Swift Creek Cabins

Near Valemount British Columbia, February 25 - March 1 2018

Main TSC page

Pictures and reports from other ski trips


map showing general location and routes for five days of touring

General location

Swift Creek Cabins (http://www.davehenry.com/?page_id=22) are two backcountry cabins (plus sauna) about 10 miles north-east of Valemount BC. Six of us were up there for five days of skiing. The cabins are at about 6350ft, accessible only by helicopter, in the trees below some wonderful alpine terrain.

We had five days of most excellent skiing. There was a foot or two of fresh powder when we got there and it snowed every day - not much but enough to make a nice new cover of snow. We had decent visibility and no wind to speak of - we could find almost no new slab even with all the fresh snow.


The cook-cabin with skis


Some Highlights

ElfBasin  DiggingSnowPit  SkinningUp  ElfBasin 

Maps of each day's tour

Day 1   Day 2  Day 3  Day 5  Day 6

25 Feb - Heli In and Half-Day Ski

Heli  InTheCabin  SkinsOn  SkinningUp 

26 Feb - Elf Basin

Skinning  Skinning  Transition  View 
Sue  Lino  Robin  ExitingElf 

27 Feb - Acceptable / Unacceptable

Skinning  Skinning  Transition  View 

28 Feb - Emerald Ridge

Skinning  Skinning  ElfBasin  ElfBasin 
Skinning  Skinning  Transition  Lino 
Sue  Lino  Robin 

1 Mar - Elf Basin

Transition  Ski  Transition  View 
Tom carried the JH memorial beer
Amy&Rodney  Tracks  Beer  Beer 

The cabins and on the way out

Robin&Lino  Lino&Tom  Sue  Amy&Rodney  
Breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fried bread
Breakfast  Breakfast  Cabin  Cabin  
Heli  Heli  Amy&Rodney  Tom 

Logs and Descriptions

    SUUNTO       GPS      
    Up Dn Laps Time Up Dn Distance  
25 Feb Heli in, half-day ski 1,230 1,270 2 2:13 -- 1,773 1.9 Heli in, two trips leaving Valemount about 8am. We settled in, had lunch, and then Tom, Sue, Robin, Lino went for a half-day ski behind the cabins towards Social Studies, and the ridge to the NE of the cabins (the GPS mis-tracked and didn't pick up the start of the hike). Rodney was sick and so Amy and Rodney stayed in the cabin. Dinner: Fajitas by Sue.
26 Feb Elf Basin 3,220 3,220 4 6:31 4,662 4,641 5.1 Started about 9:30, up towards Social Studies, over the NE ridge and into Elf Basin. Dropping into the basin was a relatively steep line but we stayed on the ridge. We did a lap on Yum Yum (NW from the meadow) and then tried a lap up the slope NE from the meadow. That got too steep at the top but the run down was fun. We came up out of Elf Basin and dropped in from the NE ride above Social Studies. Sue lost a pole at the top and we spent some time digging, with Robin, Lino, Rodeny getting cold at the bottom. Dinner: Turkey bolognese by Lino.
27 Feb Acceptable / Unacceptable 3,150 3,200 3 5:52 3,677 3,797 5.4 We thought we would start on easier terrain in the trees, heading over towards "Acceptable". We took the higher route under the cliffs which was a little dicey. And then we thought (from the map) that there was some relatively low-angle trees to the west. Wrong - very steep. So we hiked back out the 100 or 200 ft we had dropped and headed down the lower-angle trees to the north. Sue and I found a set of pillowed boulders, but fortunately nobody went head-first over those. We then took two laps up the ridge trending SE, and finally back down "Acceptable" and back to the cabin by the stream route. Dinner: Vietnamese turkey by Rodney & Amy.
28 Feb Emerald Ridge 4,100 4,090 5 7:32 4,207 4,373 8.2 Again up the Social Studies ridge skin track, this time over the top of Elf Basin and over the NE saddle to access Emerald Ridge. The day started partly-sunny but by noon it had clouded over and started snowing lightly. Visibility was a little restricted at some points but never very bad. This is a big high alpine bowl. The first skin we went to the top of the ridge but it was wind-blown. We took three laps down the small gullys that come down from the ridge. For the exit we dropped down into Elf basin from the saddle (after Sue's face-plant) and slabbed around the foot of the Social Studies ridge. Dinner: Tastee-bites with chicken.
1 Mar Elf Basin 4,300 4,310 5 6:33 -- 4,474 7.0 Again up the Social Studies Ridge and over into Elf Basin. We played around there all day, with the best runs of the trip down Acapela. At then end of the day Robin, Rodney, Tom, Sue, Amy took one last run on Yum Yum and then headed back to the cabins around the toe of the ridge. (This time we managed not to get so high above the cabins). Tom carried the JH memorial beer for the last run. Dinner: JH's Thai curry recipe, which Tom enjoyed immensely.