Fissile Peak – Saddle Chute – Fissile Bowl

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Well, a bit of waiting around today. Sharon heads back in the morning to the world of fartbags, on-off cold and hot water taps and hot-tubs. Rob has left earlier for icy inbound groomers. Jon was supposed to be at the trailhead of Singing Pass at 640m at Whistler Village and skinning 1250m and 13km to the hut. He said he would be here by 8.30am but unless he broke out the steroids and EPO I thought that timing would be optimistic. Leisurely breakfast, 10am rolls around and no sign of Jon – Sharon packs up, I sherpa her big pack over to the top of Cowboy Ridge and there is Jon on the phone (there’s reception at the hut and Cowboy Ridge).

A cold hut condenses a ton of moisture as it warms up

The Swiss have put in a highline bootpack over to Fissile Ridge which shortcuts the icy ridge traverse. It’s a very efficient line – these guys know their way around mountains.

Ridgeline of Fissile Peak at the bootpack entry

Although we have had a ton of snow, Fissile Ridge itself has been hammered first by 100kmh + SW winds, then by 100kmh+ northerlies. The ridge is exposed, the snow is brittle but the views are stunning.

Just a wee bit of exposure with the vertical km drop to Overlord Glacier

The Swiss machine have already skied the NE face today

Between the subpeaks of Fissile and the true peak is the Fissile like a Missile couloir

View from Fissile Peak looking south down Isoscecles Creek, Mt Davidson, Cheakamus Glacier and the Castle Towers.

View from Fissile Peak looking west

Summit Chute looked bony Summit Chute was our original objective but looks really bony. The north winds seem to have stripped the upper slopes clean right around the peak. The NE face looks fine but no-one seems too excited about trying Elevator Shaft. So we bootpack down to Saddle Chute, which looks fine. The Swiss are ahead of us (we are now joined by Jesse and two friends of his from Vancouver) but thoughtfully they have skied the centre of the chute and left nice amounts of space on each side of their tracks.

Saddle Chute involves a hike with exposure down the ridge but the cornice is passable.

View down Saddle Chute.

Saddle Chute (from John Baldwin’s Backcountry Whistler map; “55 degrees, 540m, 1st desc – 1980 – Jim Vaillancourt.

A steep chute starting from the minor saddle just W and down from the summit”

Lee entry into Saddle Chute ~ photo Jon Armstrong

Lee dropping down Saddle Chute ~ photo Jon Armstrong

Jon skiing down Saddle Chute

We’re down Saddle Chute in no time and then back down to the creek below the hut and then back to the hut. I really want to make tracks in Fissile Bowl in the sunset so have no problem persuading the Swiss to join me. Jon has over 2500m of climbing in his legs already and blows up on the climb so didn’t make it into the pictures – next time Jon!

Sunset on Fissile Bowl

Raphael in Fissile Bowl

Alain in Fissile Bowl

Our route on Jan 13, 2007

Elevation profile for the day

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