For Spring 2023, as part of our 10 Tallest Project, we’re headed to the Fairweather area and BC’s highest point!
Tucked away in the NW corner of BC, in the beautiful St. Elias Range, hides Mt. Fairweather, the highest peak in BC. At 15,300′, Fairweather is located a mere 20kms from the Gulf of Alaska and the waters of the Pacific Ocean. This gives the peak one of the most shear vertical rises of any mountain and places it as #26 of the most prominent peaks on earth!
The summit itself lies on the border between BC and Alaska on a cirque that’s also home to the 2nd (Mt. Quincy Adams) and 5th (Mt. Root) highest peaks in Canada! Given their locations around the Grand Plateau Glacier and our basecamp, we will be in striking distance of them all!
The name “Mt. Fairweather” is a bit misleading as it’s one of the snowiest places in Canada. Located right on the Pacific Ocean, Fairweather along with many other peaks of the St. Elias Range, take the brunt of any incoming storms. This can make these peaks challenging to summit but also makes the views of endless peaks, glaciers and ocean water that much more rewarding.
What is the 10 Tallest Project? Well it refers to BC’s peaks and is exactly what it sounds like: Climb the 10 highest peaks in BC. Some are easy to reach and not overly technical while others are quite involved and seldom climbed. But each and every peak is worthy! The plan is to offer trips on a few of these amazing peaks every year until we’ve done them all! For more information on the 10 Tallest Project can be found here.
This moderately technical ski mountaineering route climbs up from the Grand Plateau basecamp to gain the West Ridge at about 4000m. The ridge is then followed up steep snow and ice to the summit.
Mt. Quincy Adams (West Ridge):
The least technical of the three peaks, the west ridge of Quincy Adams can typically be ascended on skis.
Mt. Root (South Face):
Just to the north of the Grand Plateau basecamp, the South Face of Mt. Root. In the right snow conditions we can almost skin right to the summit! But it it’s a bit crunchy the peak would involve a long boot pack followed by a ski back down. The last little slope to the summit is a bit steeper and more technical.
The weather and conditions will have a direct effect on our exact itinerary. Having a little flexibility in your schedule will help.
– Day 0: Meet in Haines Alaska to review gear & prepare for the flight in
– Day 1: Fly into the Grand Plateau Glacier & establish basecamp
– Day 2: Acclimatization day skiing some of the slopes around basecamp
– Day 3 & 4: Climb Mount Fairweather
– Day 5: Rest Day
– Day 6: Climb Mt. Root or Quincy Adams
– Day 7, 8 & 9: Weather days (or another Summit?)
– Day 10: Fly back to Haines
The Fairweather range is a great introduction to Alaska or Yukon style high elevation mountaineering. Strong ski mountaineering skills are needed as is some prior overnight winter camping experience. If you haven’t done a trip with us before I would suggest we tackle a less committing peak first. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your background and goals. If you’re on the 10 Tallest program don’t worry about it, we will get your skills to where they need to be on a few other peaks first.
A full-time Mountaineering, Climbing & Skiing Guide, Monte calls Squamish, BC home. After graduating university with an engineering degree, he found he wasn’t satisfied only chasing his passion for the mountains on weekends and evenings. This led him away from working behind a desk into a life of guiding, climbing and skiing. In the summer he can be found guiding anything from remote mountain peaks to warm sun kissed rock across BC and Alberta. In the winter Monte splits his time between heli-skiing in Bella Coola and ski touring in Japan, the Coast Range and any other cool places he can find some powder.
We will be accessing this remote area ski place from Haines Alaska. Of course there are a few ways to get up there but I would recommend flying, at least for the way up. A cruise back down the coast would be an amazing way to wrap up the trip though!
Driving from Vancouver (or anywhere in southern BC for that matter): Hop on the Alaska Highway or the Dempster Highway and drive north for a long, long, loooong time. When you hit Whitehorse, you can either head south through Carcross to Skagway, a short ferry ride from Haines. Or, head west out of Whitehorse to Haines Junction and then down to Haines. Here’s a link to Google maps with directions from Vancouver for reference.
Flying from Vancouver: Catch a flight from Vancouver to Juneau AK followed by a local flight or ferry up to Haines.
Boat: There are a number of cruise lines that offer trips up and down the coast from Alaska to Vancouver or Seattle. They don’t work well for the schedule on the way up but they do for the way back down.
Regardless of your choice we can help you organize your trip up to Haines!
- Pre-trip planning & support
- ACMG/IFMGA Certified Guide
- Ski Plane Transportation (in & out)
- Food while in the field
- Group safety equipment
- Group camping equipment (stoves, base-camp tent, etc.)
- Black Sheep Adventure Sports hat
- Transportation to/from Haines AK
- Food & Accommodation in Haines AK
- Trip cancellation, travel & medical insurance
- Personal equipment (sleeping bag, skis, etc.)
Q: How experienced / strong do I need to be?
A: This trip will involve some advanced ski mountaineering skills, travel on broken glaciers and some steep snow & ice climbing. Previous experience on steep snow & ice and winter camping is required. You will also be carrying big overnight packs and so a high level fitness is needed. High altitude mountaineering is an asset but not needed. We will work with each participant to ensure that they have the skills needed for a successful trip.
Q: How dangerous is it?
A: While there are always risks in the mountains, you will be with a fully certified IFMGA/ACMG Mountain Guide. This means that your guide has reached the highest level of certification possible anywhere in the world and will bring the you the highest safety standards in the industry. And while mountaineering remains hazardous we will work to maximize your experience and greatly minimize the risks involved.
Q: Can I rent some of the required equipment?
A: BlackSheep has a massive arsenal of mountaineering equipment that we can supply to help outfit you for this expedition. If there’s something that we don’t have we will work with you to ensure you get the best gear at the best price.
Q: Can I sign up as a single person or do I need to organize a group?
A: While you can organize a group for a private trip our clients generally sign up as individuals and we put a group together.