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Traverses of Terror: Diamond Head to Whistler via the McBride Range
Timestamp Free: 2019.09.20 - 11:32:17
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Garibaldi Ranges
  (8 days)
Participants: Doug Brown, Betsy Waddington, Sandra McGuinness, Captain Bivouac (Robin Tivy)
Difficulty: 4: Steep slopes, complex terrain, glacier crossings.
North to south traverse starting from Diamond Head to Whistler. Ski ascent of Mount Sir Richard.
The first decision you have to make when skiing the McBride Range traverse is whether to travel north to south, or visa versa. Traveling north to south pretty much means donating cash to Intrawest for a ride up the chairs on either Blackcomb or Whistler Mountains. In my mind, Intrawest ranks only slightly lower on the list of evil world powers than Bush and Cheney, so I was loathe to pay $40 for a one way ride up Whistler Mountain. First decision made. The second decision is whether to come in via Garibaldi Lake or from Diamond Head. Another easy choice, from Diamond Head you can probably be guaranteed of skiing, whereas the plod up the Garibaldi Lake trail with skis on your pack can be pretty dispiriting.

Day 1: Diamond Head to Upper Ring Creek
There is no point detailing the route to the Garibaldi Neve, which is standard fare in the Coast Mountains. We took the summer route to the Elfin Shelter and set up camp in a rain and graupel storm about 150 metres below the Garibaldi Glacier in upper Ring Creek. The route below the Gargoyles and down into Ring Creek could qualify as the first traverse of terror, as, by the time we got there, the snow was sloppy and isothermic and wet slides from above seemed a real possibility. We walked down the moraine at the end one at a time for fear of setting a slide off had we tried to ski this short but steep slope.

Day 2: Across the Neve to Glacier Pikes
The previous nights storm was still going in the morning, but by about 10.30 am a sucker hole enticed us out and we got away in about an hour, soon finding the sucker hole had slammed shut. Nevertheless, we had enough breaks in the storm to navigate our way across the Neve and out to a campsite in the pass west of Glacier Pikes. We had a wonderful sunset with...

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