Accidental Spearhead Day 1 – Blackcomb Glacier to Platform Glacier

After a blast of high pressure fed by moist warm air from Hawaii visited the Pacific North West (also know as a pineapple express), I knew that we had to head high. In the end, it turned out that we didn’t head high enough as even 2700m peaks had received a ton of rain, making for interesting turns on all aspects.

This trip brought Ron out of the woodwork after a busy holiday season with family time. Also joining me were Rob and Zdenek – for a fast, motivated group stoked to be out and enjoying the sun.

Blackcomb base, leaving the world of icy groomers, fartbags and beer

Our plan was to bee-line out of the Blackcomb ski area and head to Tremor Glacier via Decker, Trorey, and then wrap around Tremor and camp on  the Platform Glacier. Our original tentative plan was then to seek out snow that hadn’t been rain-soaked, wind-slabbed or turned into crust and then tour around Tremor. We then planned to head back again to Blackcomb and bang out some north faces on the way.

Skinning up at the Blackcomb Gates ~photo Rob McLachlan

Route from Decker Glacier to Platform Glacier wrapping around Tremor Pk

Zdenek skiing off Blackcomb Peak down to the ridge just south of Circle Glacier

We took the low angled route over to the Decker – Trorey col and passed on the Trorey blowhole. Snow was fast, making for quick skinning, but the crust was pretty firm. Skiing down the lower Decker-Trorey col was a jump turn exercise so we cut high on the Trorey glacier so as to high-traverse past Mt Pattison and up to Trorey – Tremor col.

Lee dropping into the lower Decker – Trorey col ~photo Ron Enns

Ron drops into the Trorey col ~photo Rob McLachlan

Ron exits the col

Zdenek skinning to Trorey-Tremor Col with Mt Pattison on the right/South

View from Trorey-Tremor Col looking back to Blackcomb ski area

I have stared at Tremor a lot. It’s a nice peak at which to stare, about 3 to 4 hours skinning from the ski area – just far enough away to deter traffic but close enough to make it a day trip. Never found the right combination of decent weather and snow to give me both the visibility and the stability to consider skiing it. The north face is 45 degrees and 180m with a set of crevasses protecting the bottom and in the shade. In the sunlit west face, the obvious snow chute in the middle a little ways down the ridge is called the Hourglass – its 45 degrees and 180m long. The west face is the prize and was first skied in 1994 by Jia Condon and John Chilton (55 degrees and 140m). However, even a cursory look shows that the entire W face has basically been battered by the winds and is more an ice-climb at this point then a ski-descent.

The W face of Tremor.

Ron on Trorey – Tremor Col

Rob approaches Tremor col and the Platform Glacier

Lee with the camera bug on Tremor Glacier ~photo Rob McLachlan

Wedge sunset – Zdenek skins up the Tremor Glacier

We weren’t in any particular hurry and timed our approach to Tremor and then the wrap around the Platform Glacier for the views and the light. I’ve seen a lot of glaciers but have to admit having a particularly spiritual set of “oh my god” moments when we came around Tremor col and saw the sunset over the Spearhead and Fitzsimmons Range. Pictures don’t capture the story but perhaps these efforts will try to convey a bit of the majesty of these surreal vistas.

Perfect timing for a Platform Glacier sunset

A Spearhead Traverse sunset ~photo Rob McLachlan

Sunset over the Wedge – James Turner Group ~photo Rob McLachlan.

Ron having a moment

Campsite on Platform Glacier

Elevation profile for the day

Route for the day

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