Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Perley Rock part deux

A nice day on Sunday and we opted for Perley Rock. Most of the terrain here is north or north-west facing. We hoped this would help us to avoid the nasty crust. It worked for the most part but it was amazing how even a tiny change in aspect would make a huge difference. You could be knee deep in lovely powder on one turn and then fighting for your life in death crust on the next.

Occasionally, just occasionally, I question the wisdom of telemark skiing. Tight trees in breakable crust is one of those occasions...stuff'll make Donald Rumsfeld cry.

We traveled as far as the last slope just below Perley Rock proper where we kicked off a small slide and called it a day.

The most open and direct run down was crusty and so we were forced to ski a line to skiers left from what would have been optimal. Still it was all good fun and we each took a turn entertaining the others with good skiing punctuated by spectacular face plants.

I don't think I'd venture up this way with any less stability than what we had today. From a distance the trees tend to suggest a somewhat safer route but in reality there are broken off stumps and every tree has had it's uphill branches ripped of.

Sir Donald (r) and Uto (l). We've climbed Uto. Sir Donald awaits

Ross near our high point

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hermit Meadows'ish

We met up with our good friend Ross on Friday night at the Rogers Pass hotel. We know Ross from our days in Montreal. Since then he's moved to Edmonton and started his own business called Springboard. We hadn't seen him in...well, far too long. It was great to catch up. We'll be seeing him again in April on the trip to Icefall Lodge and then again in June when he passes through on his way to Oliver for a half-ironman. When it rains it pours.

So where to ski this weekend? It's a rare day when you have to hunt around for good snow in Rogers Pass. But after receiving two meters of snow during the first two weeks of February there has been almost no snow since. This combined with a temperature inversion and bright sunny days has formed a crust on any aspect that saw the sun.

Our cunning plan was to do the Tupper Glacier traverse. Mount Tupper has a long east-west ridge and we thought the crust wouldn't have formed on the north side of the ridge.

The forecast wasn't great and as we climbed up through Hermit Meadows the clouds got lower and lower until soon we couldn't see a thing. By one o'clock or so we were positioned just below the Tupper Ridge and it was really clagged in. There was however an occasional sucker hole so we decided to hunker down to wait and see. If the light improved we'd commit to going up, over, and down the other side. If not...right back the way we came.

To make a long story short we headed back down. Rats. The clouds did lift as we skied down but it would have been too late if we'd waited an longer. Next time.

Brenda taking advantage of a break in the clouds


Mount MacDonald. Lots of north facing stuff here!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Asulkan Cabin

The plan for the weekend was to spend Friday night at the Asulkan parking lot and to get an early start on Saturday morning perhaps meeting the crew somewhere around the Asulkan Cabin. However the road conditions were diabolical east of Sicamous. There was heavy snow falling and visibility was near zero. It was a white knuckle drive as far as Revelstoke where we decided enough was enough.

Turned out that we weren't the only ones. The pull-off just outside of town was packed with rigs. We threaded our way into a quiet corner and settled in for the night as the snow continued to pile up. I love having a vehicle that we can sleep in.

A pre-dawn start on Saturday had us at the parking lot by first light.

There were already a few early risers departing from the Wheeler hut. We helped them to extricate their cars from the lot (one guy twice) had a quick breakfast and hit the trail by 7:30.

There was some trail breaking but it wasn't too bad. We ran into our group on the steep slope just below the hut. After lightening our packs of some of the overnight gear we joined them for a short run and then continued on up. A quick lunch and there was still just enough time for a quick jaunt above the hut before it got dark. The days are certainly getting longer now.

The strange thing about the Asulkan Cabin this weekend was that there was almost no wind. Virtualy unprecedented. Check the video in this post from November to see what it's normally like up here. A visit to the outhouse was practically a pleasure (if you could overlook the threat from the barrel "stalagmite").

We woke to a beautiful sunny day on Sunday and enjoyed some of the best skiing we've had this season. On this trip we met Dave and Henry and we look forward to skiing with them again some time soon.

Video below and more photos here.