A well planned kayaking/skiing/hiking trip in
Mount Waddington region makes for an epic and
fulfilling journey for Maximilian Kniewasser, Jules Domine and Chris Tretwold.
It was a long-held dream for Maximilian Kniewasser to do an all in one paddling and ski-touring adventure. The paddling portion of the trip was done on the
which he has paddled before. His plan was to paddle down the Homathko for 2
days arriving at the trifluence of the Homathko, Mosely and Tiedemann Creek.
Once arrived, they would ditch their boats and hike up to the toe of the
Tiedemann Glacier to pick up their air delivered ski gear. From there, they
would head to the base of Homathko River Mount Waddington, which is the highest peak entirely within BC at 4,019 metres, where they would hike to
the top of the mountain to eventually ski back down to their kayaks for another
two days on the water. Although this seems like a perfect plan, the boating and
skiing seasons generally do not overlap. They would have to find a window in
the spring when the snow hasn’t quite melted so that it wouldn’t flood the
tight canyons of the Homathko. Unlikely that the weather would be perfect, the
suited up anyways. They reached their first problem on the second day paddling where
they came across an avalanche blocking the way of the stream. There was no way
of portaging across. Jules, however, paddled towards it and went right into the
snow tunnel that the water had formed to pass through. It was a good risk to
take given that they made it through the obstacle. All went well for the next
three days as they hiked to the base of Mount Waddington.
Their hike up the mountain had to be delayed, though, because of a full-blown
storm that kept the three of them in their two-person tent for two days. After the weather cleared they tackled Mount Waddington as fast as they could. They
had almost forgotten the dangers of climbing icy mountains. In one of the
technical sections of the mountain, Max had fell through the ice and tumbled
into a deep crevice where he could see no bottom to. Attached to the other
boys, he used his ice axe and crampons to get back up. This set a more serious tone for the rest of the climbing portion because they didn't want any more accidents like that to happen. It took them 14 hours to
reach the top of the mountain. From there, they skied down. The first 1,200
metres was amazing powdered snow, and then the next 1,000 metres was all ice. They
made it back to camp just before dark. The next day they skied back to their
kayaks to paddle the rest of the river. They encountered a massive dam from a
landslide down the river, making the waters behind it threatening. They were
too tired to portage the rest of the way so they went ahead and paddled it. It
was physically demanding, but they made it! They paddled the Homathko to where
it meets up with the Pacific Ocean. A float
plane picked them up and flew them back to their starting point. A truly
remarkable 17 day journey.
I have never heard of trip like this before. Especially one including two of my favourite outdoor activities: kayaking and snowboarding! This trip took some extra attention in planning. They did a good job in finding a good time in the year to do it. They remembered to take in account extra food, too, because they needed it when that storm came! I say this because I really appreciate when people have good planning skills because it is very, very important. Now that I have read about a trip that includes activities that I very much enjoy, I really want to do a trip like that one day. Maybe make it shorter than 17 days, though.
Mount Waddington Highs and Lows. Explore, (fall 2013) pg 16