Saturday, January 14, 2017

Line of the Week: Mt. Storm couloir (Highwood)

Not to be confused with the windblasted Storm Mountain on the Continental Divide (described in Chic Scott's Summits and Icefields), Mt. Storm's north facing couloir is a striking feature visible from Highway 40 dropping from a notch in the west ridge. As Highway 40 over Highwood Pass is closed from December 1 until June 15, it can be hard to nail the conditions on this line: Full on winter instabilities before the gate drops, and possibly filled with runnels and debris by the time the gate opens. And like most other terrain at Highwood, the snow can be heavily wind affected.

The approach from the roadside parking just south of the main Highwood Pass parking and up through the Arethusa cirque is a little quieter than the pandemonium that goes on at the summit of the pass as people head towards either Ptarmigan or Pocaterra Cirques. The tour to the base of the line is interesting. First ski up the creek until the trees thin out. Then head up over some boulders, which may have minimal snow coverage, and ski out into the fan coming off of the north face of Mt. Storm.

Total Distance: 4.5km (add another 40km if you want to do this one between December 1 and June 15!)
Total elevation gain: 700m
Top elevation: 2850m
Line Length:250m

Other options: Arethusa cirque holds some good, short, low angle terrain. The bowl below the couloir can be good for a couple of laps. Look for the Arethusa south facing couloir in a future write up.

Hillmap Route

Other "Lines of the Week"
Other Highwood pass lines. 

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