I tried for this Haddo/Aberdeen double last year but wasn’t feeling the serac hazard at the time. I tried again for it yesterday with Shaun. The summer route ascends directly up the glacier tongue to the north, but in the winter there is a better route for skiing. It goes up from the west side, up moraine slopes and thru a couloir which spits out ontop of the lower glacier. From there, there is a bypass for the upper seracs on the left side, and then you’re on the upper glacier with an easy slope toward Haddo Peak and a gnarly ascent to Aberdeen. Continue reading Aberdeen/ Haddo
I went to ski Haddo peak’s gnarly east/north face today. The lower half is north facing, then at a cliff bypass it turns to an east aspect. Then after that there is another bypass onto a small hanging face leading to the summit. I was pretty confident about everything but the last bypass, it is pretty well impossible to see from anywhere but on the face itself. If it didn’t work out, it was just a very short section I’d be missing out on, so it should be a good ski regardless. Since the upper, sketchy part was east facing, it meant another early day to not have the sun be the reason it couldn’t be done.
|View from Saddle Pass at 5am. 1s exposure and no tripod so it’s not great detail|
Wow, what a great day. Got some glacier learnin’ from Andrew and Shaun, tagged a sweet mountain in perfect weather, skied great deep powder snow on a spectacular face, and then perfect corn snow the rest of the way to the car. It’s days like this that stick with me through the summer months and keep me going.
Up at 2am, skins on at 4am.. yeah it’s getting a bit ridiculous. We went up the standard route up the glacier tongue, instead of using a shortcut ramp with exposure below due to a hard snow crust. There was a skintrack from another party heading up the ramp as well. Once we got up onto the flat glacier we saw them halfway up the face already. Andrew slept in the parking lot and said he heard a car door slam at 1:30 am. Well, I guess they do deserve it. We met up with another group of four who used the shortcut route and caught up to us. Both groups decided to sit and wait for the early birds to ski down, then make a joint push up.
|Approaching the glacier toe|
|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: http://www.kevinannalaphotography.com. 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. Continue reading Mt. Weed
With this fresh blast of winter and the nice perma-overcast skies, I went to do a nice 8-ridge traverse at and around Kicking Horse. There are 8 ridges between Terminator 2 peak and Dogtooth Ridge. Seven N facing couloirs, then a East face (wanted to do the Little Tooth on Dogtooth ridge) and then ski all the way back down to the car, no skinning back across. Fresh snow, the right weather to bust trail all day long, gentle ascent slopes, gnarly descents, nobody on the mountain, makes sense right? Google Earth puts it at 2450m, so it’s probably in reality just a couple hundred meters short of 3000m (GE is way out when you go over ridges and the like). I found good dry snow just a couple hundred meters above the parking lot, things seemed up. However once in the alpine, the chutes I dropped on T2 and T1 had definitely slid pretty large prior to the fresh snow. T1 was even down to ground in spots, and the fresh snow had some goopy lubricating layer between it and the old snow that wanted to wet sluff pretty hard. Considering KH has a wicked bootpacking program that mashes down all the nasty early season layers, and I was planning on going out of the boundary where that wouldn’t be in place, I expected the rip to ground issue to become even more prevalent as I went further north. So after T1 I ripped it back to the car.
Now for the main event. Finally, redemption on the Narao couloirs! There was reportedly 45cm of fresh snow in the Lake Louise area, so they should be refreshed and ready to go. I wasn’t going to do something stupid like wake up at a sane hour and risk getting skunked again, so I woke up at 3am, on skis at 4:30. Once I got up into the bowl at 6:15, things were looking like a ski bum’s wet dream. Perfect slightly fluted pow up top, the usual sluff down the guts of the coolie, and a wallop of alpenglow for the lines to bask in.
|But one time he break cage and he “get this” and then we all laugh. High five|
It looks like wintery conditions and powder snow are about to be done for the season. Everyone saw this warm spell a while off, and to that end I’ve been skiing as much as I could over the past six days. Here’s an account of what I’ve been getting up to:
Thursday: Mt Niles solo trip-
This is covered already here:
I just added a video of it, if you want to check it out
Friday: Narao Couloirs attempt #1
I woke up for a reasonable person’s idea of an early start for Friday, and went up with Ryan to ski one of the Narao peak couloirs. Once we got up there though, sluff was already pouring off the walls of the couloirs. We chilled out for a while, hopeful that the sun would clear off the easterly aspects and give us a window, or that the forecasted cloud would show up. Neither happened, and we went home. As Ryan said, sometimes it’s just a walk in the mountains. It was sunnier and warmer the day before, and I really expected that the solar input would’ve completed doing its thing and clear off the unstable snow, but you can’t always get what you want. Or as I was to find out, I would never get what I want on Narao.
|You will never get this, la la la la -the sun, in a Borat voice|
This mountain had never really registered on my radar until I went to ski Sherbrooke lake. It’s just a really cool looking mountain with a wicked looking south face. Not gnarly, just really sweet looking. So since I’m recently parted with my fat freeride-oriented touring setup and just on my 90mm spring setup, I thought it would be a good objective for a fast and light day trip.
It was forecasted to snow the day and night before, and what better conditions for a big face than powder?! However, in order to ski it before the powder turned to wet slide avalanche prone glop or just another sun crust, I had to ski it really early in the morning before the sun had much time on the south aspect. So I woke up at 2am and got to the Great Divide Lodge and skins on by 3:45. Solo trips are nice because you can just plow on and not worry about group dynamics, and get to learn how fast you can really go. I got to the far end of the lake in an hour, and the base of the mountain in another two hours.
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
Last spring sometime I noticed a nice looking skiff of snow in a couloir on Boom Mountain using Google Earth. I headed up in late May to see what I could see, but the views were fleeting and inconclusive. It was also obvious it was past season for it too. Over the summer I found a great picture of it, and it’s been on my mind ever since.
|Photo: Manfred Delong, used with permission|
My buddy Ryan and I went yesterday to check out a sick looking face in Fortitude, wow what an adventure. Steep uptracks, cornice tunneling bootpacks, ski traversing a face to get on the line and then by far, the most full-on skiing I’ve ever done.