Saturday, March 05, 2016

Ursus Trees and 8812 Bowl

It was raining when we picked up the guys in Revelstoke. It rained on the drive up to the Pass and it was still raining as we skied away from the very quiet Visitor Centre. We were soaked to the core within 30 minutes. Honestly if any of us had wavered for just one second we would have bailed.

Thankfully none of use did and we were rewarded. Part way up Ursus Trees the rain turned to snow. Then a wind blew in that tugged at the all enveloping mist. Within just a few minutes there were patches of blue sky and our spirits rose. Our ski down through the trees is was surprisingly good.

The change in weather called for a change in plans. We quickly abandoned Ursus Trees and headed for Bruins Ridge to take Damon somewhere new.

The weather steadily improved as we climbed.

Then down in a completely untracked 8812 Bowl.

Not exactly cold smoke but considering how the day started it seemed pretty amazing to us.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Vaux Moraines (with Brian!)

A warm and foggy day on the Vaux Moraines.

Visibility was in and out all day.

But we got some turns in.

And came across this porcupine den that we first saw last weekend.

Did I ever share our video of the porcupine from Glacier Circle a few years ago?

Glacier Circle June 28-30 2008 from Andrew Parker on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dome Glacier with the ACC

Day two of the ACC Wheeler weekend that Brenda organized. It was great to catch up with some of the folks that we only see once or twice a year. Superb conditions on everything north facing but solar aspects were getting crusty. Winter is far too short.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Lookout Col with the ACC

For several years Brenda has organized a weekend outing for the ACC Okanagan. Based out of the Wheeler Hut it's a lot of work but she enjoys it and finds it rewarding.

It's a lot of responsibility for an amateur leader. Most of the challenge is to make intelligent terrain decisions throughout the day. That's obvious. I think we have enough knowledge of the area that under favourable conditions she (we) can do that. But when avalanche hazard is high and the visibility is poor, combined with a large and expectant group, the day has the potential to be stressful at best or to go pear shaped in a hurry at worst.

Realizing our limitations Brenda passed on responsibility for the trip to Sabina who is an ACMG assistant ski guide. She was happy to volunteer as an amateur leader for a couple of days.

Best. Decision. Ever.

First there was a Special Public Avalanche Warning issued for the weekend. Then a participant blew out her knee late on the first day and Sabina coordinated a helicopter extraction.

Above all we were grateful for Sabina's presence and to not be making the decisions. I'm not sure that we would have had the guts (presence of mind?) to call for a rescue. In the self-rescue scenario it would have been a long and drawn out operation that went well beyond nightfall. We had the resources but who knows how that would have played out for the victim? Or for the rest of the group doing the rescuing? Counter that against the risk taken on by the professional search and rescue personnel coming to our aid. Plus the cost. Is there an inherent responsibility for backcountry travellers to self-rescue in all but the most life threatening situations? Or should they use the system and resources available at their disposal when the need arises?

Every situation is different. In general we fall strongly into the latter camp. But having said that we also believe that the right decision was made in this case.

Definitely a learning experience. Went skiing. Took part in a rescue. Dug out a helicopter landing pad on the side of a hill. Learned that cell phones are good. Reaffirmed that VHF radios are good. Had philosophical discussions. It was an interesting day.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Corbin Pass

Corbin is fast becoming our "it's Sunday and we're tired" destination. It's not a small climb for us at around 1300m to the top, but the shorter drive and gentle logging road uptrack make it seem like an easy day. We finally got to show Martin some deep snow.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Monday, February 08, 2016

Lily Glacier via Loop Brook with Martin

In lieu of a hut trip this year Martin came out to spend a week at Damon's place in Revelstoke. Unfortunately Damon blew out his knee and we'd been away at Kokanee Glacier. But we did manage to get out for a few days with him. Our first trip was to the Lily on a tough day with bad light and crappy snow. It seems like we're always raving to our eastern friends about how good the skiing is in Rogers Pass but that whenever they visit the conditions have gone been shite. We made the best of it. And of course, hey, Martin was there!