Julie and Greg wind the track toward Ursus Major.

 After fueling up with caffeine and tasty lunch treats from the Modern Bakery (probably the last chance this ski season as the departure times are about to get a whole lot earlier), we roll out of the green valley bottom heading east, discussing where to hunt out the best snow in these spring conditions.  When the temps are soaring, the N face of Ursus Major is one of the area’s holdouts for cold dry snow, and we decide to check out the great North shot off Video Peak to access it.

Julie M about to crest the ridge on Video Peak.

 We hit the steep gully that offers access to Video Peak’s E ridge at just the right time:  soft enough to set a nice track,  not sun-baked enough to be concerned about the slope avalanching. Soon enough we were on the summit, eager to escape the blazing sun for a few minutes with our descent down the shady N face.  I was introduced to this line  many years ago by my good friend Myles on my first day of that season, and it has been a great time every visit since.

Greg approaching the summit of Video Peak.

 

Greg dropping in to Video N, Ursus Major in the background.

After the descent, a high traverse wrapped us around Video’s N ridge and into the bowl crowned by Ursus Major, whose summit is actually 44m lower than Ursus Minor.  Go figure.   We point the tips towards this objective, dreaming about slashing turns down the steep summit faces which hangs exposed above a substantial cliffband, but also a bit nervous about the traverse across to it, and the final pitch of bootpacking to reach the summit.  Some slide debris becomes  visible in the run-out zone as we approach, helping to set us a bit more at ease with the knowledge that the slope has “gone” some time recently.

Greg heading for Ursus Major, once known as Mt. Roy.

 

Greg pushing for the top.

Julie M tops out on the Maj.

We topped out on the S summit, then worked our way along the 30 m of ridge to the N summit.  Then our daydreams from the valley below came true as we railed big turns down the face in cold spring powder.  What a great run!  One of the classic North face tours of Rogers pass in fine condition, and not another soul to be seen.   After the final climb to Bruin’s pass, we even had good skiing down the sunny 8812 bowl.  I love this place!

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