Thursday, May 5, 2011

Haddo Peak

Yesterday was my first time ski touring in the Lake Louise area this season, which is pretty strange. I guess with highway 93 and K-Country being closer and in such good shape, there was no reason to go there this Winter. On the other hand, there is a reason why the mountains around Lake Louise are so popular, they are simply beautiful.
Andrew and myself always wondered if there is a way to ski off Haddo Peak. You can see it in a distance from the Highway, but the most upper cruxy part is somewhat hidden, until you are almost right there, so only one way to find out. Above you can see the line of ascent, we had to drop down from this point in order to gain a bowl behind the blue jacket. The rest is pretty obvious until the cliff band below the summit. 5 minutes after I took this shot Andrew lost one of his skies on the way down, and spend the next 3 hours looking for it.
This unfortunate incident left Ben Firth, Josh Briggs and myself the option to tackle the line without Mr. Steep.
The initial 500m of the climb are north facing, until the slope changes to a easterly aspect. Pretty serious avalanche country and spectacular surroundings, including a frontal view of Mt. Temples North face.

About 100m below the summit, from where I took the shot above, we made a group decision to turn back. The snow got isothermal in the heat of the day and we did not trust it anymore. We should have come earlier, but we did not expect it to be that hot at almost 3000m.

Ben in the lower part of the run, where we took a steep couloir far skiers left. Mt. Fairview and Lake Louise ski area behind.
The run down was actually really nice, some corn, some settled powder and a bit of hard crust lower down. After rejoining with Andrew we headed up to Surprise Pass for a bonus run and then skated out over the still frozen Lake to the Chateau.

In the parking lot I got a rare glimpse of some uncovered body parts of some of the most wanted men in the Canmore chick scene. No wonder those guys are so in demand, above "Mr. Sexler" showing just enough skin to make you crave for more, and below Mr. Firth just about to unveil his Big Ben. Gotta love those spring days!

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