Mt Currie and Fissile – The Bucket List Got Shorter
Just after Christmas, skiers in the Coast Mountains were blessed with some sweet backcountry conditions in the way of clear skies, decent West Coast stability, and minimal wind blasting. Since we at Doglotion.com had already whipped up a Backcountry Skiing Bucket List for the 2010 season, we figured we’d better get our asses in gear and tick a few off the list.
The first two victims were close to home – the Pencil Chute on Mt Currie and Wrap Around (Elevator Shaft) Chute on Fissile Mountain. Here’s a couple loosey-goosey trip reports and videos for both. Photos by Andre Charland, Videos by Jamie Bond
Wrap Around Chute – Fissile Mountain, Whistler, BC
Dec 27, 2009
After trading in a few sunny ski days for some Christmas merriment, most of us were overdue for some shredding and keen to wander a bit farther than the immediate slackcountry lines off Blackcomb that had already done us proud that week. So the next closest and juiciest zone was a pretty easy choice – Fissile.
After some communication failures and a lost dog, Tobin and Shaun were out of the picture and myself (Jamie) and Andre Charland were the only two left for the day mission. Stability had been great on Disease Ridge the previous 2 days, so we headed for Fissile with confidence and it didn’t dissapoint.
We headed up Whistelr, loaded the ‘chair to nowhere’ (Symphony Express), skinned out over Flute & Oboe, across the flats beside Russet Lake hut, and all the way up the shoulder of Fissile – skins on the whole time! Gotta love winter touring.
We explored our options from the top, but with wind-affect on the NE Face and a rock band in the Summit Chute, we figured the Wrap Around was our best choice.
Good call. It definitely wasn’t hero snow, but the grippy freshies made for some sweet controlled ‘Scott Schmidt’ skiing the whole way down the chute, into the bowl, and finally turning into buttery pow in the steep trees at the bottom.
With our first good summit line of the season behind us, we roller-coastered back home down the Singing Pass trail (still full of fallen trees), and got out of there by moonlight just in the nick of time.
Good times all around, and can’t wait to get out for some longer missions once we’re through with the shortest days of the year!
Pencil Chute (Skiers Left) – Mt Currie, Pemberton, BC
January 4, 2010
Helicopters rule! With the heli droppin’ program back in action for the season, we were keen to take advantage of it the first chance we got. I caught wind that Shaun Gillis, Brian Baker (of Powlicious infamy) and random pack of Whistler shredders were all headed up Mt Currie the next day, and I’ll be damned I was gonna find a way to join in. We got the call at 7:30am in Squamish that a 2nd heli lift was available, and by 9 something we had four more keeners (myself, Tobin Seagel, Alex, and Nic) sitting in a heli buzzing towards Pura Vida behind Mt Currie – still chewing breakfast and digging through bags to sort gear. Can you say ‘junkshow’? But hey, we made it.
Our line off Pura Vida was a sweet mix of sunny and foggy pow skiing, with Brian Baker and crew conveniently ahead of us to lead us through the blind fog sections.
Next up the 9 headed monster of double-heli-droppin’ ski tourers skinned up the backside of Currie with ease, and topped out on the skier’s right Pencil Chute just as the skies completely cleared for the day. Jackpot.
After some debate about snow conditions and the sizable cornices atop the skier’s right line, the 9-man show unanimously continued to the skier’s left chute, and chucked down a rope to assist an otherwise easy but steep sidestep into the chute. Sure it was the safer way in, but our real motivation for rappelling was likely just to scare Nic and any other first timers in the group. Good fun. One after another we rapped in and milked our way through catchy but fun snow down one of the longest chutes in our neighbourhood, and damn was it fun.
The 9-headed monster lasted until the lower gullies, when at last we split in two and pillow dropped our way down the neighbouring powdery gullies to home, living happily ever after. Well, almost. The 5 lucky ones in the skiers right gulley were lovin’ it, the skiers left ‘icefall’ gulley, not so much. Alex and I made it through the icefall choke, while Tobin, Shaun, Adriene decided to hike back up to the skiers right gulley (for several hours) and ski the powdery skiers right gulley – IN THE DARK. Laughing at their tiny headlamp lights WAAAAAY up the mountain, we headed to the Pem Ho for beers until the faitful "we’re down" cellphone call came in about 2 hours after dark.
Everyone was stoked with the day, and talk of the next heli drop was already brewing for later that week. Another fun and classic local ski line was behind us, and we’ll be keen to get after some longer missions soon, well, as soon as the days get a bit longer.
Thanks for the good days guys!