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Wow! Not to be that guy that goes on and on about how good things are, how epic this was, how sick that was…..but really, the last month has been exceptional! A stable snowpack and a 70+ cm re-set has made for a month of climbing peaks and skiing/boarding sunny aspect runs in great conditions. Here is a recap of the most recent good times…
Mt. Afton (2553m)
Sweet day with long time friend Darek G, up from Loop Brook and into the Asulkan via skiers right SE Couloir.
Eagle Peak (2846m)
Did not quite make the summit of Eagle this time, due to waning daylight and faceted, punchy boot packing. Crew: Mark H, Tina G, Stano F, and my girl Hailey R. This classic S Face was in amazing shape! Mark, Stano and I chose the direct couloirs through the mid-section cliff-bands, which where a little on the firm side, but well filled in…
Greg was keen to check out a line that he had noted years ago for being Alaska-esque, how could I say no? Sure wishing I had 1000′ into our day, cause it looked like this:
After three hours of acrobatics to travel approximately 1500′, we really had to pick up the pace once we broke out of the Hemlock burn jungle.
Well worth it though, this was the view from the ridge looking West, sometime just after 3pm.
And this was our run!
Catamount Mtn (2705m) and Cougar Mtn (2375m)
Next up was a mission into the Cougar Brook, with Mark H, Andrew M, and Steve Z. We pulled a high traverse into the Catamount basin and headed up to the summit for a SE Face run (thanks for the uptrack BJ and crew).
We took this run right to the Brook, and headed up the North side of Cougar Mtn via a couloir which we hoped would put us in the col just West of the true summit. Cougar has multiple peaks, and it is a bit hard to discern which might be the highest…
Ditching skis at the col, Andrew and I burrowed and facet mined our way up the ridge of the peak to our East, and it appeared to be the highest once we where standing on top. Here is our view to the West.
Big day, approximately 9000′, and two new summits for me. Also got to watch friends ski off of Bagheera, and two unknown people ski an inspiring ramp of the East summit of Bagheera!
Big Shout Out to Wade for organizing the third annual SplitFest, which was a big success, over 150 splitters attending! I was (am) pretty beat down from previous adventures, but I did manage to catch Mark Hartley’s presentation, which had the crowd cracking up, and a single individual have five tickets pulled for draw prizes, including three (THREE!) splitboards! Two of which he threw back in the pot, nice one. Also of note is that the creator of RogersPass 411, Douglas Sproul, was the winner of one of the other splitty’s, of which I think there where 7. Hope fully he wraps up his guide book soon, so we see him out on the slopes on his new deck!
I also managed to get in a bit of shreddin’ with Joey V.
Video Peak (2565m)
We then had a short, intense storm that was just the re-set we needed. The mountains were covered with a fresh new blanket of powder 70-odd centimetres deep, and when the weather passed, the skies where as blue as blue can be. Which also meant very cold temps, being January. Which also equalled good snow on South slopes, so we checked out the alpine by heading for the previously heavily skier compacted runs on Video Peak.
We where the only party in the Hospital Bowl, a welcome change from the early season crowds, as Connaught Creek was the best skiing around, being the highest elevation starting point.
Two laps of amazing sunny powder on the S Face and an untracked gully to exit made for a fine day with Greg H, Jeff B, Chris D, and Mark H.
Avalanche Mtn (2861m)
Great powder and sunny skies, what to do but head out for another adventure! On board: Conor H, Chris D, Jeff B, Toby B, and Bruno L. The objective: Avalanche Mountain via S Ridge, descending Ventshaft.
Cheops North 4 (aka Strathcona Tweedsmuir School Couloir)
And most recently, with Hailey R, Mark H, and Ryan G, we skied the Cheops North 4 line. This is a prominent N facing gully line that drops straight to Connaught Creek.
In a very tragic accident on Feb 1, 2003, seven students from Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (Calgary) perished when a natural avalanche tore down the Cheops N 4 path and into their group of 17.
The moniker STS Couloir has come into use to describe this feature on Mt Cheops, and no disrespect is meant, rather let it serve as a reminder of the potential of this path, and to commemorate those students who lost their lives.
We ruffled some feathers of an individual who witnessed us skiing this line, and again,we mean no disrespect. The mountains are a dynamic environment, with ever-changing conditions. The potential for avalanches is always there, but if you pick your time wisely and are conscious and observant of the potential high traffic in the valley below, lines like the STS couloir can be descended with minimal risk.