The Ledge has been on my mind ever since the Sea To Sky Gondola opened. The majority of people in the Squamish / Whistler area probably don’t know of it’s existence, but you can see it from many points along Highway 99, including the Tantalus lookout. It’s also visible from the gondola. But only the upper ledge is visible, and the lower 2/3rds of the line remained a mystery to me. After summiting Sky Pilot two months ago I started to piece together the two ramps that comprise the bulk of the business. Although I scanned what few pictures existed online, nothing could have prepared me for seeing it head-on, in the flesh.
To cap off a lackluster winter, my spring was mostly spent at the computer. Got things backwards and ended a major work contract just as the season is about to end. I knew there was some quality corn up in them hills, but couldn’t be bothered with the extended low snow approaches. Enter Eric Carter, who just got back from 3 months rando racing in Europe. He got me off the couch by suggesting Sky Pilot’s northwest, which I hadn’t skied in over 15 years. Don’t know what’s scarier: skiing a face with full double exposure to cliffs, or being completely out of shape and heading into the mountains with one of the fittest guys in Canada, who also happens to be wearing a speed suit. Certainly the latter.
After arriving home from the Weart mission, I wanted to take a day off and then do another mission before the forecasted storms changed the snowpack. Unfortunately the weather seemed to be coming earlier than expected, and Sunday was the last perfectly clear day. For my ski line I needed all of the sun’s energy to convert that thin sheen of ice into slightly softer hardpack.
Update: This is a good reminder why I write these stories down, otherwise I forget. Ptor Spricenieks and I were skiing around the Weart zone last year and he mentioned a solo descent he did way back in the 90′s. Anyways, I totally forgot about it. I sent Ptor an email at the beginning of the week, but he was in the middle of nowhere in Asia. But just got an email back. He soloed from Blackcomb, climbed the same route we did, skied the South Face line, then hiked out the trail. He met Jeff Holden who was coming up the trail (who was about to do his solo on the Armchair), and they smoked one. Classic!!
While climbing the North Arete on Wedge, two days prior, I snapped some photos of the boys behind me. At home, I saw the South Face of Weart and zoomed in. There was a very exposed and intriguing line hidden on the face. Something you’d only see if you were on Wedge and had a telephoto or some quality binoculars. The day temps were finally rising and the South faces were corning up nicely, so I recruited Julian Stoddart for an early morning Saturday mission. My legs were still sore from the Currie-Blackcomb, so it would be good to have a fresh ski partner to chase up the steep Wedgemount trail.
Lots of hours on skis this past week. It started last Tuesday night, with an old friend Cooksie, inviting me on a Mt Currie heli-drop. It was such short notice, I didn’t have time to say no! Met Cooksie, freeskier Matty Richard, and Pro sailer Curtis in Whistler. While stopping at the coffee shop in Pemby, I came across rando boys Brad Schalles and Stano Faban. We’d been looking to fill extra heli seats, so they jumped in with us.