Bernie's Report - May 28, 2003

Polar Peak Hike and Ski

The bright ideas conceived in the Pub on Wing Night often loose their lustre by the morning. . . but not this time! The discussion that started of with, �wanna go for a bike ride tomorrow?� somehow evolved into �lets hike up to Polar Peak with our skis!� So at 10:30 this morning, 3 of us started up Currie Bowl with the enthusiasm of youth (despite that the sum of our ages equals 184). Hopeful that we would find a safe route to the the summit, 3500 feet above us.

Not having any lightweight touring ski equipment I opted to carry snow shoes, as did Joe. But Wade, true to his promise, brought his skis. We opted to take the more direct and considerably steeper route up the middle of Currie Bowl. In retrospect, the summer road than winds up through Timber Bowl and back into Currie on Trespass Trail would have been the better choice. By the time we reached the snow line (at the bottom of Concussion) Joe�s knee was giving him trouble and he opted to return to the base and try again another day.

Wade & I continued on, over the snow. The snow was firm enough to support our weight and soft enough to make easy steps all the way up Currie Powder. The trail leading up to Polar Peak starts near the end of the traverse from the White Pass chair to Currie Powder and climbs the southern slope. Parts of this area were free of snow, however loose shale presented us less sure footing than the snow. In just under 3 hours, from the time we left the base area, we were on the summit. Normally there is a book in a metal box that is mounted on a pole at the top of Polar Peak for one to sign, date and comment. If it is still there it is buried under several feet of snow.

As the photos show, the view from the top is spectacular and we decided to locate a bare spot to sit down, have some lunch and enjoy the scenery. As we prepared to sit down we noticed that there was a cluster of Ladybugs. Upon closer examination we noticed that there were literally thousands of small Ladybugs, mostly in small clusters in the cracks between the rocks and in the moss. We assumed that this was a breeding area. Any entomologists out there who can help us with this one?

The trip down was much easier and quicker (especially for Wade). Wade skied a couple of thousand vertical on the way down. There were few outcropping of rock but the coverage was very good. From our observation of the tree wells it appeared that there is still a few feet of snow on the upper parts of Currie Powder. Wade commented that the snow was sticking to the base of his skis and that he was fighting for control but from my perspective it looked like some fine Spring skiing. For my part, I jogged and boot-skied my way down, smiling all the way. Damn fine start to the hiking season!

Stats and Bernie's rating: Polar Peak

Vertical climb: 3500 ft.
Length: Approx. 5 hours
Trailhead: FAR ticket office
Destination: Summit of Polar Peak (The left peak looking up the ski hill into Lizard Bowl)
Type of Trail: A mix of summer road, single track, and shale sramble.
Trail markings/route finding: You can find your way, but it would be nice to go with someone who knows the trail.
Difficulty: A steady climb, generally good footing, a short 4-point scramble up a shale slope.
Exposure(i.e. If I fall, I wil die?): None, on the main route.
Views: Fabulous

Bernie -

Shorts, T-shirt and Tele-gear

Lilies blooming on Gilmar Trail

Looking down mid Currie Powder

Ain't we got style?

Fernie, centre - Resort, bottom right

The top of Currie Bowl

Clusters of Ladybugs (look like red-brown berries)

The back side of the Lizard Bowl

Heading back down.