Saturday, June 13, 2015

Yukon's Mighty Icefields

Well. What can you say about this massive icefield?

From May 23 to June 9 I was part of an Alpine Club of Canada Yukon (ACC) trip. Some people stayed for 4 days, some for a week and a few of us for the whole duration. The ACC Icefield Discovery camp was supposed to be two weeks (May 23 to June 6), but weather and massive clouds extended that for some of us by 3 days and for others by 5!

Anyways, words defy this "trip-of-a-life-time" landscape (haha, it's my roughly annual trip of a lifetime and only Part 1 at that...) In any case, let me show you this place with a few pics taken by Erika Joubert, an awesome camp mate and chum. Click on pics to see them larger - it's worth it!

My own pictures are on a camera and Samsung Android phone that are both still in the Yukon with all of my gear. When we finally got a flight out on the 9th day of no flights, we had decided to get people out and leave gear behind for later pick up. All to say, there'll be more pics soon, as I am heading back to resume Yukon 2015 Part 2 with trekking, festivals and visiting friends.

Gnurdelhorn (~3,350 m) and Queen Mary (~3,900 m)
Icefield Discovery camp is to the right of Gnurdelhorn. It has two
weather haven tents - one for kitchen, one with a half for gear
and the other half sleeping. And a few tents.

Week 1 was hot. Measured 27 C in the sun one of these days,
and that wasn't the hottest one! Needless to say, the earlier
we got to ski the better the snow was. Except it did get
super soft, super fast. Not the sort of conditions
this Eastern  Canadian, icy ski slope skier knows how to handle.

Classic: mountaineer's pose - lol.

Massive Mount Logan, Canada's highest mountain (5,959 m) and the
largest in the world by sheer mass, was our steady companion,
and our  mark for cloud movements of sorts.
 Even though, it's 40 km away.
This is the sun starting to set for a little while.
 Once I get my camera I will post
pics from a very cool flight seeing trip a few of us did
before the weather turned on us.

My first trip to Pikatak while the weather was warm
and the clouds few. This was taken by Laura Storch
a few feet below the summit.
Gnurdelhorn is in the background.

Pretty cushy beach life. It was so hot, people were all about
sun protection. Granted on a glacier at about 2,600 m there's
plenty of reason to try and keep sun radiation at bay.

Week 2 we were weathered in. A couple of stormy days with some
good winds, but it was mostly due to a fast moving wall of cloud
and tiny weather windows, that there were no flights.
Icefield Discovery managed one flight out on the 9th day (3 days
later than the final intended day at camp) and the rest
of the crew got picked up another 2 days later
after getting though another storm.
This picture was taken around 5:30 am and the skies were clear.
The sun came up right over the col at MB Peak from our vantage point.
Within a couple of hours we were socked in again.
We ended up making the check in time with the pilot earlier
as the best windows were that kind of early.

We did get out on a few excursions as the weather wasn't bad.
Isothermal snow (super wet spring snow) notwithstanding.
This is me on the way back up the glacier from Pikatak to camp;
enhanced by clouds.

See that pool below? All kinds of talk around camp about
going for a dip in there when it was hot out.
Here we are heading up the slope of Pikatak to the summit.

Despite the long period without any flights and no way out, folks
maintained their good humour. This is a very large "Hi Tom"
(that is Captain Tom, our long-awaited Helio pilot) stamped
out repeatedly as the snow kept drifting over it.

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