
  6. Breanne

Already at Sphinx

  1. Geoff Martin
  2. Fabienne M.
  • 15th, Tuesday

The above will probably still be at Sphinx.

  • 16th, Wednesday

Already there from the day before

  1. Katherine Valentine
  2. Merick
  3. Fabienne
  4. Breanne
  5. Roland (car)
  6. Caroline
  7. Gwyn

Still there, but he has to work on the 17th so he needs a ride to Vanc today.

  1. Geoff Martin

Likely Arriving.

  1. Liam
  2. Jake
  3. Sandra
  4. Charlie B
  5. Craig Alfredson

  • 17th, Thursday

Likely already there from the day before.

  1. Liam
  2. Jake
  3. Sandra
  4. Katherine V
  5. Charlie B
  6. Merick
  7. Fabienne
  8. Breanne
  9. Craig Alfredson

Likely Arriving via the Neve today.

  1. Phil
  2. Vicky Alfred
  3. Matt "What do you mean you don't like my skintrack?" Parisien
  4. Derry Lappin - vehicle
  5. Charlie (tentative maybe, lift dependent)
  6. Christian Hajen -vehicle -
  7. Sam Drove- has truck
  8. Jenn Burt- same as above
  9. Paul L
  10. Tom Curran
  11. Erica Lay

Likely Arriving (not via Neve)

  1. Spencer
  2. Conrad K.
  3. NorikoO
  4. Len
  5. Marcin
  6. Anna S.

  • 18th, Friday

Likely already there from the day before.

  1. Phil
  2. Vicky Alfred
  3. Spencer
  4. Katherine V
  5. Erica Lay
  6. Matt "When I was young I did the Neve on horseback" Parisien\
  7. Conrad K.
  8. Liam
  9. Jake
  10. Sandra
  11. NorikoO
  12. Len
  13. Derry
  14. Marcin
  15. Merick
  16. Breanne
  17. Christian H
  18. Fabienne
  19. Paul L
  20. Tom
  21. Craig Alfredson
  22. Anna S.

Likely Arriving

  1. Michael D (leaving after work, will get there late)
  2. Christian S. (leaving with Mike, will get there late)
  3. Nick M (leaving with Mike, will get there late)
  4. Caitlin S
  5. Adrien
  6. Dean
  7. Charlie B
  8. Marius M
  9. Adriana M

  • 19th, Saturday

Likely already there from the day before. (* - likely leaving via neve on 20th)

  1. Phil*
  2. Vicky Alfred*
  3. Spencer*
  4. Katherine V*
  5. Erica Lay*
  6. Matt "Still doesn't look like an engine" Parisien
  7. Conrad K.*
  8. Liam*
  9. Jake*
  10. Sandra*
  11. NorikoO
  12. Len
  13. Christian S.
  14. Derry*
  15. Michael D
  16. Mel vS
  17. Caitlin S*
  18. Kathrin L
  19. Adrien
  20. Dean
  21. Marcin
  22. Charlie B *
  23. Merick
  24. Breanne
  25. Christian H
  26. Marius M
  27. Adriana M
  28. Fabienne *
  29. Paul L
  30. Tom*
  31. Anna S.
  32. Nick M
  33. Philippe LB *
  • 20th, Sunday

Keep in mind that most of these people expect to be at work on Monday, so they may not actually be planning to spend tonight at Sphinx. (* - likely leaving via neve on 20th) (** likely skiing out via Barrier on 20th)

  1. Erica Lay*
  2. Matt Parisien (skiing out via Barrier tonight) **
  3. Conrad K. *
  4. Liam *
  5. Jake *
  6. Sandra *
  7. Derry *
  8. Michael D
  9. Mel vS
  10. Caitlin S(leaving) *
  11. Adrien
  12. Dean
  13. Charlie B *
  14. Merick (Skiing out via Barrier) **
  15. Breanne *
  16. Christian S.**

  • 21st, 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: Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: VOC clubroom

The pre-trip meeting will be Wednesday 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 Phil 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.

To Sphinx via Barrier Trail Monday Feb 14th

  1. Roland Burton
  2. Caroline Jung
  3. Katherine V
  4. Gwyn Thomas
  5. Breanne

Climb Guard, or at least one of the Deception Pinnacles Tues Feb 15th

The above people

Perhaps skiing part of the Neve Wed Feb. 16th

Caryying only day packs, we will ascend the Sentinel Glacier, past Glacier Pikes, the Sharks Fin, to the high point on the Neve. Then turn around and ski back to Sphinx. This way we get to capture the Neve scenery, if any, without hauling all our overnight stuff across. (?) = probably (??) = maybe.

  1. Roland (?)
  2. Gwyn (?)
  3. Caroline (?)
  4. Katherine (??)
  5. Breanne (??)

Neve Crossing S-N Thursday Feb. 17th

Phil hates car faff, and will therefore cross the Neve both ways if weather permits. We may go up to Red Heather on Wednesday night to knock a bit of distance and elevation off of what we have to do on Thursday. This will be a tougher crossing than the Sunday crossing because we'll be carrying lots of food and will have to break 30km of trail. Sign up if you really like suffering and know with absolute certainty that you can make it (barring unexpected delays). This crossing is 'I-know-I-can-make-it-and-can-take-care-of-myself Friendly'

Thursday Crossing is Cancelled due to ridiculous quantities of new snow which would likely turn this into a multi-day slog

  1. Phil
  2. Vicky Alfred
  3. Matt P
  4. Dan Joseph
  5. Sam Drove- has truck (interested in elfin lakes wed night then joining up with you thurs?)
  6. Jenn Burt- same as above
  7. Derry Lappin - vehicle
  8. Christian Hajen- never done the neve
  9. Spencer Rasmussen
  10. Erica Lay

Intro to Ski Mountaineering Saturday, February 19th.

If the weather and avi conditions are reasonable, Phil will lead a beginner friendly group attempt up Sphinx or Deception. 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 19th.

Please indicate any mountaineering, skiing, avi experience.

  1. Phil - can lead a party up, can ski most things, AST2
  2. Vicky Alfred - rookie ski mountaineer, can ski most things, AST1
  3. Spencer Rasmussen - never ski mountaineered, decent skier, AST1
  4. Katherine - likes doing things
  5. Erica Lay -rookie ski mountaineer, decent skier, AST1
  6. Conrad K. - can put a harness on and survival ski
  7. Matt Parisien - was a ninja in a previous life
  8. Jenn Burt- ast 1, some mountaineering
  9. Sam Drove- ast 1, some mountaineering
  10. Dan Joseph AST 1, havent skied in while, capable person.
  11. Derry Lappin - AST 1, likes to try steep stuff & owns a harness/rope

Waiting list

  1. Beth C, survival ski
  2. Caitlin S - AST1, glacier school, intro mountaineering
  3. Sherri T, AST1, beginner to mountaineering
  4. Breanne J -AST 1, can ski, wants to learn to mountaineer
  5. Charlie - keen!
  6. Paul L - AST 1, glacier school, not much mountaineering experience
  7. Christian Hajen - AST 1, owns mountaineering equipment but no technical experience
  8. Marius M - AST 1, can put a harness on and ski most things
  9. Adriana M - AST 1, can put on a harness, can ski
  10. Ian Saari - no avi, beginner skier, owns mountaineering equipment

Navigation workshop Sunday morning (Feb. 20)

Can't read maps? Not skiing out via the Neve? On Sunday morning (Feb. 20) Matt will be running a navigation workshop at Sphinx camp. If you're new you can learn what all the squiggly lines mean. If you're not so new, you can learn some fancier stuff (like how to plan a nice skintrack out, or how to find your location by slope aspect and elevation). Don't worry, we'll go skiing too (if it's nice out, of course.)

Disclaimer: Matt likes paper maps, mirror compasses and mechanical altimeters. He is old school that way. If you have a GPS and you think it's hot stuff, come show it off. But bring extra batteries.

Please sign up by Wednesday the 9th, because Matt needs to print off materials. Limit 6 participants, please.

  1. Matt Parisien
  2. Michael Duncan (has used maps and compasses to navigate, but would like some more advanced tips).
  3. Kathrin Lang (totally want to learn more here, but as I'm only at Sphinx for the weekend I might climb some easy peak with Piotr)

Neve Crossing N-S Sunday Feb. 20th

Neve crossing will depend on car-swapping logistics. If you're just interested in the Neve, feel free to ski in to the hut Saturday while we're peak bagging. This is INTERMEDIATE friendly. You can't decide half way that maybe it's not for you. Your only bail option is to stop at the Elfin shelter on the way out and then figure your own way out on Monday (so really, you should be pretty sure you can make it). Crossing the Neve is a right of passage, but it also breaks people every year. The route consists of about 1000m elevation gain and is about 20km to Elfin and then 10km out to the Diamond Head parking lot. Also, crossing the Neve, like everything else, is weather dependent. There's no max group size unless things start looking ridiculous, please indicate if you've crossed the Neve before.

  1. Phil - Has crossed in both directions, a couple of times.
  2. Katherine
  3. Spencer - never crossed
  4. Vicky Alfred - Has crossed south to north twice by this crossing
  5. Erica Lay- haven't crossed before
  6. Conrad K. - haven't crossed before
  7. Liam - Never Been Before
  8. Jake - Same as Liam
  9. Geoff Dunbrack- never crossed before
  10. Derry Lappin - vehicle, never crossed
  11. Sandra - Never Been
  12. Charlie - Has seen the route from Mt Garibaldi. Looked fun.
  13. Christian Hajen
  14. Marius M - haven't crossed before
  15. Fabienne - never been before
  16. Len G. - Neve virgin
  17. Philippe LB - Crossed South to North last year

The working folk

So, no longer being a student, I no longer have the entire week off. Which sucks. So, any of you folks who also don't have the entire week off and want a ride up here is my plan. Get off work at 4:30pm on Friday, pick up people in the Vancouver area and get out of Van by 6pm. Drive to the Rubble Creek parking lot and skin up to the hut. Get there late, set up tents (as I doubt there will be any space left in the hut) and go to sleep and then slay powder all weekend long. I'll also be driving back on Sunday night late.

Mike D. - Car (with chains) seats 4 people total

  1. Paul L
  2. Nick M
  3. Christian S.

Steve Lerch. - Truck (with Chains) two extra spots. I would like to leave early Sat morning so that we can get up to the hut in the light. Back Sun night.

  1. Philippe Le Billon (Ride on the way Up)


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

  1. Passengers
  2. Passengers

Roland Burton heading for Sphinx via Barrier on Monday 14th. Car is full.

  1. Roland
  2. Caroline
  3. Katherine
  4. Gwyn
  5. Breanne

Roland Burton heading back to Vancouver from Barrier on Thursday 17th. Some spaces.

  1. Roland
  2. Gwyn
  3. Caroline
  4. space
  5. space

Derry Lappin, leaving Wednesday (16th) from 4th and Macdonald, going to Diamond Head.

  1. Tom Curran
  2. Christian Hajen
  3. Erica L
  4. Daniel J

Derry Lappin, leaving Sunday (20th) from Diamond Head, going to Vancouver.

  1. Tom Curran
  2. Christian Hajen
  3. Fabienne M. (way OUT only)
  4. Erica L

Phil, Leaving Wednesday night for Elfin, parking at Diamond Head.

  1. Vicky
  2. Anne V
  3. Matt P

Phil, Leaving Sunday morning for Vancouver, crossing the neve back to Diamond Head.

  1. Vicky
  2. Anne V
  3. Katherine V
  4. Philippe LB

Marcin, leaving Thursday (17th) from Main & King Ed, returning Sunday (20th), going to Rubble Creek.

  1. Noriko
  2. Conrad
  3. Ian Saari
  4. Charlie B.

Craig Alfredson, leaving Wednesday (16th), returning Saturday (19th), going to Rubble Creek.

  1. Craig

Marius Muja, leaving Friday (18th) from Mt Seymour Pkway, North Vancouver; parking at Rubble Creek

  1. Marius
  2. Adriana

Marius Muja, returning Sunday (20th); Adriana will drive to Diamond Head parking lot to pick up Marius before returning to Vancouver

  1. Marius
  2. Adriana
  3. Philippe

Anna Szeitz, TO Rubble on Thursday (need to detour to North Van first), returning Saturday from Rubble. Please email me before adding your name

  1. Paul Lanfranchi
  2. (I can fit 3 if I know ahead of time)

Anna Szeitz, FROM Rubble on Saturday (arrived Thursday)

  1. Dan Joseph
  2. (I can fit 3 if I know ahead of time)

looking for a ride/organizing car rental

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

  1. Ian Muri, I am looking for a ride to sphinx hut, i have possibility to go after monday, my number is 7789968719.
  2. Spencer Rasmussen - hoping to leave Wednesday and return Sunday. Near where SW Marine and 41st merge. 778 996 2312.