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The 1998 Garibaldi Neve Traverse: Cold, Confusion and Clouded Judgement
Timestamp Free: 2018.10.16 - 16:18:59
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Garibaldi Ranges
  (2 days)
Participants: Robin Tivy, Betsy Waddington, Greg Stoltmann, Jayne Hardy, Steve Grant, and a cast of dozens.
Difficulty: 3:
A description of a blundering Neve traverse, with discussions of related antics on similar trips.
With weather obviously unsuitable for a Neve traverse, it was remarkable 15 people showed up for the trip. Because we doubted the traverse would be successful, only a token effort was made to leave transportation on the Diamond Head road, and the whole group proceeded to Garibaldi Lake. Crossing the lake to Sentinel Bay was a tiring exercise in frustration, with snow sticking more tenaciously than the finest glue, even on freshly cleaned skis. A scientific investigation of the adhesive qualities of such snow would surely yield invaluable information. At one point, in utter desperation, I tried walking and found it only slightly slower than skiing with 10kg of snow stuck to each ski.

It was late in the day before we got to Sentinel Bay, where the leader commanded us to continue onto the Neve rather than settle into the shelters. A dark and descending overcast suggested we were really in for it.

The south wall of Sentinel Bay is formed by a fairly steep slope that extends from the Table to the Sentinel Glacier. The customary route up and down this slope is nearest the cabin. The slope's steep snow is punctuated by small rock outcrops. After a "descent" of this slope years ago by a prominent BCMC member, better known for his climbing skills than skiing ability, we have henceforth referred to it as "The Pinball Machine". The group headed up this slope.

A little farther up the valley is a gentle wind cirque that provides a much easier and safer access to the glacier above. Those who stayed sulking at the cabins finally gave up hope the group would choose to stay at the cabins, and rather than brave the pinball machine, headed up the safer route. The pinball wizards spotted them and flocked over to follow the now-broken trail. We were beginning to get a feel for the...

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