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philfort

Heli ski operation on Mt Waddington

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A friend forwarded me this information. Knight Inlet Heli Sports has apparently applied for a heli ski permit on Mt Waddington.

 

http://www2.lwbc.bc.ca/ApplicationPosting/viewpost.jsp?PostID=7262

 

(If you look at the "site specific" map that Waddington is right in the middle of "zone 2").

 

If you want to make your opinion known on this matter, the person reviewing the case is:

 

Diane Tetarenko

Manager, Adventure Tourism

Ministry of Tourism, Sports and the Arts

Suite 142 - 2080A Labieux Road

Nanaimo, BC V9T 6J9

 

 

 

Does anyone else have any info on this?

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Diane Tetarenko

Manager, Adventure Tourism

Ministry of Tourism, Sports and the Arts

Suite 142 - 2080A Labieux Road

Nanaimo, BC V9T 6J9

 

Suite 142 - 2080A Labieux Road Nanaimo, BC V9T 6J9 Phone: (250) 751-7241 Cell: (250) 713-7559 Fax: (250) 751-7224

Email: Diane.Tetarenko@gov.bc.ca

 

This is the rest of her info. I sent her an email, you should too.

 

see here http://www.bivouac.com/DsxPg.asp?DsxId=1790

 

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There's a description of potential ski traverses in that area in the John Baldwin book

 

Exploring the Coast Mountains On Skis.

 

Near the back of the book look at the section on the Ha-iltzuk-Monarch region.

 

It's a cool area. I'd love to ski there.

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I don't know if this is the same crew, but there was an exploratory permit awarded recently (last season???) for Wadd.

 

BTW - This might get more exposure in the freshiezone.

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BTW - This might get more exposure in the freshiezone.

 

I figured climbers would be more upset than skiers at having a classic wilderness climbing destination used for a profit-making venture.

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I hope I am right, but from a common sense point of view, I don't see how this operation is going to fly. You've got a helicopter parked on a yacht in an obscure inlet with jetskis and snowmobiles at the ready . . . riiiiggghhhht.

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Those were my thoughts when I first heard about it too, Jordon: Yachts, helicopters, sleds, remote as shit - probably the most expensive heli-skiing per-vertical foot skied in NA...all to access an area renown for shitty weather (with limited tree-skiing potential to boot) with often wet snow. Hey, awesome, sign me up!

 

BTW, Phil, I suspect that even a major heli-skiing operation would have limited impact on the climbing there, since the season doesn't usually start till late May, well after most heli-skiing is done (think Bugaboos). However, given that this is a major wilderness ski touring area, extensive heli-skiing (if it actually gets off the ground) would really suck.

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Seems like Don is fairly unimpressed with this suggestion, why would you be ok with it Drew..?

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Cos it'll be sooo pimp when I fly my snowmobile in to the top of Munday and launch it down the north face for the FSD, then a quick fly back to the hot tub on the yacht!

 

I would be more interested in learning how the current application conflicts with Whitesaddle's. Doesn't Mike have some sort of commercial tenure rights for the area anyways?

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There's a big difference between ferrying in a few loads of climbers/skiers, and constant use of a chopper all day long for heli-skiing.

I dunno - maybe there's nothing stopping Mike from offering heli-skiing too :-)

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You're never going to convince the Campbell government of anything by shaming them into thinking about the long-term social benefit of something like the preservation of wilderness.

 

Yeah, the best argument here is not that the proposed application will infringe upon ski-mountaineers, but that it infringes upon someone already making money off the tenure, and that Mike's business could take a hit when ski mountaineers turn their attention to, say, Monarch when the Wadd area becomes known for hot-tubbing and sled-riding big rollers.

 

 

 

 

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right you are, there is an application in place for a heliskiing tenure including the Waddington Range as one of four 'zones'. the other 3 are essentially the Whitemantle Range, east of Knight Inlet; the Sims/Tumult region NW of Knight Inlet; and the Klinaklini - Silverthrone region considerably north of Knight Inlet.

 

I am categorically opposed to any heliskiing in the Waddington Range whatsoever. the area lacks formal nonmotorized recreation status, but that's because it has been remote enough that no threats have be perceived until now. and to be clear, nonmotorized status does not need to exclude motorized access - once the chopper leaves you on your glacier, the silence returns, and the wilderness experience sets in. that's not true for heliskiing, in which the power and 'rush' of the helicopetr is an integral part of the 'thrill'. there's plenty of terrain out there (including the majority of the other portions of the applicant's terrain) where steep-freaks can burn adrenaline to their heart's content without fouling the 'spirit' of the finest high mountain terrain in BC.

 

I oppose this portion of the proposal in full knowledge that the heliskiing will mostly take place in february and march, while most skitouring happens in april and may. why? well, the best I can do is an analogy: a husband and a wife expect mutual fidelity (even today, mostly!). this 'contract' is most important when they are separated. similarly, commitment, engagement, and a certain seriousness pervade the best Waddington Range experiences, and the frivolity and superficiality of the heliskiing experience erodes that for me, even if it is temporally separated. ski-mountaineers and climbers live IN the mountains, absorbing and dealing with the wilderness; heliskiers athleticize ON them, then flit back to civilization. these are diametrically different mind-sets, and I want to see them physically separated too, at least in the Waddington Range. there are few corners of the planet that have not been overwhelmed by technology and eroded by banality, and those of us who value those corners ought to put energy into keeping them 'pure'.

 

I also oppose it in full knowledge that I fly in and out of the Range, sometimes more than once a year. mea culpa. the issue is whether or not to allow heliskiing in the Range, not whether or not to allow helicopter access for ski-mountaineers and climbers. the latter is an accepted part of the Waddington 'culture'; the new proposal is a massive breach of the standards of behaviour that have evolved to their present state over the 85 years since the Mundays first set off to find and explore the Range.

 

if you sympathize, I urge you to send a brief note to Mrs Tetarenko. and pass the information along to friends who also would be concerned. time is short - the deadline is within 2 weeks.

 

once again, the e-mail address is:

Diane.Tetarenko@gov.bc.ca

 

cheers, don

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I would be more interested in learning how the current application conflicts with Whitesaddle's. Doesn't Mike have some sort of commercial tenure rights for the area anyways?

 

so far as heliskiing goes, there is no tenure covering the waddington range. Mike flew a bit last year for Pantheon Heliskiing, which was based out of Dave and Lori King's ranch, altho most of the flying went with Blackcomb. Pantheon 'went bust' and have been bought out by Bella Coola Helisports (Peter "Swede" Mattsson and co). the tenure area includes the Pantheon Range, most of the Niut Range, and the northern fringes of the Waddington Range. agreements were put in place to exclude the Nirvana Pass area, which is the most commonly used base for ski-mountaineers. as well, the operators agreed to avoid touring parties - there's a huge amount of terrain out there, and conflicts need not occur at all. they even manage to do a decent job of that in the busiest ski terrain in the province, the Spearhead Range behind Whistler and Blackcomb.

 

Mike certainly has an interest in the outcome - he's THE guy for helicopter access into the Waddington Range, and (as he puts it):

 

"We don't want it [heliskiing] there even if we were to do the flying. We have had, and are still having great support from the climbing and ski mountaineering community even though it is a small part of our annual business. We have had loyal customers and friends like yourself coming into the range since 1977. We have developed very long term relationships and friendships with several people, climbing organizations, and clubs, and we want to carry this into the future."

 

Sure, there's business involved, but it goes deeper than that.

 

cheers, don

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You're never going to convince the Campbell government of anything by shaming them into thinking about the long-term social benefit of something like the preservation of wilderness.

 

I'm too old to succumb to such a pessimistic attitude - or is it perhaps that I'm just naive enough to remain optomistic. I do know one thing - unless you speak up about your interests, whatever 'the other guy' says carries the day. and while I'm no friend of the current government, even they have some degree of social sensitivity - behind each of those voices is a vote!

 

so don't waste your time here; sit down and tap out an e-mail to Mrs. Tetarenko.

 

cheers, don

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Do you believe the voice (email) of a Yank, and their potential tourist dollars, would carry any weight in this issue?

 

 

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Good point. I'd write a letter, but I'm unlikely to vote anyone into or out of office in Canada.

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Acutally, it might be the opposite - I think Yanks would have a significant sway since it would show that Wadd is a world class destination that draws significant $$ from abroad, and that the issue itself is being well circulated.

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You're never going to convince the Campbell government of anything by shaming them into thinking about the long-term social benefit of something like the preservation of wilderness.

 

I'm too old to succumb to such a pessimistic attitude - or is it perhaps that I'm just naive enough to remain optomistic. I do know one thing - unless you speak up about your interests, whatever 'the other guy' says carries the day. and while I'm no friend of the current government, even they have some degree of social sensitivity - behind each of those voices is a vote!

 

so don't waste your time here; sit down and tap out an e-mail to Mrs. Tetarenko.

 

cheers, don

 

Okay, yes, we all represent votes, but let's avoid the "save the environment" type of nostalgic wailing that gets dismissed instantly by the more profit-minded folks running the show. I'm writing a missive today and I'm thinking about the kinds of concrete concerns that might have more influence than a easily dismissed lament about the wilderness shortsightedness of government: The fact that the tenure is way too big, the fact that as you say there is a near century of culture that has developed here, the fact that there is existing revenue being generated here that may be affected, the fact that the license is so open ended that it will be easily abused . . .

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So, aside from concerns being voiced from some folks in the climbing community who don't want the ambience of the Waddington backcountry spoiled, what harm is there in allowing a commercial heli operation to access the area, or god forbid, one that might occasionally sling in a sled for those beer swilling decadent/affluent types? Is a rare bird being killed? A sleeping bear being disturbed? Will the Jet B fuel being burnt really make a difference to global warming? Is this proposal any different than the gazillions of folks who fly into Denali each year or those who access the Mt. Robson by helicopter because they're too lazy to haul their gear in for 25 + kilometers?

 

I enjoy the peace and solitude of the backcountry like most of you folks, but I'm finding it harder and harder these days to justify why my views/desires should trump others; particularly commercial interests or those who lack the skills/willingness to experience this spectacular area a little bit differently. Surely the solution is to compromise by allowing some sort of limited/licenced commercial access.

 

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Is this proposal any different that the gazillions of folks who fly into Denali each year or those who access the Mt. Robson by helicopter because they're too lazy to haul their gear in for 25 + kilometers?

 

Yes, incredibly. Please RE-read Don's previous posts.

 

I enjoy the peace and solitude of the backcountry like most of you folks, but I'm finding it harder and harder these days to justify why my views/desires should trump others; particularly commercial interests or those who lack the skills/willingness to expereience this spectacular area a little bit differently. Surely the solution is to compromise by allowing some sort of limited/licenced commercial access.

 

K so I went to Patagonia on vacation tryin to do a new route on Cerro Torre and there was the continual whine of snowmobiles out on the icecap throughout the climb. Would that change things for me and my experience? Oooo, I'd say so.

 

You can heli ski and snowmobile in lots of pretty amazing areas in BC. But south of Logan, there is only ONE area where you can climb new routes on savage 14'000 foot peaks.

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Jordop, I respect your view on this issue; I'm just not sure its tenable in this day/age, particularly given the attitudes of the non-climbing public, the amount of area that been locked up in parks over the last couple of decades in BC and the size of Waddington area. That said, sharpen your pencils and start your letter writing campaign if you think the BC Liberals will respond.

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Years back, a friend and I took my sailboat from Vancouver, sailed it up the Sunshine Coast and across Desolation Sound and into Bute Inlet and up the Homathko. Almost blew the mainsail to shreds in the Bute outflow winds. We then hitched a ride from some treeplanters into Scar Creek and with 70 lb packs skied into Waddington. We did the whole trip for about $300 for both of us.

 

This may have been a silly thing to do considering heli access was so well established. However, we poured our hearts and souls into this trip. After the treeplanters dropped us off at snowline, we did not see another person for the next 10 days. Not only that, we saw no helicopters, no fresh tracks, not a sign of human use. All we saw was ice, snow and rock (when we could see at all!)

 

I have no problem with heli access for climbers - its in and out on the machine, is historically well established, and the next time I go in I will probably book a heli for the approach instead of some crazy expeditionary-type adventure.

 

However, to have done our trip and have someone sled past us, or have heliskiers drop down into a place that it took us the better part of a week of sweat and fear to reach would really impact the experience, and make it seem not like a worthy adventure but rather a silly and stupid prank.

 

I will send an email.

 

Brian Pegg

 

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A friend forwarded me this information. Knight Inlet Heli Sports has apparently applied for a heli ski permit on Mt Waddington.

 

http://www2.lwbc.bc.ca/ApplicationPosting/viewpost.jsp?PostID=7262

 

(If you look at the "site specific" map that Waddington is right in the middle of "zone 2").

 

If you want to make your opinion known on this matter, the person reviewing the case is:

 

Diane Tetarenko

Manager, Adventure Tourism

Ministry of Tourism, Sports and the Arts

Suite 142 - 2080A Labieux Road

Nanaimo, BC V9T 6J9

 

 

 

Does anyone else have any info on this?

 

Thanks, I just emailed too:

Dear Ms. Tetarenko-

 

I just wanted to voice my support for the permit application submitted by Knight Inlet Heli Sports Ltd to provide services around Mt. Waddington. I believe that this service will increase visitors' choices and improve access into the area. Thank you for your time.

 

Sincerely,

My email tag includes my profession, my primary company, and my membership in the American Mountain Guide Association.

:wave:

 

I'm all in favor of increased guiding access to public lands, and I'm happy to defend this position to anyone who wants to buy me a beer. :brew:

 

Thanks for posting the link! :moondance:

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Wow, thanks for telling us all about it, that's very cool of you. I especially like the way you have no idea what you are talking about:

 

I'm all in favor of increased guiding access to public lands

 

since this is not the issue here, nor ever has been. Apparently no one has been allowed to guide on Waddington until now?

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