This is a guest post from a recent Canadian Skimo Team training camp in Rogers Pass. I was unable to attend so I want to thank Peter Knight for the text and Travis Brown for the photos.
The Alpine Club of Canada had taken a page out of Alison Redford’s playbook and generously block-booked the hut for us so we would have lots of elbow room to eat and sleep as just Michelle Roberts, Martha Burley, Steve Sellers, and Travis and I were attending.
After a 3-hour ski up to the hut, through tracked out snow and watching numerous groups ski down, the sleeping bags and hut booties seemed more inviting than a couple of short laps above the hut in wind affected snow.
Monday brought a lazy start but with some ambitious goals. None of the weekend groups had skied above the hut and the weather and avalanche conditions were looking good, so we set our sights up to the top of Youngs Peak. Travis punched the track up the steep headwall and we quickly topped out.
I was expecting to pound out a couple of laps on the Steps of Paradise, but soon we were skiing down the other side towards the Forever Young couloir, which was untouched since the last snowfall. Meanwhile, some German ski mountaineering racers had topped out the couloir from the road so I had some company at the top while I waited my turn. We all made it down safely with varying levels of slough management techniques.
Typically these camps are a chance to ski lots of vertical, but with tired legs from racing two days before this adventure was an interesting diversion. After a couple of afternoon laps of the triangle moraine it was time for a classic staple of these SMCC Asulkan ski camps: the bonk-slog up the tree triangle back to the Asulkan hut at the end of the day.
Shortly after the last stragglers arrived back at the hut, the wind got much stronger and battered the hut all night. The wind sustained through the morning and brought warm temperatures along with it. Freezing levels rose above the hut, motivation levels did the opposite. Trees were uncovered by the wind and their snow was blown into the outhouse thanks to some broken locks. And it was raining. It was time to bail.
The ski down from the hut was interesting as the snow got slower and less supportive as we worked our way down. The snow could be described as elephant snot or fluffy powder depending on whether the person you were talking to was from Fernie or not. On the way down we encountered what is likely another full house at the Asulkan. Nobody was pumped to hear that it was raining at the hut.
Well at least I got back to Edmonton at a decent hour 😉