Blackcomb Backcountry – Tour of Four Glaciers

After yesterday’s excursion on Cowboy Ridge, we switched sides of the valley and headed over to Blackcomb. Our original objective was to tour over to Platform Glacier – just east of Tremor Peak and check out six glaciers. Due to a late start with the Glacier Chair loading at a leisurely 10am time and malfunctioning skins we only managed to get 4 glaciers; Blackcomb Glacier; Decker Glacier; Trorey Glacier and Circle Glacier.

Our route took us from Blackcomb Glacier up to East Col; down to Circle Lake; then to the toe of the Decker Glacier; up to the bench before the Decker saddle on the north face. Here’s Sharon with Phalanx in the background.

The entrance from the Trorey – Decker col to the Trorey glacier is a steep chute that was wind-scoured. It’s the only way down without having to jump cornices. The peak on picture right with the beautiful ramp is Pattison and that is its north face.

Here I am making some tracks down the Trorey blowhole.

The Trorey Glacier has some serious crevasses. Here we are traversing the wind-scoured north face of Trorey – which typically would be good skiing but not with this artic outflow wind and lack of snow making for boilerplate conditions.

Sharon heads up to the Trorey – Pattison col.

I took this panorama of Wedge and the area east of Wedge which you seldom see from the ski-hills. Wedge is, of course, the prominent face on picture left and James Turner is in picture centre. In the foreground are tracks of heli-skiers down the thoroughly mined east face of Trorey.

Sharon on a little boot pack up to a saddle on the flank of Pattison.

At this point, due to our late start in the day and my malfunctioning skins, we reach our turn- around time and elect to not drop down to the Tremor Glacier. Still the views are pretty good and I get this panorama of the Ripsaw, the Ripsaw Glacier, and Mt Macbeth. The rest of the Spearhead heading to Whistler including the broken Fitzsimmons Glacier stretches off to picture right.

We head back pretty much the way we came as the skiing is pretty poor and there’s not much point trying to farm non-existent pow. Here’s Mitch with Trorey in the background. The helis have lots of space to land on the flat peak but we saw none that day.

Some other skiers boot-packed the route to picture left so they could ski the north face of Pattison – which is outside this picture to the left. We saw them come down; a few nice turns on the top of the face and then wind-slab city all the rest of the way down – ugh. Here comes

After making our way over the Trorey Glacier again we head back over to Decker’s south face and then work our way over to the west face of Decker, navigate the rapidly thinning snow pack down and out along the skin track back to Disease Ridge. You can see from this picture that the Finger Chutes are pretty bare. The west face was both sun and wind-affected; after you punch through 10 – 20 cms of slab you hit unconsolidated facets if you don’t hit rocks or stumps first. It makes for interesting skiing and core shots.

The skin track back to Disease Ridge has been post-holed by boot-packers and my skins really give up their ghost. We get to the top at sunset. The evening light makes for nice pictures so I guess there is a silver (or golden) lining.

Body Bag Bowl in the sunset.

A Black Tusk evening.

Panorama from Black Tusk, to Fee to the Pemberton Ice Cap.

Fun tour even if not much good snow was found. Total ascending was 1300m.


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