Prior to the prior night's guides meeting, I jotted down many notes about what I knew and what my concerns were. We had laid out maps and put together plans. One human factor that I was concerned with was whether or not we would pressure ourselves to lay down new fun routes without considering consequences. But new owner Larry Dolecki reminded me that we were also to find safe routes as well as fun routes.
We were to head to Snowfall Lodge. Don't even bother looking it up on the internet - it was built by Larry (owns Icefall Lodge, as well) over a week during the summer and Larry is not one for internet fluff. There are 2 references to it on the Facebook Icefall Lodge page and that's it. Here it is 50 58’ 28.3” N 117 33’ 14.2” W So, don't whine about me not telling you where the backcountry goods are. Duh, I just showed you.
Larry has actually recruited a number of his guides from this course.
Right before I was picked up at the Lake Louise Hostel ($64CDN for 2 nights with a free shuttle to the local ski hill and they serve beer there - who could ask for anything more?) at 7AM as I nervously waited, I actually engaged in some raucous internet communication out of the blue with Mia from Colorado of The A-Team, presumably while she was eating a bowl of nails for breakfast prepping for some M8-WI7 VI climb. Whaddya' know, after that, I was READY, ready for the chopper ride in to a 170cm snowpack at 1575 meters at a brand new hut and to explore! Details for the lodge are as follows:
Welcome to Snowfall Lodge for the first season of exploring. I will give you some basic
info to start planning your trip, more will follow.
I want to emphasize that this will be basic accommodation and not as comfortable as
Icefall Lodge. It will be a small group; usually 7 plus guide and maybe a practicum. The
guide will do the cooking and people will be expected to help with chores. I view this
year as exploration and there will be a lot of details that need to be sorted out.
Well it isn’t actually a lodge yet. I have built what will become the sauna. It is a basic
one room building (16’x 16’). The kitchen, dining, living area, wood stove and drying will
all be downstairs.
There is a ladder to the loft upstairs where it is dorm sleeping. Mattresses and bedding
are provided so no need to bring a sleeping bag. There is a solar panel and 2 electric
lights downstairs. There are also 2 propane lights downstairs but no lights upstairs so a
headlamp is useful. There is no electricity so don’t bring things that need to be charged.
There is no running water but there is a creek very close by. There is also no indoor
toilet just an outhouse.
There is a very small sauna so you can bring a towel. It is a separate small building.
We should have a radio repeater by the time the season starts. ; 162.885 Rx, 167.895 Tx,
narrow band, Tx tone 100.00. Your guide will also have a Spot. There is no internet and it
would be fairly difficult but not impossible to get a message in. This would probably
involve emailing somebody who has radio communication with us. More details to
We will stage 6km up the Fish River Rd from Beaton. This is the end of where the road
will be plowed to. Beaton is 5 km off highway 31 which runs between the Galena Bay
Ferry and Trout Lake. This is south of Revelstoke and north of Nakusp. It shows up on
Google Maps and I will send more details later.
With a couple of exceptions the exchange will be on Saturday. You will meet at staging
at 8:30 am. There is a small cabin there where Pierre and his wife Natelle live. There is
also a sea canister there. You will sign waivers, organize loads and fly in from there.
To fly in we will be primarily using a jet ranger which can take about 700 pounds, so
pack light. This will usually be about 3 people. With food and gear we are probably
looking at 4 flights to get in. It is about 15- 20 minute turn around time to the lodge.
It is recommended that you stay somewhere nearby the night before. Halcyon Hot
springs has accommodation and is about 40 minutes away. There are also a couple of
places in Trout Lake (more details to come). Pierre may let you stay at his place; more
details to come.
It looks awesome but I haven’t done much skiing there. This year will be about
exploring. The lodge sits at 1575 m, the peaks are at 2800m. If you want to look on
Google Earth, the coordinates are: Lodge site 50 58’ 28.3” N 117 33’ 14.2” W Staging 50
46’ 22.6” N 117 40’ 36.0 W
It is white; more details to come!
All personal gear must weigh less than 35 pounds. This includes clothing, and drinks. This gear
must fit into 2 small packs (40 liters or less). This weight does not include skis and you can wear
your ski boots in the helicopter. Avoid bulky items (don’t bring a sleeping bag, duvets are
provided). Please no large duffle bags, coolers or hard suitcases.