Skied another area I had been fawning over via Google Earth since last year. Upon trying to recruit a friend for the east facing slab rock wall above Sherbrooke Lake, he provided real pictures he had of it from exiting the Wapta. And woah, it was way gnarlier than I’d anticipated. I went up yesterday with Matt to go ski some lines, worst case there were straightforward N facing couloirs to ski.
|Impressive sluffs off Stephen on our way up
|The first rad slab wall of Mt. Ogden|
|Rad slab wall shedding some snow|
Once we got up to the lake and started to see the first part of the slab wall, I started to get excited. The sticky spring precip had built up a skiable thickness of snow on the most ridiculous terrain. I had hoped to ski a big rib I’d seen from Google Earth that drops right off ridgeline, and once getting there it did look doable. But for the top 2/3rds, you were at times skiing a narrow spine of snow, and all the time above bad exposure. As another sluff rolled off the big cliffs, Matt and I simultaneously abandoned all desire to ski it.
|The big rib|
We enjoyed a fun ski in great N facing, fast sluffing pow off the col near the big rib and skied toward the sketchy line of the day.
We got to a little slab face which looked like it was skiable. It also had a nice ramp running up the back to gain most of the vertical on, as the wall was utterly un-climbable. After climbing as high as we could up the ramp, we had to do a short very steep skin to gain the ridge above the little face. However, Matt’s skinning technique would let him go no further so I continued to the top while he skied back down the ramp and around to the base of the line.
|Crossing the face|
At the top, I got skis on and ready to go. I tossed a few snowballs and found the fluted snow was beautiful, consistent pow. Dropping in, the sluffs after every turn were fast and concentrated in the runnels, however it was obvious that every bit of snow I sent down stripped off 3x its weight in snow further down, exposing more and more slab rock. After a time, I abandoned my original spine and crossed to a fatter part of the rock slab. The spine was too narrow to really turn confidently on, so after I shedded a bit more vert, I pointed it out toward the fan, happy to be off it. Type 2 fun.
We skinned back up toward the col we previously skied down from, intending to do another lap on the little N facing zone. At the top while clicking in I noticed that there were two clicks while engaging my heel. After a bit of investigation, it turned out that I had cracked my heelpiece somehow. The second click being heel engagement, but the first was the sound of things breaking. It was holding together, but it was obvious any upward force on the forward half of the heelpiece would destroy it completely (ie. leaning forward on my boots). I borrowed a ski strap from Matt and reinforced the front half.
Then we shredded back down from the col. What, you think I’m gonna let a silly binding stop me? I went for a nice pow-ey run with no airs and crossed my fingers really hard, and Matt went for a more solar bit and launched 15 or 20ft on Plums. Oh, and carved off a size 1.5 wet sluff that buried the skin track 2ft under. Whoops.
|Four fun lines|
|Where’d the skin track go?|
Then it still wasn’t time to go home, there was a super sweet looking couloir heading up toward Mt Ogden, I thought we could even bag the summit from it. Binding still broken, zero fu**s given. So we ascended back up to the col and down the south side and then straight up the couloir.
Once at the top, I made an attempt at the scramble up toward the summit of Ogden, but it just became too sketchy to do without a rope.
Then I re-attached my binding band-aid and shredded down the couloir in great snow. I removed the strap and put the binding in tour mode, that way I could limp to the car with a ski that would actually glide on hard snow.