Back in February Kye Petersen and I finally got a chance to hook up and do some shredding at Miller beach. I don’t think Kye even skied that day, he just “Noboarded” all the lines we were skiing.

Kye Noboarding “Joe’s Trees” @ Miller

The important thing though, was Waddington came up. It was Kye who said ” I’d be really psyched to do a trip into the Waddington zone”. This wasn’t the first time the “Wadd” had come up between Kye and I. Kye’s dad, Trevor Petersen, was one of the first people to ever ski in the Waddington range, located in the South / central part of B.C.’s Coast range. Mt. Waddington itself, at 4019m, is the highest mountain in British Columbia. After a trip to the range and a descent of Mt. Waddington for the film “Waddington Now” in the late 80’s, Trevor came home raving about this place that was Chamonix in the wilderness. No lifts, no people, just massive mountains with huge granite buttresses, couloirs and super steep faces.

Mt. Waddington

Trevor and I tried for years to make a trip into the range work, and quaffed many a beer discussing the best lines to hit and the best time to get them in shreddable shape. But fate would kick us all in the nuts and the only trip I did into the range with Trevor was with his ashes. In March of 96, shortly after Trevor became another fatality in the mountains of Chamonix, Pete “the swede” Mattson, Jia Condon, Scott Markewitz and myself went into the range with his ashes in our pockets and his spirit in our hearts to help make Trevor a part of this place he loved so much.

Johnny Foon, Jia Condon & Pete Mattson with Trevor Petersen on the Northwest summit of Mt. Waddington. 1996
Photo: Scott Markewitz.

Ever since that trip it has been a dream of mine to return to the range with Kye. I had convinced myself that this would probably remain a dream. At first, I didn’t know if he would follow his dad’s passion for the mountains, and then every time I looked at photos of the massive un-skied lines all I could think about was Tanya ( Trev’s wife and Kye’s mother ).

One of the un-skied walls of the Waddington Range. When these get skied it will be one of the greatest accomplishments in the history Ski Mountaineering.
Photo: Joe Lax

But over time it became more and more obvious that Kye not only had his dads passion but also his talent, and watching the lines he was throwing down in films like ” All I can ” I realized Kye wasn’t going to get into anything more rad with me than he was already doing on his own. So, that day at Miller, when he said he was ready for a trip into the Wadd, I said. “Game on”!

I started the process of planning a trip into the range. But as reports began to trickle out of the area it was apparent that it had been a lean snow year and all the big, steep, north facing walls were blue ice. Mother nature had decided that this wouldn’t be the year for our return to the Wadd zone. Kye and I had recruited Jia Condon and Matty Richard for the trip, and everyone was still psyched to get out on the shred, so we needed an alternative.

Northern Garabaldi Park
The Owls & Mt. Weart

It had also been a fairly lean year in the Southern Coast Range. But several late season storms had made conditions on the big, high, north facing walls excellent right here at home. The Northern portion of Garabaldi Park hosts some of the highest peaks in the Southern Coast Range and an incredible collection of big North facing lines. This area is legendary for Ski Mountaineering but sees fairly low traffic due to it’s proximity within the park. There are three ways in; ski tour in from the Blackcomb ski area through Billy Goat pass, hike in on the Wedge trail, or hire a helicopter to drop you somewhere near the park border and tour or hike in from there. This last alternative made the most sense for us as we would have 5 days worth of gear and crap, and the forest was devoid of snow requiring a long heavy slog in and out of the valley. The next high pressure system hit on April 29th and we were on our way.

Kye touring into Garabaldi Park from Mt. Currie