Thursday, 5 February 2015

Neige, Glace et Mixte

              Neige, Glace et Mixed is one of my favorite guidebooks. It was penned by François Damilano and the late Godefroy Perroux, two of the genre's great masters.  Their tome highlights 500 modern alpine itinéraires (french for itineraries) that could keep a Cham trustafarian busy till he transitions to yachting.  Yesterday, I had the pleasure going for a Coastal itinéraire with mountain maestro, Bruce Kay.


BK's bucket

We rolled up to Whistler to try a route Bruce had established when I was just a whippersnapper.  Turf's Up climbs a quality line on Husume Buttress just an Ampho Ex toss from the Mer de Glace of Canada: the Blackcomb Glacier.

Turf's up takes the big gully then punches past the buxom cornice at ridgetop

We started our day with an important meeting about safety equipment.

Packing safety gear in the comfort of one of our many full service Alpinhuts

           The approach involved skiing downhill for five minutes to the foot of the climb.  Predictably, my quads pumped out several times during the lengthy schuss.  Conversely, Bruce glissed smoothly in his Vega/Silvretta setup, demonstrating a technique that has been deracinated from the crop of today's alpinist.

If this is your skiing setup YOU are a BOSS.

The first pitch was a beauty...
Inuit surely have a word for snow that squeaks.  French call it le Névé

BK grabbed the rack for pitch two and battled it out with some awkward bulges and rotten Andean style flutings that caused sphincteral puckering even for the second.

Funny how it always looks like it's gonna be mellow...
P.3   Helmet's optional!

Jason Kruk and Kye Petersen had climbed this route a couple days before and the cornice pitch got rave reviews. 

One of the funnest mixed pitches around

We abbed down the 29 Forever gully and slid ungraciously to the Base Two parking lot where a crisp Slemans went down like a powerballad.

Thanks BK!