Adventure

A Week at B.C.'s Fairy Meadows

A week at B.C.’s legendary Fairy Meadows involving a world-class ski mountaineer, a talented mountain guide, a first descent attempt, and… a regular schmuck who sits behind a desk. Me.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.


Hi, I'm Jake. I'm the editor of Skiing magazine. And this was my trip to ski a first descent deep in Selkirks mountains of British Columbia. It…

Hi, I’m Jake. I’m the editor of Skiing magazine. And this was my trip to ski a first descent deep in Selkirks mountains of British Columbia. It started with a short heli flight in.

The plan was to put a first descent on the backside of this monster, Mt. Sir Sandford. It’s named after Sandford Fleming, the guy who invented time…

The plan was to put a first descent on the backside of this monster, Mt. Sir Sandford. It’s named after Sandford Fleming, the guy who invented time zones. I went with Bluebird Guides and ski mountaineer Chris Davenport.

What's for dinner? Why, it's roasted leather glove. Inside the Great Cairn Hut, our first night in the backcountry.

What’s for dinner? Why, it’s roasted leather glove. Inside the Great Cairn Hut, our first night in the backcountry.

We planned on doing a mini-siege of Mt. Sir Sandford. This broken glacier stood in the way of our camp. Lots of crevasses to fall into but we avoided…

We planned on doing a mini-siege of Mt. Sir Sandford. This broken glacier stood in the way of our camp. Lots of crevasses to fall into but we avoided it. Phew.

Chris Davenport is a fitness freak. Wiry. Heart and lungs. And we had to keep up. No small task.

Chris Davenport is a fitness freak. Wiry. Heart and lungs. And we had to keep up. No small task.

Meet Greg Franson. He's the owner of Bluebird Guides. The first descent was his idea. He was the right guy to lead something like this.

Meet Greg Franson. He’s the owner of Bluebird Guides. The first descent was his idea. He was the right guy to lead something like this.

The base of this rock minaret served two functions: Not only did the base of it serve as an excellent campsite, the giant middle-finger was a portent…

The base of this rock minaret served two functions: Not only did the base of it serve as an excellent campsite, the giant middle-finger was a portent of what was to come.

The minaret also gave us a short, 40-degree pow run in our campsite's backyard.

The minaret also gave us a short, 40-degree pow run in our campsite’s backyard.

Brrr. It was fricken freezing that night. Lucky for Davenport, he shared this microscopic tent with photographer Art Burrows. They're quite attracted…

Brrr. It was fricken freezing that night. Lucky for Davenport, he shared this microscopic tent with photographer Art Burrows. They’re quite attracted to one another.

When we arrived at the backside of the mountain, we saw that it had slid to the ground in spots. Greg didn't think it was a good idea and neither did…

When we arrived at the backside of the mountain, we saw that it had slid to the ground in spots. Greg didn’t think it was a good idea and neither did we. Abort!

With our objective gone, we just went and skied cool stuff. Like this 48-degree fan way above our camp. Dav dropped in first.

With our objective gone, we just went and skied cool stuff. Like this 48-degree fan way above our camp. Dav dropped in first.

We also skied

We also skied “505,” this 50-degree couloir with the giant crevasse at the bottom of the line. Note the bare ice in the middle of it. It’s normally an ice climb but a recent and wet storm stuck about a foot of snow to the verglas. This is not a place to fall. I was so focused during the climb and descent, I couldn’t reach for my camera. And by “focused,” I mean “scared.”

Another look at 505, from behind the wall of crevasses you need to cross just to get to it. Jamie Harris, one of the guys who skied it with me, was a…

Another look at 505, from behind the wall of crevasses you need to cross just to get to it. Jamie Harris, one of the guys who skied it with me, was a badass up there.

What to ski next at Fairy Meadows? Limitless Chamonix-style terrain here. Not a place to go if you're not good with crevasse rescue. Call up Greg at…

What to ski next at Fairy Meadows? Limitless Chamonix-style terrain here. Not a place to go if you’re not good with crevasse rescue. Call up Greg at Bluebird Guides to show you the way. Visit bluebirdguides.com for more info.