The line . . . we also skied the smaller couloir on the the right side of the photo.
This descent happened when I was young and had no camera or concept of taking pictures for memories. So thanks to Johnny and Martina for their photos, as well as John Scurlock’s aerial shots.
B.C.’s 15th highest peak, Serra 2 is in of one of the most geologically impressive ranges in B.C. The stegosaurus-like spines of Combatant, Tiedeman, Asperity and the Serras can be seen from great distances because they are anomalies on the Coast. A tight group of peaks that rise far above the surrounding ranges. The couloir we intended to ski on Serra 2 is at the southern end of the range, and can thus be seen from many points between Waddington and Vancouver. I had first spied the line in John Baldwin’s beautiful Coast Mountains coffee table book.
I Had the chance to go for the 1st descent in May 2002 with Johnny and Martina Franko. After a couple of nights at the Plumber hut on the Tellot Glacier, we headed up the shorter and steeper North Face. With a rope and some ice screws, Johnny lead the 3 or so pitches of ice to the top of our line. I seem to remember Martina only having 1 snow axe, and her having to balance her way up. At the top, our position in the range was superb. The ski down was amazing. Almost 5500 feet vertical of skiing! High 40′s most of the way down the top couloir, with the unending mellower slopes bellow. I recall at one point high on the line, having so much fun and making large turns with abandon, that I almost got taken out by my sluff. I was only 23 after all.
Martina's shot of me on the ascent made me an underwear model!
Looking down the North Facing ice line of ascent, Radiant and Scimitar Glaciers in the background.
Looking down the line towards the Tiedeman Glacier
Martina skiing in the upper couloir.
A subsidiary peak of Mount Logan (Canada’s Highest Peak (19,551ft) and Earth’s largest mountain), McArthur is situated in the St.Elias Range of the Yukon. Peaks like McArthur are so dwarfed by Logan’s massiveness, that all sense of scale is lost. Lines that look small, would be considered huge anywhere else in the World. The first ascent was in 1961 via the North Ridge. In 2005, Ptor Spricenieks and I chose this line for our attempted first ski descent of the mountain. Memories have faded, but I believe that we began with an early afternoon start and we’re back at maybe 5 am. Day light lasted until we reached the summit at midnight, and the sun slowly began to rise around 3am. We skied without headlamps at the darkest hour, but we definitely took our time negotiating the various cruxes. The visual highlight, was the ‘greatest sunset of all time’ due to forest fires raging in Alaska. Here are some pics.
Ptor starting up the knife-edge ridge
Me climbing the wonderful ridge below the crux.
Ptor climbing the ice-filled crux. He hauled his skis up later.
Skinning up the summit plateau in horrible light
Augusta (14,070 ft) on left, Logan's famed east ridge on right
Destroyed yet totally satisfied
Ptor on the summit. Cold and tired, no more pictures were taken after this shot.