Fairy Meadows
Ski Mountaineering Trip

April 9 - 15, 2005

Area Notes

Local Names - Some peaks are named for based on quotations from Celtic or Norse literature, myth, legend, fiction and history. A good partial reference is "The Encyclopaedia of the Celts". For instance, the keyword index for G contains "Gog Magog Gogmagog". Unfortunately the index ends with G at this time. Thanks to Steve Oder for finding this reference.

Here are some notes from the Climbers Guide for the Columbia Mountains - Central. This is a climbing guide and not a skiing guide, and most climbing is in summer on the granitic rock routes which abound. Some of the alpine travel routes are used in winter however, and are outlined here. Times are presumably for travel on foot in the summer. (And tend, in this book, to be optimistic for many people.)

The three groups of peaks around the hut are the Nobility, the Adamant, and the Gothics.

Map errors noted:

Friendship col is misplaced on the Mount Sir Sandford sheet and should be between the famous friends, Damon and Pythias. Ironman is also misplaced and should be west of Austerity. The Gargoyle is misplaced and should be the next peak southeast of the East Peak of the Gothics. Fairy Meadow is misplaced on the Sullivan River sheet; it lies in the highest forested zone south of Granite Glacier.

The Nobility Group

These are to the North of the hut. Bounded by Windy Creek on the NW, Granite Glacier and Swan Creek on the SE, and Kinbasket Lake to the NE. Most of the Nobility peaks are not labeled on the maps. They include Mount Ed Falls, Mount Sir William, Enterprise, and Colossal.

The Adamant Group

"The mini-Chamonix of the Columbias." The imposing Adamant-Austerity massif is the largest uplift in the Northern Selkirks.

Important climbing access routes lead from Fairy Meadow to the Upper Granite Glacier and to the Upper Austerity Glacier. From Fairy Meadow, take the trail that goes past the waterfall, go along a hillside, and then follow the south moraine of Granite Glacier toward the north ridge of Sentinel Peak. Sentinel is the peak in the Gothics Group, south of Fairy Meadow, with an obvious and impressive north (actually north-northwest) ridge. Cross Granite Glacier to the southwest, staying south of the seracs. Many climbing routes depart from this great, upper basin of Granite Glacier. To continue across the range to the upper Austerity Glacier and the big walls of the Austerity Cirque, ascend the glacier slopes, weaving through crevasses, up toward the Ironman-Unicorn ridge. Gain the ridge north of Ironman and descend ledges (Class 3-4; with rubble and some early season snow and ice; not altogether simple) to the upper tongue of Austerity Glacier, north of the southwest ridge of Ironman (CAJ 57:77).

The Gothics Group

Surrounding the extensive basin of Gothics Glacier and the glaciers to the east rise the peaks and pinnacles of the Gothics. The Gothics are technically a large eastern and northeastern wing of the Adamant Range. "The change of scale shifts the mood from Wagner to Vivaldi."

Alpine Routes

Two alpine access routes from Fairy Meadow are important. The first is the route to Friendship Col (2720m) from Fairy Meadow. Directly south of the Fairy Meadow Hut, climb up the trail on the moraine. Ascend along the stream and cascades on an old moraine to near the lower edge of Shoestring Glacier. Cross to rock and a moraine ridge on the east side of the glacier, keeping north of the prominent buttress. Ascend the moraine to rock and snow east of this buttress on the west edge of Echo Glacier. Ascend the glacier, east of Gog and Magog, to Friendship Col, the Damon-Pythias col. The bergschrund below the col is usually passed most safely and easily nearer Pythias (the east side). It is approximately 2 hours from Fairy Meadow Hut to Friendship Col. This is a reasonable time on skis as well, perhaps a little bit generous. This route is often skied nearly every day all season so a track is usually either clear or else can be discerned under fresh snow.

Another important route is that to Pioneer Pass (2910). From the hut, go past the waterfall, along the trail on the hillside, and up the south moraine of Granite Glacier and easy rocks to the lower end of the north ridge of Sentinel Peak. Routes to the main Adamant peaks here lead off southwest. For Pioneer Pass, take to the snow along the east edge of Granite Glacier, going up to the bergschrund at the base of the base. Cross the bergschrund (the west side is usually best) and then work diagonally back toward Sentinel and up to the top of the pass. This is a more strenuous approach than that to Friendship Col; allow approximately 2.5 hours from Fairy Meadow Hut to Pioneer Pass. This looks pretty steep from below but one group which shared the hut one year did ascend it with a group of mixed abilities. It has also been skied (as a descent).

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