Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rainbow Drop

It took me allll day a few years ago to get to the top of rainbow mountain w Pascal via the SE ridge passing false summit after false summit. When we arrived a helicopter dropped a group of skiers right on the summit beside us. We did one run on E glacier and I told myself that was the last time that I would climb rainbow from valley bottom. A heli drop is clearly a much more sophisticated way of visiting this popular mountain right across the valley from Whistler. The plan was to get dropped up high and then do a number of laps in the alpine / at tree line. There was a cloud cap on the summit, the helicopter went in for a closer look but it wasn't going to be able to land  there so it dropped us on a nearby shoulder. 

I'm not sure if that is a smile or a grimace - Whistler Blackcomb in the background photo cred Jake

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Dog Climbs Couloirs

You can see this 300m chute from almost everywhere in Squamish - and  its been a target of Cam and I for awhile now so we decided to give it a go this week. I was excited to get out on skis with both Cam and the King and Queen of the Squamish Valley. It was t-shirt weather as we left sea level at Squamish and drove up some logging rds to the the start of the ski around 12:30. I tried to get Andrew to duck down in the car so nobody would wonder why I was driving a homeless pedophile around in the delica but he refused.

We drove to about 700m and started the hour and a quarterish skin up the logging rd. The snow was a lot more isothermic from the sunshine over the past few days than I had expected but it was still great to be out. We approached the couloir and noted that a big slide had come down in the past few days. This was not good news for the skiing conditions but was good news from a safety standpoint of climbing up it. We skinned as high as we could and then threw our skis on our backs and started bootpacking.

The firm surface was pretty difficult to kick boots into at many places, we actually found that it was best to follow the bits of avalanche debris that was left in the couloir. The surface bed elsewhere was so hard that the snowboarders needed me to go first and use my hard boot to kick in foot holes. the dog however, had no problem at all and even fell asleep while standing halfway up. Gorgeous views of Squmaish and the surrounding areas from the top. The way down was survival skiing at its best. Back to the car by 7pm  - got to love spring time for long hours of daylight.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Snowzone....Kind of

Got out to the Duffy with a good crew of Squamolians on a chilly Saturday - we headed to 'Snow Zone' pretty much as far east as you can go on the Duffy Lake rd for skiing. Started up the Blowdown Creek FSR in the cold, had our heads down going so quickly that we missed the turn off the first time. Easy skinning up to the end of the FSR at which point we headed a little too high to cross the large avalanche path where I felt like I was a mouse trapped by a whole bunch of thick alders. We traversed the burn and ended up above the col on the ridght side. We decided to keep going higher up the ridge as the skiing was probably not going to be very good in the alpine and a bit sketchy avalanche wise. The snowpack was very thin and sugary in the area but it could certainly be a spot  to return to on a good snow year. Found a highpoint on the ridge and then skied back down through the trees. Good skiercross course on the way out I can't remember but I probably beat Eric, just like on a bike.
The old close you eyes, point and, go that way navigation trick

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Revelstoked - Brock Dock Ski Trip Ep 4

Somehow I lived with four individuals at University in Kingston who took up an interest in backcountry skiing. Now I can't say that I still like all of these individuals but it certainly is convenient that we have the same interests. About every other year since we finished up at Queen's we have gotten together for a ski generally alternating between Revelstoke and the Coast. This year it was Reveltsoke and timing seemed to be pretty good with the mid winter drought having ended a week prior and some clearish days in the forecast.

That a boy James

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Duffy Lake Rd - Chief Pascal

I cannot believe that it took until mid Feb to get out skiing on the Duffy. It snowed all week and with heightened avalanche danger we wanted to find somewhere safe to go with good skiing, Chief Pascal fit that bill nicely. The Delica chugged up the Duffy in about  an hour and a half from Squamish. Of note, there were ZERO cars in the Joffre Lakes parking lot, good to see that people were avoiding some of the more exposed terrain accessed from this point. We originally had seven + the dog in our group but three decided to break off and go ski some trees elsewhere. We headed up the Cerise creek trail  with Mags leading the way despite my best efforts to try to get her to calm down to conserve her energy. This was the deepest day that I had taken the dog on yet, and I was a little worried that she would be exhausted by the end of the day or just get stuck one of the many tree wells that had formed with the recent storm snow. The skin up was steep but not too technical and the new snow made for good grip. The trees on the E facing slope were a bit tight to have any good turns in especially with the low snow pack (about 1M more is needed to cover all of the deadfall).
Duffy Lake

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Coquihalla for Dummies - Nak Peak Ski

With the three weeks of high pressure finally coming to a close this past week, I needed to get out there. Unfortunately the Sea to Sky only got a dusting from a midweek storm so we decided to head to the Coquihalla which had reportedly gotten hit a bit harder. Our hopes were high on the drive up until we approached the pass and it really didn't look like there was much snow at all. We arrived at the falls lake parking lot around 9am to nearly 40 cars - last time I was here on a Saturday there were only two you think backcountry skiing is getting more popular?
Greg ripping it in front of this awesome cliff