Saturday, January 25, 2014

Kokanee Glacier Cabin

So let's get this out of the way right up front. On a scale from 1-10 this hut cabin whatever is an 11.

There's a micro-hydro plant. You want baseboard heaters? toasters? coffee makers? running hot and cold water? fridge? No problem. Indoor toilets? Check. There's an entire sewage and waste water treatment plant in the basement. The cabin sleeps 20 but only 12 are permitted in the winter (why?) so there's an unbelievable amount of space. It's completely over the top. Maybe that's good and maybe that's bad. I'm not sure. But I'm very glad we got the chance to see it.

The terrain here is brilliant. It's very compact with a little of everything on all aspects above and below treeline. We didn't see much new snow but had blue sky and great travel conditions every day.

We skied some steep north facing terrain.

Marveled at the ever growing surface hoar.

Drank Kokanee beer above it's namesake glacier.

Climbed a couple of peaks.

And said "hello" to Elliot in the old Slocan Chief hut.

Good fun.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Wheeler Cabin

This weekend Brenda lead the Beginner's Backcountry weekend in Rogers Pass for the ACC Okanagan.

It's not an easy trip to lead given the complex terrain that predominates in Rogers Pass. She has a four group leaders and chooses the most simple terrain you can possibly access in area. In fact the terrain is so simple that you can't help but worry that people will be bored out of their minds. But time and again we're amazed at just how happy people are to spend a couple of nights in the hut, get out on their skis and explore the area a bit.

Just look at that smile.

On day two we can usually able to split the group and visit some more interesting terrain. Here's Sean making it look easy.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Narao Trees

We woke up in Canmore to something like 30 or 40cms of fresh snow. The Lake O'Hara road looked impassable but the new truck made pretty short work of the snow once I got the hang of it.

There was a large group skiing up the road just before us, presumably going into the Elizabeth Parker Hut. Their skinny skis and huge packs made for gruesome trail breaking. They were dropping like flies within 500 metres of the trailhead. We eventually made our way past them and after about 2km Val lead us up into the trees.

It was fun skiing. Low angle with steep bits and widely spaced trees for the most part. And with all of the new snow it was an ideal destination.

Since we were expecting a tough drive back home over Rogers Pass we said our goodbyes after just one run as the others went up for more. If we'd known in advance just how bad the drive would be we would have just kept on skiing. But all's well that ends well and we were glad to ski at Narao. It's one of those destinations to keep in mind for when the conditions go south.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Pulpit Peak

Crossing the divide we met Brian, Shannon, Ross, Deanna, and Valerie at Lagans in Lake Louise after a night of car camping in Golden. It was great to see Brian who is now living in Yellowknife. Heading north on a very slippery highway 93 brought us to the south end of Hector Lake and a first look at the shoulder of Pulpit Peak.

Ambling across the lake in the sunshine we remarked on a first for us: warm temperatures and good snow in the Rockies!

Val's encyclopaedic knowledge of the area had us on top before long. Our usual late start didn't leave much time so after a quick bite it was skins off and down we went. Here are Brian and Brenda enjoying the run.

Following this up with pints and dinner at the Post Hotel it was a grand day out.