Hiking Mt Cartier In Heavy Rain
Here's a little update from G3 team member Melanie Bernier, based over the in epicenter that is Revelstoke, about how good it is to be back on snow... no matter the cost.
As the season progresses and the snow gets deeper and better, we often forget about how hard we are willing to work in the early days in order to get a few turns at the beginning of the season.
On November 6th in Revelstoke, the only thing that was white was the tip of our local mountains. Because we are impatient when it comes to skiing, nothing, not even pouring rain was enough to stop us from our Cartier mission.
We left mid-morning on Saturday after waiting for the rain to ease off a bit. We were trying to convince ourselves that it would be awesome once at the top, but the trail to Cartier, even if only 14 kms long, is quite steep. So we put our boots and skis on our heavy backpacks and starting climbing under the rain from 400m. As we were gaining elevation, there was no trace of snow and we were getting soaked to the bone. We finally gained the first hut at around 1700m about 3 hours in. At that point, we could see a few patches of the white stuff but not enough to get excited quite yet.
We decided that a fire and some tea would be greatly appropriate in order to keep on going and also to dry out clothes before getting to freezing line. The clouds started to disappear as we kept on walking and finally gained the snowline at 1900m. We found a decent campsite where we spent the night knowing that we would be able to start walking with our skis on the following day. It was hard to tell if it was raining over night or snowing but whatever happened was really wet!
The next morning, we slowly convinced ourselves to get out of our warm sleeping bags and started skinning towards the summit. The coverage was really minimal but it felt so great to be out, back in the mountains, with skis on! We picked our way through and gained the ridge to the Summit of Cartier. It was amazing as we got to the top, the sun showed up! It was magic. We down-climbed the bony part and finally got to enjoy a few nice turns. It was like skiing on a minefield where each turn was a bit of a gamble but it was still worth it in my mind.
We gained our campsite, packed everything. At that point, it was 3:30 in the afternoon and we knew we still had a long way to go. We ran down the trail back to where we started somewhat satisfy by what we found but also still starving for more.
Since then, we had a few amazing day including a really spectacular day up at the Asulkan. After the November 16th snow event, we got close to 2500m of vert doing yoyos above the Asulkan Cabin. Turns on hero snow totally made me forget about the pain going up Cartier.