Timing is Everything

I’ve been really interested in skiing the remote Mt. Warren and Brazeau for a while, they’re gorgeous 11,000 foot peaks all by their lonesome in Jasper National Park. However, it didn’t quite sink in until this spring that they weren’t like regular 11,000’ers, for which the ideal time of year is usually spring. The only way to do it in spring is to slog up Poboktan Creek, from the west side of the peaks. A much more classy way is to come in from the north, via Maligne Lake. The trouble is it would still be frozen into June. So a late summer/early fall attempt seemed ideal. This summer has been quite snowy, and after a friend went up via Poboktan to climb the peaks in mid-August, I got really excited about how the snow was starting to tack onto the ice faces, so big shout-out to Raf for the impetus for this trip. With my eyes glued to the forecast and weather stations, it didn’t take long for ideal conditions to present themselves, and with the knowledge of a great transition layer of snow already stuck to the ice, it was game on. Continue reading Timing is Everything

Clag Monster

Late August, it never disappoints! After a bit of a drought, I had been out of the mountains for a while and was itching to get out. I’ve been really fortunate this summer. My first summer skiing, I was just skiing anything, mellow lines and suncups, whatever snow I could find. Last summer, I made a real effort to ski something reasonably steep and interesting each month, and skied lots of bare ice, as the hot summer dictated. It was good fun though, and an excellent builder of skills. This summer, with just September left to go, I think it’s safe to say things are only going to get better from here on out, and I’ve been successful in ski interesting lines, in good snow each month. No suncups or bare ice comprising the entire line but a white carpet of something reasonably fresh for at least the interesting parts. Continue reading Clag Monster

Little Brother

In late June, I was posed with a very difficult question on where to head to get my shred on. I was still a bit bitter about the lack of options and rapid melt brought on by the two month period of mid-March to mid May, with things falling apart right when prime season finally comes. I was still trying to catch up from a spring of many plans, but little action to match (I had some really big plans…) But finally in June there was a couple weeks of good snow up high, and that weekend looked like another good chance to get up high and get something done I should’ve been doing in the spring. Plans changed though, and as the forecasted freezing levels rose, so did my objective. Finally, I decided that giving Bryce north face was maybe not such a stupid idea. Continue reading Little Brother

A Moment’s Notice

Another decent looking storm, another bit of high alpine pow to chase after! All of 12 hours before leaving Golden, I got in touch with Matt to see if he was keen for Mt. Joffre in K Country, an impressive peak and fun looking ski descent, but nothing too scary since I’m over that for a bit after an ultra-sketch descent of Bryce Center Peak and attempt on Bryce north face. Joffre’s a fair bit of slog though. At 4:30 am, we were walking away from the car to do a 1-day assault on knee cartilage and Joffre. Continue reading A Moment’s Notice

The White Elephant

On the summer solstice, Matt and I geared up for a one-day trip to the Jumbo icefield in the Purcells. Leaving Golden around 11pm, we made the long drive out to Farnham Creek then started down the remarkably well-defined trail from the road, down and across Farnham Creek, then up the outflow from the Commander Glacier and up the ridge of the lateral moraine to the scoured glacial bed. Around here, the sun rose and we scrambled up the last bit of loose scree to the snowy ascent route, pinched between Cleaver’s north ridge and the Commander Glacier. We followed the cruisy snow slopes all the way to the summit of East Guardsmen, a round, glaciated summit and started skiing west, towards Commander Mountain. Continue reading The White Elephant

Farnham Redux

Back to Farnham, one of the few that got away. Mt Farnham is the tallest peak in the nearly 400km long Purcell Mountains. When Ian and I tried last March, we found a stout adversary, with ceaseless winds and hardly enough snow to cover the many chokes of the couloir. We made it up though, but the dream of linking the summit with the couloir remained for another time. I knew the summit block did fill in, I’d seen pictures in June. I figured it just needed that late spring snow, with nice high freezing levels so the snow that fell on the summit block would paste on instead of just blowing away. Continue reading Farnham Redux

Summits and Icefields

I’ve been waiting for the right time to do a big mission out on the Columbia icefield for a while. With this rapidly maturing spring making most peaks with a valley bottom approach an extra slog to get to, the season was right. And after the thermostat was stuck on high for so long, then a crucial cold snap happened, conditions for crevasse bridge trustworthiness were ideal. Then a little storm passed through and the weather went blue, time to go! Continue reading Summits and Icefields

King of the Bush

The Bush Mountain massif has been the secondary objective of a few trips now. Last year, we were going to ski some of its three peaks (Rostrum 3284m, Icefall 3195m, Bush (peak) 3081m) after Arras peak on the other side of the valley, but ran out of weather window.  Then this April, Ian and I decided we would abuse the sleds on gravel one last time to do a long trip, skiing as many of the plethora of 3000m+ peaks in the upper Valenciennes River and Icefall Brook logging road systems over a full week, but were turned back by the state of the road, not enough snow to get the sleds over a large washout no matter how much roadbuilding and sweat we put in. So, with a short weather window, I decided to bike it now and concentrate my efforts only on Bush Mountain. Continue reading King of the Bush


I hate unfinished business. I’ve felt Murchison taunting me since my poor routefinding and sleep-deprived state nixed my first attempt. I thought the route to the summit ridge could be feasible but never got the chance to give it the full inspection up close to know for sure. So I had to go back and close the door on this beast, either finding a way through or knowing for sure it wasn’t going to happen. Continue reading Redux