July2015 PowderTraverse

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Hi folks,

The idea is to do a high alpine traverse. We'll hang out in alpine meadows, swim in lakes, scramble over rocks, tiptoe on glaciers and enjoy alpine vistas.

We will start in Callaghan Valley, go for a dip in Ring lake, climb over Powder mountain, walk past Mt Cayley, up and over the pass down into Brandywine Meadows.

With 33km and 2000m elevation gain, good baseline fitness and a willingness to slog is strongly recommended for this trip.

There is glacier travel involved for this trip. This means everyone needs glacier travel paraphernalia, and most participants to know how to use them.

4WD high clearance vehicles would be nice to have for setting up the shuttles, though most vehicles should be able to make it up most ways up both sides.

FYI there is a chance that I (Caroline) cannot attend this trip, depending on how my feet are doing. In that case I would need someone to take over participating and leading the trip.

PLEASE make sure you can attend the [b]pre-trip meeting[/b] If you know what you're doing and can't come that's OK but please send a representative so I know you're coming, and don't have to organize people individually in addition to the whole group. If you don't know what you're doing, then you should come personally, especially if you've never been on a glacier before. Bring your crampons and your boots, we can see if they work together. Tuesday July 21st, 6:15pm Location TBD via emails on signup and on msg board



Although there are many hazards, the large amount of glacier travel involved in this trip will make that the primary concern.

This trip could end up being dead easy, or difficult enough we must turn around - it all depends on the glacier. Ideally, it will be bare ice flat as a pancake and we'll have no trouble. It could also be hard blue ice, with loads of crevasses and ice fins everywhere making travel impossible. We'll have to see. Even without crevasses ice itself is a hazard, as if the terrain is steep and you fall over stopping may be impossible. Definitely you will need crampons which fit your boots in order to travel safely.

On a glacier snow is a mixed blessing - since it covers up the crevasses. This can be good since it lets you travel over them, sometimes without even knowing they're there. If can also be bad, because the snow may collapse suddenly and you fall into a crevasse. The normal solution is to 'rope up' where you tie yourself together with your climbing partners so if you fall in your friends stop you from hitting the bottom. It's also a good idea to take off your crampons, if your boots are stiff enough to walk on the snow without them, since they can catch the sides of a crevasse and break your ankle.


This trip will involve what's often called "General Mountaineering" - the sort of stuff you learn at Glacier School. Most of these skills are actually quite simple, but could have fatal consequences if done incorrectly. If you're asked to do something, or see everybody else doing it, (like put on a harness, rappel, rope up, put on crampons - anything) and you're not absolutely sure that you know how to do it speak up and ask for help. Seriously - stopping to ask for help is OK, putting yourself and everybody else in danger because you're not sure about what you're doing is not.

If you do something incorrectly it may be too late before your error gets noticed. You are responsible for your own safety.


We'll be sleeping somewhere... possibly on a glacier, but hopefully we find a scrap of rock. We'll need tents, or maybe we'll sleep under the stars (could be dewy). A sleeping bag and pad are needed, and they should be reasonably warm. In August it can be really warm during the day, but will be cold at night if it's clear (below 0C).

Likely it will also be hot, and quite sunny - so suncreen, sunglasses, a hat and a bandanna are a really good idea. On snowy terrain it is possible to go snow-blind in a weekend without sunglasses.

Other stuff includes (list reserves the right to be amended):


  • 1 set of non-cotton clothes (just the one on your back)
  • A nice light breathable softshell (maybe has a little insulation)
  • toque (best warmth/weight ratio going for clothing)
  • gloves
  • boots (good, sturdy, boots. Note that mountaineering boots are different and far superior on snow compared to hiking boots)
  • sun hat
  • gaiters


  • Tarps hopefully
  • sleeping bag (a summer bag is probably good, depending how warm you think you sleep. 0C or warmer)
  • sleeping pad


  • Burly container / outer bag for carrying poo bags
  • Sunscreen
  • Headlamp
  • lip balm
  • sunglasses if you don't want to go blind
  • camera
  • bug net (works way better than bug juice, plus it doesn't wreck the environment or your stuff)
  • Toilet Paper
  • Poo bags
  • Toothbrush
  • Lighter
  • Bearspray (optional - with such a large, probably noisy, group I'd be highly surprised if any self-respecting bear would go anywhere near us)


The absolute minimum:

  • ice axe (the lightest you can find)
  • crampons (which fit boots! Test beforehand! Really - figure out how to put the crampons on before the trip)
  • climbing harness
  • locking 'biner
  • helmet
  • NOTE: boots are listed separately under "clothes" - but might well be considered "gear". The VOC lends out sturdy boots if you need them.

If you know how to use them you may also wish to bring:

  • rope (or be one of 6 friends with someone who has one)
  • a few prussiks and extra biners
  • webbing
  • ice screw and hook for making V-thread

Maybe nice:

  • ski/trekking poles (poles are highly awesome for hiking. I can't recommend bringing poles enough)


  • stove + pot + fuel + lighter (or be friendly)
  • Plastic thing to eat out of (old yogurt container? Or something fancier)
  • spoon
  • Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch - remember you'll be on the move all day, so bring extra lunch for Sunday. Eat extra breakfast (which you then don't have to carry on your back) before heading out Saturday morning.
    • Most people can eat somewhat under 1kg of food per day (we're talking dehydrated food - no heavy water).
  • Water (ability to carry ~2L, depending on your size).
  • Water purifier drops (optional)


And a pack to put it all in. Remember - stuff is heavy, so don't bring too much stuff! If you show up with a pack larger than 50L, I may take the liberty to open it up in the parking lot looking for extra weight.


We’ll need a variety of different kinds of people to make this trip happen. Mostly we’ll need:

  • People who can get up earlier than everybody else and do a car shuttle, preferably a couple 4wds. Ideally we leave 1 getaway car for every 5 drivers, and if we can leave 4wd it will save time later in the trip.
  • People who can drive, still getting up pretty early (although not quite as early as the shuttlers) whisking us safely in between the city and the mountains.
  • People who know things about glaciers, preferably who also bring their own ropes. Ideally we’d have 2 of these people per rope... but maybe we’ll have to be satisfied with fewer.
  • People who own tents, and people who own stoves, and are willing to share
  • Keen people who’ve never been on a glacier before to remind us old timers of the magic and wonder we might not feel ourselves anymore, just from being on a glacier.

Wiki Page edited off of Christian Veenstra's original version for 2010 traverse