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Forbes NW Face ski

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  • Forbes NW Face ski

    Ken Glover, James Young, Sunny Twelker and I skied Mt. Forbes NW Face May 29.

    We approached via Bush River/Valenciennes Road May 27-28. We were hoping to get to the hut May 27, but Valenciennes Road was blocked by avalanche debris (now removed). We rode bikes from km 2.5 to the end of the road at Icefall Brook at km23.5 and camped at the river (GR946456). The old washout at km 11.5 on the decommissioned road is much worse than 2018 and is now impassable by truck. Parking here would leave about a 12km bike ride. We saw many black bears on the ride - make sure you are loud, have bear spray and camp smart. If the main Valenciennes is open (it currently is), it would be reasonable to do the drive (from Canmore), bike 12km and hike/ski to the hut in one day.

    May 28 morning we approached via the ledges as described in my prior post ( up to Mons hut (5:45h). The ledges are mostly clear now with only a few small sections of snow passable in runners. From the top of the ledges we were able to skin to the hut. The approach gully for the Mons hut is the obvious low point in the ridge (start at approx GR960486). Note the coordinates for the hut in Corbett 2nd ed are not quite correct. The hut is at GR970481. It is tucked behind a small hill of moraine so you cannot see it on approach.

    May 29 we approached via the Mons/West Forbes glacier. Rather than the Rositta col, we took an alternate col (GR032449) NE of Cambrai (note Cambrai is mislabeled on the NRCan ed3 map - Cambrai is at GR028445). From the col we dropped ~150m down to the South Forbes glacier. The descent was was steep and exposed side hilling on sun baked unconsolidated snow that was deteriorating by 8am. From South glacier we climbed up to a second col on Forbes West Ridge (GR038456), then down to the base of Forbes NW face. Not recommended.

    From the base of the NW face we were able to skin all the up to the upper rock band. From there we boot packed to the summit. Calm, clear, warm summit. James and Ken skied the NW Face proper, onsighting the descent through the rock bands was the crux. Sunny and I skied the NW shoulder to join the NW Face below the rock band. Great conditions with powder turns on the face. We regained the West glacier via the Rositta couloir (GR033458), this is the preferred way. The glacier was quite isothermal by afternoon and the last 2km to the hut were painful slogging in mush despite wearing skis. 14.5 hours return.

    May 30 we descended from the hut and rode back to the truck. The avalanche debris that had forced us to ride is now cleared. Luckily the older operator who dug out the debris is obviously a stellar human being, as they salvaged the beer we had stashed in the snow!

    This is the second time we have approached up the Icefall Brook valley and used the huts up there. It is a beautiful valley with very comfortable huts! Highly recommended for Forbes and Lyells. Contact Icefall Lodge to book.

    Washout any km 11.5. Ride bikes from here

    Approach ledges. See prior Lyell post for description.

    NW Face Forbes

    NW Face Forbes. Alternate approach right (not recommended), Rositta Couloir left tracks.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by bryce; 7-Jun-2020, 03:58 pm.