Sometimes, in life, you just need to jump in a heli and fly to a tranquil lake, rope up and hike on a glacier, sit in a canoe and enjoy the ride while your partner does 68% of the work, take arbitrary selfies while sun-tanning, capture the sunset with a loved one, indulge in (impressive) pancake breakfasts and steak dinners, and jump back in a heli and fly out.
This is a very special place. Though very close to home, its location and inaccessibility amplifies its beauty and seclusion.
During the August long weekend, I had my first mountaineering experience.. and it was a little startling! Well on to the glacier and more than half way up to the col between Omega and Iota, I entered a mild stage of panic. Once I came to terms with the fact that I wont randomly slip and fall off the mountain and I have a very competent partner just in case I do, it was a breeze :).
Ride to the lake:
First views of the lake:
Exploring near the cabin:
After claiming our sleep spaces and getting organized, we hit the lake for a swim:
Taking it all in:
It was getting close to dinner time so we made our way back to the cabin. Ryan told me I’d be impressed with the daily menu.. was I ever!! Each morning we woke up to a pancake breakfast, complete with toast, bacon and sausages. For lunch we had sandwiches and granola bars. For dinner we indulged in various salads, pastas, and a steak dinner. Needless to say, my ‘camping’ expectations have gone through the roof.
After dinner, we explored a bit more around the cabin and found a bluffy view point. Some views:
After dinner, we headed down to the dock to catch the sunset. The colours were outstanding:
Now for the good stuff. Our plan for today was to summit Iota.
With a fairly early start, we were quickly en route.
View of the lake from the sandspit:
View of the creek crossing:
Looking back at Niobe Meadows:
Sidenote, North Shore Rescue was here on a mountaineering workshop for the weekend. It was pretty cool to see some of the things they were practicing.
Ryan, patiently waiting:
Markus in the background:
At this point, we took a bit of a break to get ready for the glacier. A pair of hikers were planning to cross ahead of us. We hung around before dropping down to the glacier.
Ryan on the pinnacle:
Mike and Markus dropping down to the glacier:
Mike and Markus on the glacier:
Our turn! I was eager to get going. We headed over to the glacier and roped up on some nearby rocks. Ryan gave me a quick 101 on how to use an ice axe and explained what we were going to do.
Ryan on the glacier:
NSR making their way up too:
As we ascended, I spent some time looking ahead and reflecting; I’m acquiring exciting new skills in a such beautiful place. How cool is this?!
To be honest, the ascent was a bit of a struggle for me because I have zero confidence when it comes to ascending/descending on steep snow. I decided to stop for a minute to take a picture of the view behind me. Unfortunately, looking down and looking over at the steepness of the slope sent me into a bit of a panic. Thoughts of losing my footing and falling into rocks crossed my mind.
The view looking back:
We pulled over on to some rocks and took a breather. Ryan assured me that I’m completely fine, I wont slip off the mountain, and that I’m doing great so far.
Views from our break spot. Iota, Pelops, and Niobe:
We continued on and shortly after, we reached the Iota-Omega col. On our way up, I realized there was no way I’d reach Iota today. I didn’t have the confidence and I was already pushing well past my comfort zone.
We took an extended break at the col. The views were amazing! Though we didn’t summit Iota, I was happy with what I had accomplished – after much reassurance from Ryan.
Views from the col:
Ryan and I:
A last look back at the col:
I have some unfinished business that will bring us back here next Summer, once I gain more experience and confidence. All in all, it was a solid day :).
Despite the bugs, it was a nice night to take some long exposure shots.
The Milky Way:
Today we planned to spend most of our day out on the water. At a very leisurely pace, we paddled out to the north end of the lake and skirted back around.
Back at the cabin, time to cool off:
We headed back home today.
I had an amazing weekend and despite not summiting, I’m motivated to push myself, brush up on existing skills, and learn new ones.
The ride home:
More of Ryan’s perspectives: http://realaworld.zenfolio.com/p27336816
A quick blood sugar rundown for the weekend: It was a little tough to manage given the heat and exposure to sun. My levels spiked a few times and I found I was dehydrated by the time we reached the cabin post mountaineering. It was nothing a little bit insulin and water didn’t fix!
Hope everyone had a good weekend :).
Beautiful pictures! Looks like you hit it the right time of year for all the flowers to be out. Do you remember how much the helicopter ride in cost?
Thank you! To be honest, the trip was a gift and I’m still not sure of the cost. Best bet is to check with Blackcomb Aviation for prices. Hope this helps! 🙂
Information about the hut, and flight options into it, can be found here: