Duffey Glaciers West – Cubicle line & Baltic Bliss
March 6, 2018 & March 10, 2018
Two pleasant rambles in the western Duffey in the same week as stable high pressure came in. Generic pics of some of my favourite places in the world. Those who know this place will know.
Imagine if there were trams, gondolas and Postbus came here! And AlpRestaurants, hot springs and snowshoers!
Glacier X looks like ass most of the time without 8+m of snow so govern your travels accordingly
March 6, 2018 – Cubicle to Sunset
Ramble 1 was up to Glacier A then down Glacier X and back up the XA ridgeline to get the Sunset chutes. 17km, 1980m
We banged out NE, E and NW runs including the much coveted CUBICLE Line. Temps -3 at valley. -11 at 2600m. Winds light from SW but we could see wind effect from moderate to strong gusts at 2800m with sastrugi and windslab forming higher.
Snow quality was excellent with 30cms of low density overlaying a 4F to fist supportive base ie perfect for steep skiing. A 320cms glacier probe was swallowed by snow-bridges but we had known that from earlier so felt confident getting onto Glacier X unroped. Solar effect was present on true E and S slopes with Some Na sz1s on N facing steep slopes but not stepping down. Lots of solar triggered sluffing especially close to rocks so expect those trigger zones to be touchy.
With Sharon, Stu and Eddy
From valley floor – we go there
Up Glacier A in good time
Convective clouds sucking all that moisture out of the top level of snowpack
High clouds keeping the temps down and the skinning surface in fine form
Cubicle line – with Atomic Backland 107s and Atomic SHIFTs
Traversed to the top to watch the party ski down and take pictures
Stu in his cubicle
Sharon in her cubicle with the blue ice of Glacier X glistening in the shade
Shar through the small section of E facing sun crust threading the seracs of Glacier X
Lee past Glacier X seracs
Sharon on the lower glacier. Sun runnel effects
Still nice snow on the lower reaches of Glacier X. Be warned that that schrunds are open all the way to 2100m
Cubicle Line tracks
From L to R – the Azn Express, Couloir, Baltic Bliss, Cubicle
Shot of the Norton Step to the Azn Express as we climbed the XA ridgeline to bag the Sunset chutes
Great Wall of Caripoo variation on the Azn Express as we skin up to the Sunsets
A half hour late for true sunset on these NW facing lines
Into the Sunset with a ski cut that released only sluff
and down into the Sunset
March 10, 2018 – Gnar to Baltic Bliss
Our next gentle meander was up to Glacier X again. We then climbed up peak Gnar twice (because it’s there) then down Glacier Y via the BALTIC BLISS line. 15.5km; 2105m. A bit warmer today with more Na action and more solar effect.
With Kenny and Margus
Here we go again at valley floor at 1220m. -2 at 8.30am
NA with propogation – sz 2.5 on NW aspect at 1800m following new snow mid-week. Failure plane was new snow on facets overlaying new snow. Trigger was skier entering mid-slope
Looking at the Sunsets which were fresh following the midweek new snow
Up to 2740m to the Amazeballs face of Mt Gnar (traingular shaped peak) via Glacier A. Easy fast travelling with some solar effect starting
At A- Col. Kenny is the dot
Over towards Glacier Y and towards Mt Gnar
Over Glacier Y and back to the moraine ascent as the Aussie bakes and forms sun-crust in the background
Margus approaching the Amazeballs Face of Mt Gnar
While I skinned up with ski crampons Margus and Kenny bootpacked the face of Mt Gnar
Thanks Steve Jones for the picture from 3rd Lake showing the skin track up the Amazeballs Face. I got 3/4 of the way up before hitting firmer snow and transitioning
Kenny was resting a bit so we asked him to peace out in a safe spot while we did a lap. Here goes Margus
Had to get the Folsom Skis product shot
There goes Margus sluffing the slope; excellent ski quality!
And up we go the second time. Shot by Kenny who basked in the sun at the top getting instabangers.
Gratuitious crotch shot
And now for something completely different. Most people don’t ski Glacier Z which is a bit of a blind spot. And they don’t approach it from Mount Gnar. Down we go via the BrownPants Couloir which was sun-affected and total dogshit. Many times I am glad I lack depth perception and am not scared of exposure. This is one of those times
I tried to break up the snow as best as possible for Kenny who got to go second and inexplicably looks concerned
Margus and Kenny in the thick of the suncrusted rimy shitshow of Brownpants Couloir
Oooopsy. There’s a 6m/20 footer iced up choke at the bottom of BrownPants. Managed to downclimb it while mantling sections of rime and rock with my head and shoulder. Forgot what a shitty climber I am.
Kenny is a badass and simply jumps off
The Baltic Bliss. Conditions look acceptable
Three quarters of the way to go. Still cold on those NE faces
Halfway to go and we get to play serac slalom. Don’t go near the toilet bowls Margus
Yeah those holes Kenny? They’re the size of Prince George houses
Nice turns on the way down
To Vantage Col and out