Craig's Report - August 28, 2007

Cups and Cliffs

It was a big day for Fernie hockey fans, as the Stanley Cup got a ride up the Timber Chair to the Lost Boy's Cafe with Scott Niedermayer, a NHL star from Cranbrook. Alas I am not a fan, but some friends and I did make use of the complimentary rides that FAR offered on the chair to give us a nice high starting point for a walk along the ridge between Polar Peak and Lost Boy's Pass. I have always balked at taking this hike in the past, due to its cliffy appearance and my less than overwhelming fondness for being perched on the edge of the abyss. However after repeatedly hearing that it wasn't bad at all and with the urging of my neighbor who had finally given in to similar misgivings, I decided to give it a try.

The walk was spectacular and the weather just about perfect. While there are some steep ascents and descents and a precipice is never far away, nothing was overly intimidating except for a short climb up the face of Elephant Head (above the White Pass chair). Completing this section only took a couple of minutes, but the first part of it is roughly equivalent in steepness to climbing a ladder. The hand and foot holds are excellent and there is a cable that provides at least the illusion of security, but in reality any fall here would be disasterous. Not really my cup of tea, but when done cautiously in good weather, not too bad, at least going in the uphill direction, and well worth it for the views in all directions.

A number of things seem to be happening on the hill and I wouldn't be surprised to see even more once the summer biking season ends next weekend. A major project is taking place down at the river, which is purported to be for the installation of snow making up Gilmar's Trail in Currie Bowl. I have no idea if this is intended for this season, but it does seem unlikely that such a major investment would be allowed to just sit for a season.

There also has been a bunch of work around the ski patrol trail that links lower Currie Bowl with Stag Leap just above the Deer Chair, with lots of trees coming down and a bunch of slope work by a D8 Cat in that area where Stag Leap meets Silver Fox. Other terrain modification has included blasting and sculpting the trail across Lizard Bowl just beyond the bottom of the Face Lift and yesterday I encountered the D8 gnawing at Diamond Back below Trespass Trail. Looks like it might be an interesting fall.

At 19:20 it is now partially cloudy and 18 C at the house.

The Elk Valley from the summit of Polar Peak. The town of Fernie is in the center of the image, while the tops of the Boomerang and Bear chairs are the lower left.

Lake Koocanusa is visible in the distance when looking Westward from Polar Peak.

When viewed from above, the ridge looks suitably fat and friendly, but not so much the climb up Elephant Head in the middle.

Looking back at some of the descents along the ridge made you wonder, but in fact they were not particularly difficult.

My neighbor, Isabel, just before the cable climb.

Looking down at the top of White Pass from Elephant Head.

And looking back along the ridge, with Polar Peak at the right.

A couple of those dots on the trail up Polar Peak are Isabel's young grand children. From a distance it appears that trail traverses a cliff, but it is in fact quite benign.

Jan and Helmut on the sometimes slightly tricky descent to Lost Boy's Pass.

A picture from a week and a half ago when they started using enormous sand bags to construct some sort of coffer dam for the work at the river.

Flying high in last Saturday's Full Throttle slope side qualifing round.

Looks like new signs are coming to the top of Timber.

While the new washrooms proceed as well.