Pattison - Decker - Feb 16, 2008
and photos by Sharon Bader and Lee Lau unless otherwise noted.
As a high-pressure hit the Whistler - Blackcomb area we made plans to tour out to the backcountry to escape the triple-barrelled whammy crowds of President's Day weekend for the US, university student spring break and Alberta spring break. Sharon, Poz, Stew, Launce and I made a quick exit from Blackcomb and headed to the backcountry gates. Our plan was to tour out to Decker then to the Trorey Glacier to see what kind of shape N faces had held in that neighbourhood.
Blackcomb glacier lineup
We took the mellow route to the Decker - Trorey Col as I'd not been in the area for over 2 weeks. There was already some travellers ahead of us but we got to the col ahead of other groups who turned to other routes. We then headed over the Trorey Glacier to Pattison to scope out the NW Face. The route up to Pattison is pretty easy - a short bootpack up a windswept rocky ridge. Then a skin up to the windlip entry to the NW face and down you go on 40 - 45 degrees of loveliness.
Launce finds some pretty nice snow in the right couloir entry
Stew and Launce drop in
Phil letting the skis run
We were thinking of taking a look at Trorey's N Face but Tim told us that the face was wind-scoured and variable. We elected to skin back to Decker and head back to the area via a N-face off Decker. This turned out to be a good move as Trorey's N Face was indeed less - then - perfect skiing. In not too much time we were perched on top of the 9th Hole Face of Decker ready to rip.
Traversing the lower N face of Trorey back to the ridge linking Trorey and Decker
Sharon drops off Decker down 9th Hole
Phil's ski cut lops off a minor slab which he waits out before letting the skis run