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Fitzsimmons Group from Decker Mountain # 6219

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Date: 2005.01.15
Vantage Point: South Ridge of Decker Mountain--looking south

Caption: During a circumnavigation of Decker Mountain, Kevin pauses to gaze on the Fitzsimmons Group at the head of Fitzsimmons Creek in Garibaldi Provincial Park. This high mountain knot provides one of the cruxes on the traditional Spearhead Traverse.

PhotoDescr: An inconsistent snowpack, two weeks of arctic air, wind events, and no snow, and "considerable" avalanche danger combined to modify our weekend plans for turns in the Spearhead Range. Instead we chose to do a circumnavigation of Decker Mountain by sticking to lower-angled slopes that provide a natural route around much of Decker Mountain.

Seriously facetted snowpack created routefinding challenges on the lower western ridge of Decker, but persistence paid off in some fine views once we made it to the broad bench that runs around the southern exposure of the mountain. Here, Kevin traces the high-level route of the Spearhead Traverse, so that the options are stored in the memory for the next time around the route.

Tracing the route from the photo right, skiers traverse just under the cliff face on the right hand peak (Overlord Mountain) and surmount a short rock wall to access the glacier east of the obvious rock rib that trends north of Overlord. From here, skiers turn south to thread through crevasses with the intention of eventually passing through the Benvolio/Fitzsimmons Col (1/3 left from right edge of photo). Here, the route descends the Diavolo Glacier behind Mount Fitzsimmons to re-emerge onto the Iago Glacier (the flat glacier photo left).

While gazing on this scene, we were able to see six recent natural avalanches, from Size 1-2, on these north faces. Based on the variable windslab, crusts, and facets, any new snow and/or warming will likely create a significant avalanche cycle.

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