Sep 30

Relative to most sports, ski mountaineering (the steep kind) is very small. The history is well documented. There are really just a few French grandmasters that invented the sport and have since taken it to successive levels gnar. There are strong communities elsewhere in Europe and North America, but because of Chamonix, the French have always ruled the sport. So when one of these guys dies while skiing, it’s a big deal (even if the ski media doesn’t realize it).

But our sport isn’t about who’s best. There’s no quantifiable glory. No bullshit gold medals. That’s the beauty of it. Why it transcends mere sport.

Remy showing how it’s done.

Remy didn’t have the flash that many of his contemporaries had. He just skied an endless number of descents.

I’m ok at what I do skiing-wise. But when people ask me for advice on skiing the steeps, I shrug my shoulders and tell them to go watch Youtube videos of Remy Lecluse. His steep technique was efficient, effortless and flawless. You got the sense that he was so competent, he could never fall. In the end it was an avalanche while tent-bound.

I’ve only followed his career for the last 5 years. His early days were featured in Pierre Tardivel’s book, Memoiries de pleine pente, with the other masters. He’d been actively skiing the steeps since the mid 80’s, and more recently him and Plake formed a partnership and headed to places like Peru and India. Fransson states in his tribute to Remy, that he had over 500 firsts . . . crazy!

As far as Manaslu is concerned, from the pictures I’ve seen the peak seems to have significant objective hazards. The week prior to the avalanche, after hearing about the 50cm of fresh snow that had fallen on a previous 50cm of powder, I remember thinking out loud about the risks those boys were taking. But you can’t judge these things. The Himalayas is totally unique in the world of mountains, where the general rules we try to follow in Canada don’t apply. From my own experiences I know the mindset changes after a month or so of acclimatization and thousands spent on transportation and porters. High-altitude wears you down, decision-making becomes affected and priorities relax. But the massive serac-fall that created the avalanche, seems to be a freak occurrence separate from the snow conditions.

Another legend gone.

R.I.P. Remy Lecluse, Gregory Costa

Jun 02

See below post for the trip report.

Talked with Eric Pehota. I sort of assumed that they had skied the line that I did. Turns out they skied the direct line towards the main summit.

Eric described their route as follows, “We climbed from the base of the chute, about 2 thirds the way up we climbed to left, just right of the main summit. The top 75m or so were 60 to 70 degree rime ice which we did not ascend.”

Cheers to Eric for digging out his climbing diary and providing his description . . . a true legend!

I revised my route picture below, with their line in green. So it turns out my line was a new variation. I don’t know if my variation has been climbed before as well. Maybe one of the old guard climbers can chime in. Here is the description of the first ascent of the Armenian from Bivouac.com.

Armenian Express (1985) C. Zozikyan (solo)Steep snow . The next couloir right of Siberian Express. Mostly 35 degrees but up to 65 at the top. Climbed 3 days after the FA of Siberian Express, this line finishes on the upper South Arete. On the first ascent Carlo made an unequipped summit bivi in temperatures reaching -30C. Unlike Siberian X this line may not have been skied; it is slightly steeper at the top.”

May 27

“Interviews with local badasses – an attempt to uncover some reality in the media-hyped world of ski heros. People who have pushed the limits of skiing with little fanfare.”

Note: Last week, for several days, footage of Steve’s first-ever quadruple back flip was on the internet. Around 30,000 people on youtube watched. The footage was then pulled due to copyright infringement. Hopefully soon we will again be able to see the footage sans music.

I’ve known Steve for over five years, and have always been fascinated with the story of the quadruple back flip. The footage actually spent several years in my own basement, in 16mm form, waiting to be dusted and the feat revisited.  Growing up on Whistler, and airing the “Camel humps” many times, I realize Steve’s jump is an amazing piece of Whistler’s history.  These humps were partially blasted to make way for the Harmony chair, and you’d now have to negotiate a cat-track, moguls and snow-plowers on the in-run.

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May 15

Significant news in the world of steep skiing. Chris Brazeau of Golden B.C. pulled off the dream-line. He’s not only a friend, but someone I look up to.

He’s probably Canada’s greatest under-the-radar alpine climber, with a history of solo climbing mind-blowing alpine lines. But more importantly, he’s just a great guy who lets his actions speak for themselves.

Details are limited, but after a scoping mission, Braz headed into the zone solo and under his own power (no sled or chopper). 4 days later he had skied the North Face of Bryce in the Canadian rockies.

Nice work Braz!!!!!!!!!!! So psyched one of the brothers did it and not some overhyped crew . . .

Certainly a cool chapter in the history of North American ski mountaineering. Trying to think of other solos of this level. Fransson’s descent of the South Face of Denali last year is the only one that comes to mind. Some of Landry’s were very cool as well.

Apr 18

A very personal edit which portrays the magically diverse environment of the Coast. So many days start with doubt in the springtime valley. And yet when you persevere, the alpine serves up the most inspiring conditions.

I wanted to create an edit that shows the beauty of the everyday. No cliff drops or fancy tricks, just blower powder in an unbelievable setting. That’s what backcountry skiing is all about.

Thanks to Darcy for being my camera slave, and using her mad Final-cut skills. The most easy and fun collaboration I’ve done.

Apr 09

Endless spring days.

By Trevor 2012, Squamish Comments Off

Some footy from an amazing easter film session with hellodarcy. Screen grabs are always a little blurry.

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Apr 06

Some Spring pow . . .

By Trevor 2012, Whistler Comments Off

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Feb 14

Shitty Squamish terrain . . .

By Trevor 2012, Squamish Comments Off

Feb 13

Red arrow: entrance to the Georgian. Actually started skiing from where the arrow is pointing, and sideslipped my way to the prominent spine in the sun.                                                                                                          Green arrow: entrance to the squamptonian.

Finally got a clear day, and headed up to brohm with my 200mm lens. One thing to note is the new cornice on top of the Squampton line. Its probably 3 or 4 feet tall and would of materialized in the last week. I was very lucky last week that there wasn’t a cornice, because things were already pant-shitingly scary. You add a cornice to that steepness, and its pant-shit squared.

Feb 09

High on the Squamptonian . . .

After I skied back to the sled yesterday and gained some perspective, I realized that I had skied the wrong line! After some sushi and a few hours sleep, managed to summon the stoke and head back into the ‘arena’.

Day 2 was smooth and efficient. Transitions were quick, no rest-breaks, had all the right tools for each of the difficulties.

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