On August 23, summer or not, the forecast was calling for snow. Having been without the restorative effects of exposure and a good bone-chilling alpine wind for altogether too long, Trevor and I decided it was time for a mission to Mt. Athabasca’s beautiful Silverhorn. Ian was interested as well, but had injured his foot recently and wasn’t too sure about front pointing. At the last moment, Trevor reassured him with a text, saying something along the lines of “What if we took the bypass route and the sun came out?” Ian’s response: “I’ll be there in 5”.
Neither thing happened. Read More
Lately, I’ve developed a thing for condensing perfectly good multi-day objectives into sub 24-hour speed missions. Moving quickly in the mountains is truly addictive, and I am hooked. When Trevor suggested we go after some summer turns in a slightly masochistic take on Mt. Joffre in a day, I was instantly psyched at the opportunity to have a go at the impressive 11000er. After day tripping both the Wapta Traverse and Mt. Columbia this past spring, adding Joffre in the same year felt like completing some kind of trifecta. Petty ego stroking aside, I’m also powerless to turn down an opportunity for powder skiing any time of year, let alone in July. Read More
It’s been a weird, warm spring. When winter decided to make its return to the alpine halfway through June, I barely took notice, focusing instead on the restorative effect the rain was having on the bike trails. Luckily, Trevor alerted me to my mistake. Some prodding to get me out of beach mode was required, but soon enough I was grabbing my skis for a mega day trip onto the Jumbo Glacier. With fresh snow, three Purcell 11000ers up for grabs, and the longest day of the year all coming together, we had all the ingredients for a top notch mission. Read More
Last month I enjoyed the incredible opportunity to ski from the summit of Mt. Columbia, in a one day push on my first visit to the legendary Columbia Icefield. After an introduction like that, I was fired up to return to what is, in my mind one of the epicenters of Rockies ski mountaineering. On Friday the 13th I did, setting off with Trevor for a four day mission to the northern arm of the icefield – home, most notably to the cluster of four 11000+ foot peaks known a little misleadingly as The Twins. Read More
Faced with an overachieving spring melt that left mid-April looking a lot like mid-May and a powerful lack of motivation for bushwhacking, it felt like a good time to head for the biggest chunk of ice in the Rockies in celebration of my being finished work for the winter. Originally the plan was to spend a few days up on the Columbia Icefield, bag a few classic peaks and at least have a look at a couple of decidedly less popular bigger lines. As we got close to our planned departure date though, it became clear the our weather window was going to close sooner than we would have liked. Bummer. Monday’s weather was forecast to be perfect at least, so we decided just to try to day trip Mt. Columbia – arguably the most classic of the classics – and have a good look around while we were there. Read More
Continuing with our recent interest in paring multi day traverses down into one, Luke and I headed out on March 29th to have a go at sending the ultra classic Wapta icefield traverse in a day. The Wapta in a day started as an early season pipe dream for us, but gradually morphed into something frighteningly realistic as the season progressed. After firing the Three Pass Traverse in a day a few weeks prior, we felt pretty confident in our ability to get the Wapta in a reasonable amount of time. With weather looking perfect and my being gifted an extra day off at work, it was time to get it done. Read More
It seems that Mt. Macdonald has been on our radar lately. A few weeks ago we skied the number one avalanche gully and found it to be a lot more awesome than it looks from the road. 1000m of deep gully and slide path skiing, reminiscent of Frequent Flyer in the Connaught area.
This week, conditions didn’t line up for our long objective in the Rockies. Luke and I decided to head west instead, hoping to seek out some north facing pow in Rogers Pass. Our original plan to ski the Chromosome Couloirs on Cheops N. was scrapped when we realized the damage recent high freezing levels had done. Instead, we decided to get higher and a little rowdier on the north face of Mt. Macdonald. Read More
Just before Christmas, Ian, Luke, Valerio and I made an attempt on Catamount peak, a mildly remote Rogers pass summit in the Cougar Valley. That time we bailed. Undeterred, Luke and I went back in February to give it another shot, after a great week of high pressure. This time we were aiming for the north face, accessed via the Three Pass Traverse. It’s an awesome bit of mountain travel linking Balu, Catamount and McGill passes and drawing an appealing line from the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre to the Bostock parking area. Read More
Lucking into a hut trip I can actually afford is becoming an annual tradition. Last minute cancellations at high end backcountry lodges lead to perfect opportunities for the kind of people who are willing and able to drop everything and head for the hills. This year a text from Luke led to an incredible week of soul skiing at Mt. Carlyle Lodge near Kaslo, BC. Read More
Note: Trevor S.; studier of many maps says this peak is called DG22. If anyone knows of another name for it feel free to let me know in the comments.
With all this high pressure floating around, stability in the Golden area has been terrific. Everything near the ski hill has been hammered by legions of people in search of decent snow and steep lines. It’s pretty cool to see, but I have no desire to ski over anybody’s tracks and so lately I’ve been looking a little further afield. Purely by accident I ran into Ryan at the resort a week or two ago, and he pointed out a gorgeous face off the back of the ski hill and up into the next line of peaks. He had been staring at it all season and conditions were looking ideal. I know of no name for the line, but when anyone asks where it is, all I have to to is point straight off the back of the Stairway chair and say That Face, so that is what I’m calling it. Read More