Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vaux Moraines

We paid a visit to the Vaux Moraines this weekend. This is the primarily west facing terrain between West Terminal and Sir Donald.

Our first time here and already the third new area we have visited in Rogers Pass this winter. We're usually lucky to check out even one new area each season! That's what stability and visibility will bring you.

On the way in the heel piece on Nick's Dynafit binding bit the dust. He somehow managed to lash his heel down with a boot lace and strap for the descent. The second time we've seen a Dynafit break recently.

It was another stellar day and this called for an extended lunch in the sunshine.

After lunch we climbed up just a little further to get right on top of the moraine.

From here we had a glorious run in the warm sun.

Amazingly for January the lower slopes that angled slightly more southerly had become wet in the afternoon soon. We bailed on that and climbed back up for a second run on the shady strip adjacent to the ridge of Terminal.

Wrapped it all up with poutine and a cuppa at The Nomad. More please.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wheeler Hut with the ACC

Safe. Fun. Educational. Pick any two.

Brenda organized the second annual Beginner Backcountry trip for the ACC this weekend. Held at the Wheeler Hut it was grand affair with 4 trip leaders, 14 participants, and an organized dinner for everyone.

Despite the beginner tag there was a wide range of experience levels on the trip and it was a challenge to manage everyone's expectations. Combined with the fact that there is no true "beginner" terrain in Rogers Pass makes this a tricky trip to organize. Brenda did a great job and everyone had a fun (and safe and educational) weekend. Good visibility and stable conditions helped too!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Lookout Col Traverse

One more weekend of good stability in Rogers Pass before the avalanche hazard would begin peaking again mid-week. Oddly we had never done the Lookout Col Traverse, a very popular tour, so we headed up towards the toe of the Illecillewaet on Saturday morning with that goal in mind.

The direct route to Lookout Col follows the roly-poly terrain on climbers right adjacent to the big lateral moraine. It can be tedious work and we never seem to put in a decent track this way. So instead we opted to try one of the more central ramps which angle from lower left to upper right. You can kind of make out the ramps in this photo:

Yeah that sucked. We half climbed a waterfall, ended up too high, and had to drop down around the toe of the glacier before climbing back up to the col. Now we know. Off with the skins and down the other side into terra incognita.

Wow, it was a whole new world to us. First a long steep run into broad bowl that was bordered on one side by some very skiable looking broad chutes. Then we made our way across the gentle reaches of the lower bowl and into the trees on skiers left which mark the edge of The Ravens slide paths.

Skins on for a short climb up through the trees before popping out high up on the Ravens, giving a unique view down into the Asulkan Valley. It looked like a ski run at the local resort.

Boot top powder all the way down from here and then the way too familiar track back to the railbed.

A grand day out. Why haven't we done this before?