Mount Meager, BC

Two years of exploration north of Pemberton, BC, one Aquaman, and a handful of alpine walls—a small group of dedicated riders unlocks the most unstable mountain massif in Canada and reaps its rewards.

Words Joe Lax

Some say necessity is the mother of invention. In the case of the Pemberton Aquaman, our necessity was to access the Meager Massif, a dramatic set of mountains at the northernmost point of the Pemberton valley in southwestern British Columbia. Located approximately 50 miles from town, this volcanic complex boasts six summits—Job, Capricorn, Devastator, Pylon, Plinth and Meager—the highest of which reaches to 8,790 feet. Upon these six summits lie dozens of ridges and massive, 3,000-foot-plus spine walls; essentially, big mountain snowboarding at its finest.

Yet access to Meager’s bounty was blocked by a formidable opponent. Since a landslide on Aug. 6, 2010 destroyed the Lillooet River bridge, road access to the Meager Valley has been eliminated. The area had been on my hit list since I first saw Mount Meager 13 years ago during a summer camping trip to the Meager Hot Springs. Over the years, I had heard stories from friends who had explored in the group, but those stories didn’t really resonate until I saw a photo Delaney Zayac had taken from a ski plane of Mount Meager’s iconic northeast face: a myriad of steep spines and ramps perched above towering seracs and open glaciers. It was then that I fully realized the extent of its terrain. To that end, Dave Basterrechea, Delaney Zayac, Chris Ankeny and I had spent a good portion of the 2010-11 winter looking for a way in via snow machine, but eventually realized we would have to get wet to cross the glacial-fed river. We just had to find the right tools for the job…

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