Last week was spent getting amongst it in the Jumbo Valley, truly one of the most wild and massive landscapes I’ve had the pleasure of splitboarding in. My seventh trip into Jumbo, I think it just gets better every time, especially with such good food and company it was totally next-level.
Lucie skinning up to the cabin with the last sunlight we saw on the trip.
Our large group of eleven skiers and one splitboarder (myself) headed out Monday morning with the help of two snowmobiles, Jamie and Kevin charitably offered to haul our massive posse to the end of the unplowed Jumbo FSR to begin the climb up to the cabin where we arrived at last light.
We had a lot of trail-breaking to do with all the new snow.
Day two was spent exploring the runs on the west side of the pass dropping 800m down to Glacier Creek, we found some epic tree skiing with classic Jumbo pow and lapped it several times. Setting the up-track back up to the pass was a good amount of labour in the deep snow but with eleven people we took turns and put in a nice trail back up to the goods.
Jamie crushing some Jumbo pow.
Day three we woke up to an incredible sunrise and some decent visibility, so we briskly set off with an early start with an intention to get up on the Horseshoe Glacier and summit Truce Mountain (3262m)
Sunrise over the Purcells
We skied down to the Glacier Creek FSR, then up to the headwaters of Glacier Creek, a valley surrounded by 3000 meter peaks, moraines, glaciers and seracs, it’s a place that makes you feel very tiny, the scale of terrain is huge.
We cautiously began skinning up a large avalanche path under Toad Mountain, continually assessing the changing snow conditions as we headed up higher, through endless pillows in the slide path up onto the toe of the glacier.
Forecaster Dan assesses the snowpack.
The group roped up and headed onto the glacier, where we topped out at the just above 2500m, forced to turn around due to whiteout conditions higher on the glacier.
We did have the opportunity to ski a really nice 800m heli-ski run back down to Glacier Creek, a nice cruisey glacier line dropping into a mega pillow zone. Definitely the highlight of the trip was getting up on the glacier after years of looking at it from across the valley, I can’t wait to get up on those big 3200+ meter summits when conditions permit.
The upper half of our run.
The snow didn’t really suck at all during the trip, pretty much pow all the way to valley bottom the whole trip, and it snowed on and off, with a large pulse of snow over Thursday we headed out with over half a meter of fresh on the ground.
Good ski conditions.
The snow stability certainly had some issues, most notably the early Jan. layer down 60-80 producing some sudden collapses and sudden planar results in out pits. We did push into some bigger terrain but did so with a lot of caution, staying clear of windslabs and riding supported terrain. We did have one small skier accidental avalanche when one member of the group misunderstood the line the group chose and skied over a convexity, triggering a small soft-slab and giving us all a good boost of adrenaline, a good reminder to be super clear on communication in the backcountry.
The pillow stack was covered in pow and ultra-huckable…I had to send it!
Day four we shredded around the pass, digging in the snow and finding safe but fun slopes to ride. The trees on the SE side of the pass have some really nice steep lines and good pillows, so we lapped it a few times after deciding the snow in the East Bowl was too unstable. We ended the day with some of the mini-golf features in the middle of the pass, some steep and deep little chutes with little drops, a fun end to our last full day of riding at Jumbo…although we did do a night lap during the intense storm conditions Thursday night lit by headlamp.
More Jumbo beauty
Day five we rode out to the sleds and then towed back out to staging. The jerky ride behind the snowmobile still has my arms aching as I write this, and I’m still buzzing from all the fun we had out there. Jumbo delivers, in terms of snow and natural epic beauty, I don’t yet know of a place that compares.
Bound to give you a zoner.
Thanks for reading, Keep it Wild,