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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    TR: GAH Sunrise Lodge - Mar. 18-25, 2017

    A crew of 14 humans from the Lower 48 headed north to Golden to check out Golden Alpine Holidays’ Sunrise hut in the Esplanade Range. We got in a couple days at Kicking Horse on either end -- that place rules.

    Sunrise is a heli-in touring operation. We packed our food and skipped the guides - damn cheap. And we lucked out on our cabin custodian -- Brad Harrison -- who was one of the four guys who started GAH in the 1980s. He knew every damn tree, and had the energy of a 19 year old on Monster (and roids?) despite being 60+. He no longer owns GAH, but it was his baby, and you could tell.

    We packed the important stuff -- beer.


    PC: Bernard Rocca

    First day featured exceptionally sketchy avy conditions. Lots of snow, with warming peaking just after we skied. The whole N face of Panorama Dome slid while we skinning below it on Wisted Creek. As we skinned back up the creek, we heard the booming of massive avalanches --dozens of such booms -- echoing around the mountains. We learned the next morning that that 24 hour period saw the biggest large avalanche cycle in that part of BC for 30 years. 100+ Class 4 avalanches reported. Some webbysites covered it too: http://powdercanada.com/2017/03/aval...-march-update/ and http://snowbrains.com/avalanche-phot...inue-to-occur/ The Low Probability/High Consequence (LP/HC) remained for the week on any N faces and especially any aspect with overhanging hazard (cornice, rockfall, etc.). We played it slow and eventually opened up the area.

    After we scared the bejeezus out of our selves, carbombs were in order:



    The man, the myth, the legend - Brad H.

    PC: Bernard Rocca

    We woke up to this as our daily view....



    ...and kicked off the day with brekkie and daily sando-making "missions"...


    PC: Bernard Rocca

    ...and then skied our faces off --- all day long! Here's B on Dessert


    Feeling pretty good about the snow conditions. Ridge of Melting Face visible right behind my head, and Sunrise Lodge just below my right elbow. Edge of Panorama Dome visible at frame left.



    Did I mention that the snow conditions were excellent!?



    Top of Panorama Dome - the pano kept wrapping and wrapping out of frame.



    Skintrack from the hut went right next to the Ridge of Melting Faces. Our faces melted in yearning to take out those lines, but with the LP/HC conditions, the perfect avy-prone slopes, and the creek with massive holes in the run-out of the Ridge, we opted to play it safe. Lots of regrets about that, but better to slay another line than your last.



    More Melting Faces with Pano Dome just below.





    Not sure where this was, but it looked like this all week:


    PC: Bernard Rocca

    Cairn and crew


    PC: Bernard Rocca

    Cairn Peak (just above the hut) - Brad and one of our crew kicked off the cornice and set off this nice Class 3.



    Headed out to Paradise Ridge and to Cupola Mountain, highest mountain in the Esplanades.


    PC: Bernard Rocca

    Almost to Cupola




    PC: Bernard Rocca


    Summit:


    PC: Bernard Rocca

    Lots of teletubby skittle dorks on this trip. I doubt we'll ever see any vids emerge, but if we do, I'll post em up. Top of Pano Dome.



    Pano Dome had awesome N-facing steep trees, with lots of pillows at the bottom of the runs. You can see the old, now ragged and filled-in, crown line from earlier in the week.
    Messy:



    Water came from Sunrise Lake, a 100m skin with these torture devices to carry the load.


    PC: Bernard Rocca

    We eventually made it over into Upper Mayvill Creek, skiing some nice alpine....


    PC: Bernard Rocca
    (Did you find the skier on first glance??)


    ....into mind-blowing pillow terrain down low that we dubbed "Yu's Universe".



    More of the "YuUniverse". You can see of our tracks...



    Coming back out of Upper Mayvill Creek



    Messy tweaked his shoulder on a 5 stage pillow. The only injury of our trip. In the pillows directly above his head, you can see where we broke a pillow and started a little Class 2.



    The Lodge was small, but super efficient. Comfortable for 14 + 1 custodian.


    PC Bernard Rocca

    Drunk jenga


    Pano Dome w/ Sunrise Lodge from Avalanche Peak.



    In sum -- We did a lot of this:


    PC: Bernard Rocca

    Some of this:


    PC: Bernard Rocca




    PC: Bernard Rocca

    And it was rad!

    Alas, all good things must come to an end. (Ask me in person about how the heli was too overloaded to take off, and the pilot had to very sketchily set us back down and kick one rider out...which was somehow made us light enough...or so he said.)


    PC Bernard Rocca

    Leaving us a VERY satisfied crew. We'll be back for more!

    Many thanks to AKBruin for teaching me how to use a computer -- and post a TR to the forums -- they do not make it easy. And super big thanks to BGnar Rocca for his unreal photos! Hat tip to sillybunt2 for all his beta going in to the trip.
    Last edited by meter-man; 04-28-2017 at 10:16 AM.
    sproing!

    FS: crampons, lightweight winter down sleeping bag, and stuff https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...ost?highlight=

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    3,561
    Bad fucking ass! Great photos and documentation. Soooo jealous, although the avy stuff scares the bejesus out of me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Tetons
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    5,885
    GAH has some nice terrain! Been to the vista hut a couple times. Plenty of fun! Awesome tr! Thx for sharing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    in the trench
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    Damn that looks good. Looks like you played it right and saw some amazing terrain. Thanks for sharing it

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Couloirfornia
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    8,730
    Excellent TR kemosabe.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    583
    nice work

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    SLC
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    Sweet action, looks like you guys crushed it, and congrats on not dying!! Another hut to add to the list...

  8. #8
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boissal View Post
    Sweet action, looks like you guys crushed it, and congrats on not dying!!
    Ha, thanks. Great Success!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    11,307
    Nice shots. Pillows are GAHs strength!

  10. #10
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    May 2011
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    Sonoma & Truckee
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    Awesome. That place is on my to do list for sure.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    2
    Looks epic. I have to say though, for a bunch of people with families to forgo local guides in unfamiliar terrain and snowpack during high avy conditions to save a few bucks.....is that really worth it?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Cascades
    Posts
    430
    Looks like an awesome trip! I was at another heli-access touring hut (Ymir Lodge, near Nelson) March 10-13; sounds like we had similar snowpack but no bluebird days for us.

    Quote Originally Posted by streetdogs View Post
    Looks epic. I have to say though, for a bunch of people with families to forgo local guides in unfamiliar terrain and snowpack during high avy conditions to save a few bucks.....is that really worth it?
    They probably decided on guides/no guides and catering/no catering sometime in the fall before their trip, well before they knew the snowpack was going to be dangerous. We had a similar experience on our trip. Fortunately our custodian was very helpful with terrain selection, and it sounds like Brad was pretty damn familiar with the terrain.

    Do you normally tour with a guide? Do you normally make snowpack assessments when you're out touring, or do you mostly rely on the bulletin? I don't know the Sunrise terrain, but it looks like there are a number of low-angle zones to get after when the snowpack is unfriendly.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    231
    nice work! i had a similar experience with the avy conditions 3 yrs ago at vista lodge. tons of drool-inducing terrain right out of the hut but tree-snapping slides popping off everywhere had us tip toeing around all week. hut trips are so fun... even without the shredding, there's something so therapeutic about hanging out in the mountains for a week with friends.

  14. #14
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by raypruit View Post
    hut trips are so fun... even without the shredding, there's something so therapeutic about hanging out in the mountains for a week with friends.
    Definitely. This place even had an awesome wood fired sauna that was a mandatory post-ski stop. Repeated cycles of schvitzing aka sauna/pow-diving/sauna burnt through all the lactic acid and left us fresh all week long.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    3,180
    This is awesome thanks for the photos and story! That face melting face is, face melting. Brings back memories of a trip I did to Meadow Lodge a couple years ago. Possibly the most epic week of my life. Thanks to Z for inviting me on that trip of a lifetime. It makes me a little sad that I lost all the pics. We had sketchy stability too but sessioning those pillow lines all week was unreal! I had never done anything like that and it just got better and better as the week went on and we got to know the terrain. Nothing like living right up in terrain like that for a week with a bunch of other like minded ski freaks!
    "The skis just popped me up out of the snow and I went screaming down the hill on a high better than any heroin junkie." She Ra

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    vernon
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    2,391
    Nice. When did you guys go?.....edit read title....
    www.skevikskis.com Check em out!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    117
    Looks like you guys played the terrain well and crushed it. What a stroke of luck to have Brad as custodian and a good crew to share it with. It doesn't get much better than that.

  18. #18
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    May 2009
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    inpdx
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    11,860
    Sweet trip!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    F'n Midwest again
    Posts
    2,159
    awesome TR.
    Great photos and good avy risk management.

    I remember seeing a video of Erik Hjorleifson demonstrating the water retrieval technique
    Aggressive in my own mind

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Sonoma & Truckee
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoarhey View Post
    awesome TR.
    Great photos and good avy risk management.

    I remember seeing a video of Erik Hjorleifson demonstrating the water retrieval technique
    The Way I See It or Attack of La Nina. Both have great segments at GAH.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    NorCal
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    2,535
    Awesome TR. Looks like a great trip.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Your Mom's House
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    Bump because I missed this and it's $$$$$
    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    All ye punterz! Leave thine stupid heavy skis in the past, or at least in the resort category, for the age of lightweight pussy sticks is upon us! Behold! Keep up with the randocommandos on their carbon blades of shortness! Break thine tibias into spiral splinters with pintech extravagance!

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