February Sphinx Camp
- 1 Synposis
- 2 What should I do there?
- 3 Signup
- 4 Equipment
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 haven'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 Christian Veenstra put together (thanks!) 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:
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.
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 take care of themselves in small groups - 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 end morain near the hut is probably a good place for snowcaves, and if many people are using them we could just leave them assembled.
We use the trip agenda sign-up now; consult that for this year's details. Via the trip agenda, there will be a tool to confirm dates and indicated objectives. Weekend Warriors beware. You might want tents.
"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 via the trip agenda, 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", indicate that (although perhaps you could create your own group to 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 will come to the pre-trip meeting to indicate you're more than just a name from the internet.
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. Be sure to indicate what you require of trip participants! Plans are fluid, but it gives an indication of what people are planning on getting up to.
A pre-trip meeting will be on the week before reading week (see the trip agenda for date/time). It's not mandatory but highly suggested that you come - it's an important part of finalizing details.
Although there may be some variation, for all these groups you should probably have all the skiing gear, and also:
- Big locking carabiner
- Ice axe
- 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 more than 12 people in the hut, even if we don't allow packs inside (which we won't).