MacPherson, Mount (Womb Loop)

elevation: 2,427 m.
height gain: 1,775 m.
area: Revelstoke,BC
map 82 L/16

Ref: Beyond Our Peak -Seek the Unknown

the route

The route to the summit and the classic descent called The Womb with a loop variation.
Ski touring: RT 11.0; 8.0 up. Mount MacPherson and I go a long way back. In the 90's, Fabrice and I attempted to drive up some backroads and bushwhack to the top; this led to a lot of swearing and tons of scratches. We came to realize that bushwhacking in Revelstoke is to be avoided at all costs. I returned a few times to ski The Fingers but that never concluded with a summit bid. This winter I set my eyes on returning to reach the summit and ski The Womb. With ideal conditions, I sent invitations to Fabrice, Val, and Stephane; Stephane was the only one able to join.

We left early and made good time to The Fingers. Once beyond the Nordic Trails, Stephane went in the lead. The previous night's snowfall was more significant than anticipated and blazing the trail in boot-top snow was arduous. Ascending The Fingers is not to be taken lightly. The higher you proceed, the chutes narrow and get steeper (45˚); stable avalanche conditions are a must. The leftmost finger is typically used to access the east ridge. After 4.5 hours, we reached the ridge where we stopped to recollect. A group of 3 skiers took advantage of our uptrack meeting with us shortly after our arrival; their leader and I exchanged the task of trail-breaking along the ridge. The remaining plod was pleasantly easy compared to the trudge up The Fingers. At the base of the summit block and the entrance of The Womb, we separated from the other group and carried on to the top. The wind-affected snow granted minimal ski penetration on the steep barren slopes; we gained the summit at 3:30. It was windy and cold, we didn't waste time putting on extra layers. I hastily took pictures hoping my phone wouldn't lose the last of its charge. Following our brief summit stay, we opted to ski down the northern flank then veer towards The Womb. Our route in open forest and shallow gullies, handrailed MacPherson's east face; the sheltered terrain yielded light spring powder. Once into The Womb, we encountered variable snow conditions from nice snow to heavy, crusty snow and old avalanche debris. Despite that and very tired legs, the experience was delightful. The Womb is an amazing run with 1,100 meters of vertical, it's a Revelstoke classic! I'm very happy to have had a great day of ski touring on Mount MacPherson, this outing is incredibly satisfying!

on the nordic ski trails

On the Nordic ski trails, the way to The Fingers is well indicated.

heading to the fingers

Heading to The Fingers after leaving the skid road.

the fingers

The Fingers, the ascent chute leading to the ridge is unseen.

old cut

The ascent goes through an old cut in the forest.

making our way to the chute

We're making our way climber's right of the prominent buttress on the ridge, the ascent chute remains unseen.

arduous trail-breaking

Arduous trail-breaking.

the route reveals itself

The route reveals itself as we progress.

looking back

Looking back.

the grade steepens

The grade steepens.
Picture courtesy of Stephane Gingras.

nearing the ridge crest

Nearing the ridge crest.

very steep

This picture depicts the steepness of the upper chute.

precarious kick turn

Stephane's precarious kick turn.

skiers behind us

From the ridge, looking at a group of skiers using our uptrack.
Picture courtesy of Stephane Gingras.

along the ridge

Their leader and I will exchange trail-breaking along the ridge.

variation access into the womb

We'll access The Womb from MacPherson's northern flank.
Picture courtesy of Stephane Gingras.

slopes to the summit

The open slopes to the summit.
Picture courtesy of Stephane Gingras.

mounts begbie and tilley

Fabulous view of Mounts Begbie (L) and Tilley (R).

going to the summit

We're continuing to the summit while the other skiers are heading down The Womb (bottom right).

nearing the top

Nearing the top.

mount begbie

Mount Begbie and Blanket Glacier in the background.

view north-west

View north-west over Boulder Mountain towards the Cat Group.

town of revelstoke

The town of Revelstoke is clearly visible.

mount english

Mount English dominates the south-western view.

leaving the summit

Leaving the summit.

northern flank

Skiing the northern flank.

looking back

Looking back at the summit.

revelstoke's ski resort

Revelstoke's ski resort (Mount MacKenzie) and Mount Cartier on the right.

veering towards the womb

Veering towards The Womb.

lovely terrain

Lovely terrain and decent spring skiing conditions.

nice runs

Nice runs in open forest.

handrailing macpherson's east face

Dipping in a shallow gully that handrails MacPherson's east face.

looking back again

Looking back again.

the womb ahead

Our route delivers us into The Womb.

into the womb

The Womb.

shredding spring powder

I'm shredding spring powder.
Picture courtesy of Stephane  Gingras.

the womb is tracked out

The Womb is officially tracked out on this awesome april day.

action shot

Another action shot!
Picture courtesy of Stephane Gingras.

the end of this fine run

The run-out of this fine ski run!
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