Monday, May 05, 2008

Dome Glacier

Perhaps the last outing of the season? We'll see. We've been skiing for seven months now. There wasn't much snow in the Asulkan parking lot on Saturday morning. There still is lots of snow of course. But it's getting to that stage where you wonder if the 200 meters of good skiing you find at the end of five hours of slogging is really worth the effort. Still, as always, it's just good to be out.

Our destination for the day was the Dome Glacier. It's on the opposite side of the Asulkan Valley from that pitch on Young's Peak that we skied last weekend. It also faces mostly north so we hoped there would still be some dry snow once we got high enough. The Dome Glacier is on the sky line straight above Brenda here.

Fred suggested a short cut. We followed like lambs to the slaughter. 752 million groin-busting kick turns later we broke out of the trees and onto the open slopes beneath the dome.

We came across a small tree in the middle of nowhere that had been adorned with prayer flags. It was really strange. Strange that the prayer flags were there in the first place of course but also that of all the possible routes which we could have taken in this vast expanse of snow and trees we happened upon this one little tree that someone else had already chosen to adorn with prayer flags. It was nice.

A rare photo of me! Free-pivot tele bindings rule. Mount Castor in the background.

We topped out on a feature called The Cleaver which is a rocky rib that separates the remnants of the Asulkan Glacier from the Dome Glacier. It was tempting to scope out the Dome-Rampart col for a future trip but the motivation wasn't quite there for another 20 minutes of climbing. It was hot.

The skins came off and down we went. The snow was really nice for about 300 meters. Just on the edge of soft. Then all of a sudden it transitioned into sloppy wet goo and wham! The faceplants were thick and furious. I captured Steve on video hitting the deck as though he'd been shot.

The farther down we descended the nastier the snow became. Where it was steep we could deliberately set off small sluffs that slowly oozed downhill. Occasionally one would gather enough momentum to develop into a full blown wet snow avalanche. We'd hear it crash down noisily down into the valley a few minutes later.

At the end of the day we were visited by a curious pine marten. He was darn cute. I'd only ever seen martens before in huts where they are much less cute and much more noisy. This fella entertained us for a few minutes by climbing around in a tree and peering at us from only a few meters away. He then nonchalantly bounded away.

If this was indeed the end of the season then it was a nice way to end it.