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Continued from Part 5: Klinaklini Glaciers and A Feast. By now we had caught up to where we wanted to be along our route and with the sun continuing to shine strong it was time for summits! The morning after our food drop we set off to climb Silverthrone's North-East ridge. Skinning to just below the summit and a final boot-pack brought us to the highest point on the Ha-Iltzuk Icefield! Surrounded by outstanding glaciers, remote peaks and unending wilderness made for a truly amazing summit experience. Silverthrone also happens to be a very remote summit and it was great to stand on top after reaching it on foot.

Matwyuk on the summit ridge of Silverthrone.
Matwyuk on the summit ridge of Silverthrone.
Nic Gobin skiing down from Silverthrone, our distant route in the background.
Nic Gobin skiing down from Silverthrone, our distant route in the background.
Artem Telemarking down from Silverthrone, Waddington in the background.
Artem Telemarking down from Silverthrone, Waddington in the background.
Skiing down from Silverthone. Mount Fitzgerald in the background.
Skiing down from Silverthone. Mount Fitzgerald in the background.

A great ski down brought us back to camp where the group went on to climb Mount Fitzgerald as well. It was a great day in the sun.

One of our beautiful sunsets.
One of our beautiful sunsets.

The next morning it was time to move on. Day 17 and we descended down onto the Silverthrone Glacier, pulling our sleds with renewed weight along the long flat glacier surface. We had our eyes on Somolenko and soon donned our daypacks to make a side trip to climb the peak.

Nick with the Michal Jackson wig and Silverthrone in the background.
Nick with the Michal Jackson wig and Silverthrone in the background.
The group ascending the summit ridge of Somolenko.
The group ascending the summit ridge of Somolenko.
Tim descending from Somolenko.
Tim descending from Somolenko.

Finally we camped below Fang Peak where the group went to summit and ski the peak. Still feeling under the weather, I stayed behind to set up camp and melt water for the next day. Sitting alone at camp is an experience on it's own. A deep quiet set in. No planes overhead, no wind, no people, no cars, nothing but ice, rock, sky and silence.

Our standard cooking set up.
Our standard cooking set up.

Unfortunately, while skiing down Fang Peak. Nick Matwyuk hit a deep water runnel and twisted his ankle in the fall. The injury would turn out to be a high ankle sprain and would bother him for the final leg of the trip.

The next morning we continued south to close the distance between ourselves and our finish line towards Knight Inlet.

Crossing the Silverthrone Glacier.
Crossing the Silverthrone Glacier.

Of course, the nice weather couldn't last forever, especially in an area like the Ha-Iltzuk Icefield. We had a forecast warning us of incoming weather so we set up camp and built walls in preparation. With time left to spare in the day, we went on to check one of our route options. The route could be tricky in whiteout so knowledge of it would be quite useful. The excursion also brought us great views of the Satsalla Valley. The Satsalla is an incredibly impressive deep granitic canyon with waterfalls and glaciers pouring in from all sides. It's a dramatic and powerful place to look upon.

The Satsalla Valley
The Satsalla Valley
Tim, Gobin and Artem looking out upon the Satsalla Valley.
Tim, Gobin and Artem looking out upon the Satsalla Valley.
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After arriving back at camp we supped and enjoyed the remaining sun.

Camp before setting up the snow walls.
Camp before setting up the snow walls.

The weather came in the night and lasted for two days. At our low elevation of 1750m things were wet. Sleet, rain and wet snow ensued and any step outside was a challenge. Although well trained with tentbound days, the wetness was a new difficulty. The wet was difficult to cope with as you got drenched standing on a glacier trying to prepare meals.

Snacking on chocolate bars which had melted in the heat.
Snacking on chocolate bars which had melted in the heat.
Tim and Nic reading on our tent bound days.
Tim and Nic reading on our tent bound days.

After two days in the tents, the clouds opened again. Day 21. It was time to shake things off and move.

The tents crusted with frozen rain and snow.
The tents crusted with frozen rain and snow.
The remains of our once tall and mighty snow walls after all the rain.
The remains of our once tall and mighty snow walls after all the rain.
Pack and sled bag in the morning light.
Pack and sled bag in the morning light.

With the nice weather regained, the next leg of the trip would bring us back to lush greenery.

 

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