Recent Winter break fun for some of the WWU Snow Troopers, departing Bellingham Dec. 14, on a five day traverse through the Bonnington Range South of Nelson, B.C.
We (Ben Gregory, Jacob Mandell, and myself, Cory Tarilton) left Bellingham, WA on the morning of Dec 14th for the 8 hour drive to Nelson. At the U.S. border, we realized that Ben had left his repaired skin in Cory’s garage and were set back an hour to grab it. After cooking on logging equipment and a bivy in the 4runner, we set out on the traverse from East to West. Our plan was to spend one night in the Huckleberry hut, three nights at Copper hut (where we would spend a night with Ben’s roommates and friends), and one night in the Steed before skipping the final Grassy hut on our exit. We awoke the second morning to valley fog and made slow process towards the Copper Hut. Midday, the sky cleared and we could see our objective far off on the snaking ridgeline. Cold, clear skies turned to a frigid, shadowy moonscape as the full moon rose and we plodded on. Arriving in the Copper Valley, we were greeted by snowghosts and the deceiving shadows they cast. Unable to locate the hut amidst the full moon, we were forced to have an unplanned bivy. The following morning, we found water from an artesian spring that had not thoroughly frozen over yet, and made our way to a high point to plan our continuing search in the valley. From high on Copper, Ben spotted a clearing near a large stand of trees and a bulbous mushroom of snow that was the hut’s roof. Gear was dried, hot food was made, and a sunset lap with our carswapping buddies ensued. They left before light the next day following our beta on the route which had stymied us in the clouds, and they gave advice for the funnest runs that we could ski towards the steed hut. The next day was farming of the perfect glades all around the hut. We decided to embark in the near solstice daylight for our following two traverse days. On our first travel day, the mercury at the hut was reading -1… Fahrenheit. Cold temps made for fast travel, quick transitions, and great stable snow. All in All we covered close to 40 miles of terrain over the trip and hope to head back soon!