Fairy Meadows 2008 – Granite Glacier – Nobility Glacier – Shoestring Glacier

Words by Lee Lau. Photos by Lee Lau, Sharon Bader, Mike McArthur, Jeremy Roche and Bill Carey. All rights reserved

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The next day’s weather forecast called for another good day but with storms coming in tomorrow. With the thought that high glacier travel would be tough without visibility we planned on making an early start and bagging a prized tour of the Fairy Meadows area – Sir William in the Nobility Group. It would be a long day with over 2000 m of climbing but we were motivated and if the weather held out, we would have had it.

Today was even colder then yesterday with temps dipping to minus 20 and a blustery wind making for quite the chill.

Fairy Meadows morning

Some artificial help in getting going the next day

Morning glow

Kerri on the skintrack

Holy cow it was cold. I could feel my nose blistering with cold in the shade and made tracks over to the sun as quickly as possible. We repeated our track on the Granite Glacier and didn’t have much trouble with the approach even though the wind had covered up most of the old skintrack. We made our way down to the Nobility Glacier and then bee-lined to the Nobility Col on the final approach to Sir William. Unfortunately, clouds were starting to roll in. We got a call from JR and Kerri who had elected to take a lower glacier tour to the effect that clouds were already obscuring the higher peaks.

Bill Carey making his way to Enterprise basin and the Forbes Glacier

Bill and the group on the Granite Glacier

Sun Dog over Enterprise

Vince making his way down to the Nobility Glacier

So just shy of Sir William (maybe another 300m climb over one hour), we got to the col on the Nobility Glacier approaching Sir William and saw clouds flying in to obscure the peak.

Reluctantly we changed our plans and skied a few runs off the ridge hoping that the clouds would clear up. Instead visibility got worse and worse and we retreated in flat light back down our skintrack, freezing our asses off in 60 kmh winds.

Heading up to the Nobility Col and the gateway to Sir William

While the rest of the group headed for hot chocolate and the hut, I wasn’t quite done yet and headed up to the Echo Glacier/Shoestring Glacier to take a look. The clouds hadn’t reached that area yet and I figured it was a good chance that it would be my last opportunity this week to see the runs in good light. I ended up skiing off Gog and Magog and down the Shoestring Glacier then back to the hut – adding another couple of the hours to the day but getting in a pretty good run in wind-buffed creamy powder slopes.

Scouting solo trip to the Echo-Shoestring Glacier in the twilight

(Top) Julie fed us chocolate fondue. (Bottom) Kerri shares the chocolate jo

Elevation profile for the day

Map of our route that day

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