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The Climbing Club • View topic - Wells Gray Backcountry Ski Trip

The Climbing Club

at the University of Washington
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:02 am 
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UW Climber
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Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2002 9:42 am
Posts: 72
Location: the ford
In late Feb, I headed to Canada for a week long trip into Wells Gray park. Geoff Gambsy, a fellow SG regular, and my friend Mike from Colorado came along. We went with Wells Gray Adventures, a very low key operation with a guide (Ian) who has the only permit to guide in that area and whose cabins were grandfathered into the park (when the park expanded back in the day)! With lodging in two huts, food and wine, the trip was just under $1000 Canadian - a solid value for a week of guided backcountry skiing IMO.

The skiable terrain in Wells Gray is truly limitless. When vis got better, we summitted and skiied a few of the peaks in Wells Gray as well. It snowed plenty while we were there (so I didn't get many *good* photos), but the snowpack was generally safe. We kicked a few slabs off on steeper terrain, but they were 1-3" crowns that slid while ski cutting. Temps were usually between -2 to -7 degrees C, so we didn't get much champagne pow, but it still made for great, fun skiing, especially when one is used to the Cascades snowpack!

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Nights were spent eating and goofing in the huts. Ian has outfitted the backcountry huts with small saunas which work really well, so every night before dinner, we went through a ritual of getting really hot and sweaty, tearing around outside in the snow for several minutes, then reentering the sauna for a second go, and then finishing off with another rinse in the pow outside. I swear it was this sauna ritual that regenerated the legs after going day after day of 4000-7000 feet!

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One of the two huts we stayed in

Ian also rents the huts out to groups of 8 or more (the cabins hold 12 very comfortably) so do keep it in mind if you want to get away in the north country for awhile this or next season! Apparently late March - thru mid April is a great time to be up there, esp. when the seasons snowpack has been so good.

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Yak Mountain on the Coqualla highway in BC

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Geoff enjoying some turns

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There were ~1000 foot steep lines to be skiied on Terminator ridge. This was one of my favourites - dropped in at 40-45 degrees at the top!

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Mike, getting some soul... yes, you know he has a beard

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:23 am 
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nice Ben! that looks like a great trip!

like the last photo of the skewered skier


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:39 pm 
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Location: anywhere but the casino
sounds like a fun trip. I agree last photo is sweet!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 3:37 pm 
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An Old Geezer
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Nice trail review, William! Good to see you were working hard this morning.


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