Mt. Weed

Photo: Kevin Annala, used with permission.

This minor obsession with Mt Weed’s south face/ chutes started around Christmas this year. I was heading home and needed to get a gift for my parents, so I figured why not get something that might help them further understand my fascination with mountains. I can’t really take pictures all that well, so I got em a picture from my buddy Kevin Annala, a Banff based photographer (sure I get nice composures sometimes but then it’s full auto mode baby!). Check out more of his work here: As I was farting around at home, I noticed some striking lines across the valley. South facing, but still skiable looking in late June or July, despite being super solar. During my poking around around Bow Summit this season, I’ve been taking some pictures of my own to make sure it is in, and I went up today to ski it.

Got out of the car for about 7, and started heading up. Snow is rapidly disappearing at the 1700m elevation that you start from, but is nice and fat past 2100m. The forecast was for ~10cm overnight then mixed sun/cloud with a touch of precip, but there was just a dust of snow from before and a ton of sun over the day. Approach looked really straightforward, with one exception, where the ravine I was ascending breached a cliff band. All I had to go on for it was Google Earth with poor resolution imagery, but it did look to be the best way. If it didn’t work then it probably wasn’t worth the effort. When I got to it, things got  a bit more complicated than I’d hoped. If there was somehow snow on the little waterfall in the winter, it sure wasn’t there anymore. I took off my skis and booted the scree and rocky soil on the left to get around it. On the way back down, I decided to abuse my crampons coming back down the same route. I’m a skier, downclimbing is scary!

Not long after that ordeal, I was in the alpine and finally moving fast. The sun was starting to cook though, it was go go go or go back time. I elected to go go go, and skinned all but the top 100m (then I booted). I quickly rattled off a bunch of pictures and changed over to go down. The descent had a fair bit of breakable crust, the arch-enemy of my skinny skis. I got caught up in it and ate it like a gaper, which coated the gopro so the footage is pretty much unusable. There were a few good pockets of nice powder though, surprisingly. But if you can’t depend on the next turn being pow as well, it doesn’t quite count. The west facing part after the couloir before treeline starts up again had a really supportive crust with a bit of pow on top, which the skis excel in. Cruising the flat gay pow on crust may have been the most fun part of the descent. Awesome summit and terrain though.

Up and around the corner
Mt Patterson and the Snowbird Glacier.
Looking south, Observation Peak N face is the highly glaciated one on the left
Seconds before disaster