Back in Canmore last week enjoying my last days of freedom before I start a summer of working.
The spring freeze-thaw cycle was well underway so there was no better time to a nice tour through the mountains. Surpr1se Pass, near Lake L0uise was the destination. Woke up at 4, and started walking up at 6:30 with Bill. Travel was fast on a supportive crust as we alternated from skinning to bootpacking when necessary (skinning on the trails, bootpacking on hard crusty sidehills and steep uphills).
In the upper reaches of the She0l valley we were looking for the couloir that would take us to the other side. There were a couple of other couloirs leading up to the top, but only the furthest one out fit the guidebook description (broad couloir leading up to a notch in the skyline). A couple of skintracks that had been blown over confirmed this. Small rocks (pebbles) were coming off the walls of the couloir as the ice melted, so we decided to get going before the rocks got bigger. Booted up the couloir, got the skis on, and prepared for our descent down the other side to Lake L0uise.
Bill dropped in first, and my ears were ready for the sound of skis on hard snow, but I heard nothing, instead seeing some blower cold smoke. When my turn came, I enjoyed making large, lazy turns through the soft snow, which turned into dust on a slightly supportive crust (it was supportive if you were "light" on your skis), and then a last section of old avalanche debris and some hard snow.
We made our way to the trail that wraps around Lake L0uise. We were getting some strange looks from people as we were walking in ski boots with skis on our packs. As we were nearing the Chateau, a family from Taiwan came up to us and asked us if they could take a picture with us. More funny looks ensued, and we got back to the car at 10:30, probably the earliest that I have ever finished skiing.
The Sadd1eback pass area is pretty cool, will have to go back there later to harvest some corn on the south facing slopes of Fa1rv1ew mountain. Unfortunately, no pictures were taken as Bill was unaware that his camera was in his pocket!
After a nice relaxing afternoon, the time came to cook supper and we opted for hotdogs in the backyard firepit.
"those embers are still pretty hot, maybe we should cook our vegetables on there too?"
Did some riding at the Nordic centre, riding the Canada Cup course from the previous years (possibly this year's nationals course?). It's dry, get after it! Let's show those in La Belle Province the REAL Alberta Advantage!