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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Spring in the Canadian Rockies and Purcells Part 2: Another TR/Photo&Video Dump

    In my last TR, I suggested that I might have to make a part 2 of our spring season here in SE BC kept on delivering. Part one is here:

    Well, it did, and today I finally worked up the courage to take on the TGR photo uploader once more to bring you that second part of my spring. This time there’s videos too, and just like last time I’ve linked to more in depth TRs on my blog.

    Anyway, the last report left off on a bit of sad note. Warm temps had created a nasty crust right up to 3500m, and after a particularly harrowing descent of Mt. Stanley’s north face I decided to take a week or so off from the alpine to regroup.

    May 18: The Clamshell

    Soon, the weather turned. With snow in the forecast I wanted to get back to feeling comfortable on my skis, so Ryan and I headed up to ski something mellow and close to home. Our plan A - a north facing couloir - proved in awful shape, so before too much time was wasted we cranked up Golden’s most iconic ski run instead: The Clamshell.

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    We climbed in the sun for a few hours only to get completely socked in at the summit. After finishing our food and summit beers, we finally gave up and dropped in after 1.5 hours of waiting. Vis or no vis it was still an 1000m corn run right back to the truck. Check out the video for some creative low tide moves from Ryan.

    More on that day here:

    May 22: Haddo/Aberdeen Double

    Then the snow arrived, dropping about 10 much needed cm in the alpine. After the clouds cleared, the temperature fell into a perfect melt freeze cycle. It was go time.

    First up, a classic (albeit one that doesn’t get skied very often) on Mt. Aberdeen with Ian and Andrew. An alpine start from Lake Louise saw us climbing into the alpenglow at sunrise.

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    We had time to bag Haddo Peak on our way, so we did that.

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    Then a fun scramble to the summit of Aberdeen.

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    We didn’t hang around the summit too long as the sun was packing a serious puch, so one by one we dropped in for a taste of damn near every snow condition there is - from ice, to crust, to cold pow. And some isothermal garbage at valley bottom of course.

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    Lots more photos and words:
    Last edited by m-ruta; 07-23-2017 at 02:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    May 25: Mt. Victoria: N Peak, N Face Direct

    Later in the week, conditions remained bomber, so Ian and I decided it was time for something big, not to mention a little redemption. Another alpine start had us bushwhacking up a creek in the dark en route to the North Face of Mt. Victoria; a line we had bailed off earlier in the season.

    As we hit the basin below our line, first light triggered some thunderous serac fall. A few seconds later chunks of ice rolled over our route and we stopped to have a think. It settled right down after the initial input, so we booked it under the short section of exposure to the base of the climbing. Then up some low angle ice on the toe of the glacier to gain the face.

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    We topped out on the fairly technical 1900+m route in less than 8.5 hours, which we were pretty psyched on. On the summit, we had an impromptu moment of silence for our friend Trevor Sexsmith (angrysasquatch here on TGR). Last September, a tiny windslab let go, carrying Trevor over a 100m cliff on another aspect of the Victoria massif. He was killed instantly.

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    We spent a while on the summit after that, enjoying the perfect bluebird day. Then we dropped into a equally perfect descent. The normally convoluted ice face was in incredible skiing condition, featuring cold pow almost the entire way back down. By virtue of the stellar snow year, we were able to ski the face about as directly as ever seems possible through the three major icefalls which make up the line.

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    More here, including an encounter with a very hungry double bergschrund:

    June 12: Commander Mountain NE Face and The Cleaver N Face

    Between work, weather conditions and life obligations it took another couple of weeks for Ian and I to get back out for another ski. This time we set our sights on the Purcells, and two very different descents on the Jumbo Icefield.

    We slept at the trailhead and got moving around 2 am as I recall. By first light we were on the icefield and skinning toward Commander Mountain - a major Purcells 11000er.

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    Around 7 hours into the day we made the summit. I’d been up there before, but was shut down on the NE face by the nuclear summer solstice sun. This time, though, the murder orb would have no such success. This steep line was going to be ours. We figured the average angle of the 400m face to be about 55 degrees, so we took our time skiing it. The upper face was scary, but the lower 2/3rds were glorious and we skied out onto the glacier, elated on a probable first descent and our steepest line of the season.

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    We had lunch at the base of the line and started slogging again to the summit of The Cleaver.

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    We gained it quickly, and by 4PM we were dropping into its N face for a little leftover cold pow, followed by 1000m of corn back to our hiking boots. I’m convinced that the Jumbo Icefield contains the best June turns in the area, although further research will be necessary to confirm.

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    That was pretty much the last interesting thing I did. Now it’s time for some summer skiing. Despite a miserable heat wave, the snowpack around here is hanging on quite nicely, so fingers are crossed for a few more good turns.
    Last edited by m-ruta; 07-23-2017 at 02:55 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Nice work, man. Great looking country.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Maine Coast
    Great trip report. Purrrfect with my Sunday morning coffee.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Northern BC
    Well done. Thanks for sharing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Solid work!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Cheers all!

    cat in January, your commitment to your username is commendable.

    Some mellow July stoke to keep it rolling:

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