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McBride Traverse - An Alternate Route to the Squamish-Whistler Highway
Timestamp Free: 2019.10.20 - 15:16:35
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Garibaldi Ranges
  (6 days)
Participants: Jordan Peters, Kurt Fickeisen, Jon Ley
Difficulty: 4: Remote and committing backcountry, steep icy slopes
North to South traverse of McBride Range from Whistler to Diamond Head.
A day before Kurt Fickeisen and I were to depart on a projected ten day traverse of the McBride Range in Garibaldi Provincial Park, Jon Ley calls me up to announce that he had decided to take up the invitation I had offered him three weeks ago to join us. Not the hugest fan of crevasses, I was elated that the party would now be three, but also somewhat concerned that while I had been packing and fussing over maps for a few days, Jon had yet to start and apparently didn't know if he could even secure a pair of skis for the next day! To top it off, Jon was pretty sure that we could knock off the entire traverse in five days! Well, he got everything in order in only a day, mounting an old pair of telemark bindings onto a pair of drilled-out old boards and we headed off to Whistler, dropping my car off at Diamond Head at the south end of the route. We hoped to exit at Squamish, but in the event of bad weather and an exit out Garibaldi Lake, we would be faced with a bit of a problem getting back up to Diamond Head. So it was that we began what appeared on paper and in our minds to be a large and intimidating undertaking through the backbone of a remote wilderness area.

The McBride Range runs roughly diagonally, northeast to southwest, linking the Fitzsimmons Range behind Whistler to the Garibaldi Lake area of peaks northeast of Squamish. The description given by John Baldwin his guidebook, and his rating of C4, had created a bit of an aura about the area for me. Guidebook authors can be quite understated, especially if they are used to mammoth trips in the Coast Mountains, so for Baldwin to use the word "rugged" and "steep slopes" in describing a route, it might mean something, I thought. Sort of like the notorious undergrading of Dick Culbert's climbs. Although,...

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