Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lookout Col

Another day of clear blue skies found us on the way to Lookout Col with great views of Sir Donald and everywhere else. The guys were lucky with the weather this year.

We had a vague idea of doing the traverse but discretion won the day and we settled for simply enjoying the views into the Asulkan side of the col.

We stayed hard skier's left on way down and it was much better than the roly-poly route right down the middle.

This was the end of my mini-vacation with the boys but I would see them again later in the week to fly into Campbell Icefields.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Zoiks it was -18C inside the camper when I woke up. A hot coffee restored motivation and soon I was out the door to meet M & D at the Wheeler Hut. We plodded up the Asulkan Valley accompanied by the infernal racket of Damon's squeaky NTN bindings.

The "drought layer" was very much on people's minds with good reason. Two interesting things in this photo I think:

One is the obvious avalanche just behind the hut. Never seen that one pull out before. The crown looked to be about 1.5 metres tall and it ran a surprisingly long distance, just about reaching the moraine where the up track is usually located. The second is the almost total lack of tracks above the hut even after two blue bird days. None across the valley on the Dome side either. Everyone was taking it easy.

And so so did we with a conservative route up towards the 7-steps before pulling the skins and skiing down the wind effected snow.

Fun. Cold! We scurried back to the hut for beer and burritos.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Balu Pass

A short day behind the hotel with special guests Martin and Damon. A little sketched by the stability we gave up on 8812 Bowl and diverted down Hospital Gully (I think that's what it's called). Fun, steep, great snow. Then to Balu Pass and up the ridge towards 8812 to ski a couple of laps on looker's right of the headwall. A freezing day but nice to see the sun.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Flat Creek

Come on...-24C!? I've been in the Okanagan too long for this. Anyway it was another cold morning and still no significant snow after 3 weeks. Keen to avoid the busier areas on a BC long weekend we headed up Flat Creek towards the slide paths on Mount Smart. We last visited these slides way back in 2008.

At least the cold temps made the creek crossing easy.

And the surface hoar was spectacular.

We worked our way up to around 1800m and called it a day. The skiing was surprisingly fun.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Albert Canyon

This was an exploration day near Albert Canyon just east of Revelstoke. We hoped to locate the actual Albert Canyon as it appears in so many historic railway photographs.

McCord Museum

It was a cold, cold morning and we really felt sorry for this fellow near the campground.

Research on Google Earth suggested that we should head east along the tracks so that's the way we went.

At first following a logging road through a recent clear cut.

Until forced to ski along side the tracks.

It was a little tedious but before long the canyon just appeared out of nowhere alongside the tracks.

We seriously had no idea it was there until right on top of it. It's so steep and narrow that when looking across from a slight distance we didn't even realize it was there. It's difficult to convey a sense of scale in these photos but it's a really, really long way down.

We tried to match the location with some old-timey photographs. You have to use your imagination but you can see the outline of this peak in the distance.

Again with this one where you can make out the old stone platform.

Sitting in the sun eating lunch we spotted a coyote loping up the tracks towards us. We crouched behind the trees and either he didn't notice us or just didn't mind that we were there. These are the best photos we could get from our semi-hidden position.

Of course this post wouldn't be complete without a photo of a modern day train passing by.

It's interesting to see the mini ecosystem than has sprung up along the tracks.

Little critters make a dash across the open space to pick up grain that has fallen from the cars.

It's fun to visit these old places which once figured prominently in Canadian history.

Sunday, February 02, 2014


A very cold trip up to the Coquihalla to meet Dave. There's been no new snow for weeks and the Coquihalla is as dry as anywhere else. Markhor has a north facing bowl which is surprisingly close to the highway. We had come this way twice before during the summer when trying to do the Markhor-Needle Traverse. It wasn't great but we made the most of it and found some good skiing