Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reading Week Part 3:

Act 4: The Finale

Back during the avalanche course, we were looking up at some of the other lines in the cirque that we traversed. I was instantly pumped on making another traverse out of one of the prominent lines we spotted. Steve (SRT) and Bill were not as stoked on the line as I was, and I thought it would be impossible to convince them to join me on that. However, an upslope storm earlier in the week that dropped 13cms at Nakiska quickly changed their minds.

Nope, not worth skiing...

We initially planned this traverse for Sunday, as we were going to hit up Roger's Pass on Saturday, but bailed due to unstable snow. The snow on the drier side of the divide was more stable, allowing us to poke up into the alpine ("I'll poke you in the alpine"). And Max would be joining us for his first ever day of touring. I was a little worried as there was a pretty demanding day ahead. Oh and not to mention he was rocking the classic Alpine Trekker (Day wrecker) adaptors! Bill bailed as he was still feeling the effects of a failed backflip from Thursday.

Another issue was that the final descent back to the road spits us out 5km from the trailhead parking lot. No problem as we stashed an old Trek Antelope in the bushes where our descent would end. It turned into a human powered traverse for me as I rode the bike back to the car at the end, and then picked up the boys.

We made good time on the snowshoe trails from the trailhead, and used our new route finding skills to help us make our way up to a bench to begin the final grind to the top of the descent. Visibility was variable, but we were able to gain the col. Max was climbing well, and only really suffered on the final push.

Dug a hasty pit at the top and found a couple of suspect surface hoar layers. We found the February 10th layer well preserved, but with only 15cm of loose snow on top, but popped under and easy compression test. The January 24th layer was a little spookier, failing with a sudden pop under moderate compression at around 35cm down. Kept this in mind while skiing the 300ish meter straight shot down the chute. After watching Steve and Max get pwned by hidden rocks near the bottom, we discussed our options for the rest of the day.

  1. Continue over the next col, the same descent we did last Saturday in the avalanche course. A fun descent, but an annoying exit following the edge of a creek, and requires another 200m of climbing
  2. Descend down through the cirque from the bottom of the chute. No more climbing required, and the exit is an old logging road.

Both options finish off around the same point. Max and Steve wanted to go back to Edmonton for whatever reason, so we chose option 2.

After dropping off a bench into some loose trees, we found ourselves standing on top of another 250m descent through the trees. $$$$$$. Skied out to the bottom, got the bike and ripped towards the car; riding in ski boots. Have to go back there for option 1 just to say that I have done it.

Max rocking a little bit of big mountain tuck

A good end to a good reading week that included:

-Listening to nothing but Top 40 (or Indian music if we were out of range) the whole trip. Probably heard "Bad Romance" 20 times

-Adding some new vocabulary to the group. Biebs is short for Justin Bieber, who is 12

-All you can eat buffet at the Stoney Casino. The only thing that could be better is when it is half price on Thursdays

-getting shot down by both of the Avalanche course guides for bragging about how fast I am.

-Olympic themed drinking games. Never have the words "readjusted time", "double cork", and "quad" had so much meaning

-Bill's failed backflip attempt

-Free candy, free cover

-"Lurking" : lifties, Norwegians, googly-eyed cashiers (Googs), and female olympians

-Biking in ski boots

-Max's epicness: MAX beer cans, Uncle Ben's, Kim Mitchell


Hopefully more pictures to come


  1. Steve, you seem like a good candidate for a guest post eh? How about a review of the classic Yukon Mitts?