I have a love/hate relationship with the extended high pressure system. This most recent one, though, has so far served up nothing but good times. By virtue of the weird fall we had, the alpine is caked with a little extra snow, despite lower elevations looking only marginally better than they did in October. That means bigger lines are coming in, even if their approaches aren’t. After a few weeks of mainly working on my fitness, I got out for an excellent descent of STS Couloir with a great crew in Rogers Pass. Appetites sufficiently whetted, Ryan and I headed back up the next day for something a little more interesting on Swiss Peaks. Read More
I wasn’t sure whether to write this post. It’s easy to talk about the risks until they turn to realities. Until consequence ripples outwards, tearing the meaning from the words. I don’t feel, though, that I can continue posting my own ski adventures without acknowledging the loss of the friend who has inspired so many of them. Despite the time that has passed since I found out, it is still raw, and my writing probably reflects that. Please bear with me. Read More
My first ever September turns (Seriously. I have no excuse.) took place Sept 21st high above iconic Moraine Lake, a popular tourist trap near Lake Louise. This trip report will be brief, as in all honesty there wasn’t much of a trip to report on. Just a great day on an easily approached big line for my 11th consecutive month of skiing. Plus a few photos, which I think came out all right. Read More
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. 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 effect the rain was having on the already dusty 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 every ingredient 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