Words by Lee Lau. Photos by Lee and Tyler Wilkes unless otherwise noted.
Today we tried to ski the summit chute on Mt Cheakamus (2588m) but failed. We turned back at a faceted exposed ridgeline climbing direct up the summit chute then dog-legging to try to get to the summit direct instead of contouring across the face. It was still a good ski. To be honest, I don’t know if I would have had the balls to try to turn the (reputed) 60 deg summit face direct. Instead we were content with good snow down the lower more lower angled 55 deg middle face.
Our route took us from the previous day’s base camp at the toe of the Fitzsimmons Glacier, up to the col overlooking the Overlord Gl then up past the cornices overhanging the Benvolio Gl, through Fitz – Benvolio Gl, down the Diavolo Gl and to the base of Cheakamus. After our attempt and descent we retreated the same way then skied down the Overlord Gl and to the Russet Lk hut for a total of 2300m vert for the day over 28km. For some strange reason neither Paul nor Wilkes wanted to do a Fitzsimmons lap perhaps deterred by the shiny windslab on its face and the extra 3 – 400m vert it would require.
Wilkes is warm!
Morning view of Iago – Fitzsimmons as we headed to Overlord Col
Overlord Col and the view W towards Fissile
Traversing under the Benvolio cornices
Pano looking S towards Cheakamus from Fitz – Diavolo col
Lee at Fitz – Diavolo col. Fitzsimmons bootpack in the background
More views of Cheakamus
Paul at the base of Cheakamus. We started our climb at about 2250m from the Diavolo Glacier base and made our way shy of a faceted ridgeline at 2510m then turned around to ski off the middle of the summit chute
Lee starting the climb up the face. Tiring climb with punchy snow.
Making the way up the face
Wilkes after our downclimb from the scary ridge and following the sketchiest transistions ever as we all hacked platforms out of the steep snow
Paul making his way down
Wilkes with the McBride range in the background
Evening sun back to our gear cache on Overlord Col
Our tracks down the Overlord Glacier (picture taken the next day)
Evening light as we head to the Russett Lk hut
Google Earth GPS tracks
Hand-drawn tracks on map
Elevation profile for the day – 2300m total