Busy with things I didn’t have time to record my outings the last couple of weeks. Catching up below…
Over the past few years I found myself skiing well into the summer, and this year is not going to be any different.
I prefer to extend my ski seasons at their ends rather than at their starts. I rather ski whatever I want in stable conditions with still lots of snow around than scratching my bases in late October.
Since April, in between work and some low-key ski days, I was be to get after some long time plans.
8812 Peak, Rogers Pass
I stood atop this peak for my very first time few weeks earlier but this time it was more special since during an unusually warm period around the Easter weekend we were in a desperate search for powder.
I had with me two good friends that live in big cities and between work and family don’t get to ski that much. Essentially, it was a serious challenge to deliver on my luring emails about Rogers Pass powder.
We battled through mild hangovers (result of the night before) to the summit and had great turns on the north side of this peak.
Forever Young Couloir, Rogers Pass
After the early April warm period it cooled off a bit and some new snow fell. Not too much but enough to make things fun again. So once the weather cleared a bit I decided to head up Asulkan Valley for couple of days.
I had two days of great skiing while always looking towards the Forever Young Couloir, wondering of how it would be. I never skied it before and so it obviously attracted me.
On my second day I saw two guys that headed up Youngs Peak head-wall but never saw them ski down, I wondered what they were up to. Later that day, from distance, I saw them skiing the fan of the FY (great acronym) beside what seemed like a fresh debris. They seemed OK but the debris looked definitely theirs.
On my last day, after skiing a lap on Youngs Peak, I decided to check out the couloir. Skiing to it in 15 cm of light powder on a beautiful exposed shoulder was probably The feeling of the day. It’s a bit of a surreal setting because you know you are safe but you also know how crazy it looks from the valley.
Once on top of the couloir I decided it was safe to ski it so I went for it. The angle was steep but it was the firm snow that surprised me, perhaps an old bed surface.
With an ice axe in my hand, careful jump turns followed until I felt comfortable enough. About 2/3 down I came across an obvious slab stuck to the couloir’s right side which made me conclude that the boys from the day before took out its left side. Once onto the fan snow was soft and smooth.
Great couloir but definitely a serious place.
1-day Wapta Traverse, Canadian Rockies
Third weekend of April made me fully appreciate that I signed up for Twitter two years ago. After months of stalking gorgeous female skiers I got to ski with Lindsey Vonn… not 🙂
From what was a Twitter follower, only a few days before, became a new friend. Jerimy Arnold reached out to me with a tweet and initiated an adventure I was planning for some years but haven’t got to it yet.
Jerimy is from Massachusetts and is one of super keen skimo racers and backcountry skiers on the US east coast. Fit and very keen, he met me for two days of Rogers Pass skiing first. I was battling a bit of cold bug but never the less we skied through all kinds of weather and snow.
We reserved Monday, April 22nd, for an attempt of the Wapta Traverse. Not that “Wapta in a day” is a crazy achievement but it is a respectable goal to chase on a first attempt.
On Sunday night we met with cleverly cocky Peter Knight, a young Canadian Skimo Team member, who like us have never done the traverse before. However, with all that firepower in the group the goal seemed quite feasible even without headlamps.
We started at around 6.30 am and had consistent pace the whole way, with beautiful weather making things easy. I didn’t feel super hot that morning as I woke up with a sore throat but once the sun warmed me up I truly enjoyed the going from there on.
We managed the full Wapta (Peyto Lake to Shelbrooke Lake) in 11 hours with couple of nice breaks to eat, take photos and marvel over the surrounding beauty. I think Jerimy’s GPS showed around 43 km and we did about 2200 m of vertical.
Here are some photos from the day but for more make sure to check out Peter’s and Jerimy’s posts.
Big Thanks to Jerimy for putting the Canadian ducks in a row for an awesome day.
Million Dollar Couloir, Duffey Lake
At the end of April I was moving out of Revelstoke and back to the Coast. I figured why drive straight to Vancouver when a little detour can get me some skiing on Duffey.
Not knowing much about what kind of snow to expect I, Brad Schalles and Nick Elson partnered on a fun day. I proposed to check out the Million $$$ Couloir as I always wanted to ski it, the boys were keen as well.
In a steady pace, we head up towards Cayoosh but opted not to go for the summit as things were warming rapidly. Then Nick lead us towards the goodies since he skied the Million $$ before. The approach reminded me of the approach to the Forever Young – on and over an exposed ridge in a creamy 15 cm powder.
From my observation, I think the approach is far more exciting than the couloir. But the whole decent was amazing as none of us would have imagined we would be skiing such superb snow on May 1st.
Mount Baker with friends and family, North Cascades, WA
After never delivering on my promise to take some of my family and friends to Mount Baker it was time to finally do so.
The original plan was to enjoy couple of days on the Spearhead Traverse but with the freezing level around 2500 m I offered them to go higher instead. They instantly agreed.
On the first day, we skinned up to about 2000 m and setup a camp. Our Canadian skimo racing juniors, Kate and Martin, enjoyed their first winter camping ever and in the morning we were off.
After a solid effort from everyone, we topped Baker to enjoy a long break tucked behind the 10 m summit cone. The wind outside of that small zone was quite vicious.
Skiing the top 700 m was great, down Roman Wall, the softest I have ever had there. Below that it got quite slow.
The glacier looks pretty broken up for this time of the year so watch out if you are heading up there.
More to come
Currently, my lips are once again sun-burnt. The weather is unstable and quality of snow unpredictable but more skiing is too be had. First, here on the Coast, and then far away over the summer. Excitement is building up 🙂