Monday, April 23, 2012

Crowded Alps

A few days ago, the smell of spring in the air, combined with yummy mommies watching and high expectations of my kids, I tried to show off at the skateboard park. In hind sight it was the wrong move, but at the time it seemed to be right thing to do, although the last time I ventured on a skateboard 2 years ago ended with a 3 month shoulder injury and I should have known better. This time it was the ankle for a change, and I was really lucky that I got a away with a bad bruise and a few days on the couch. Although I missed out on one of the best weather and snow conditions this spring so far, I got to clean up my lap top a bit and ran into those pictures below from my last guiding Summer in Europe. 
In case you have never been in the alps before, try to avoid them from mid July on until at least mid August, unless you enjoy a lot of company from strangers and hidden elbow checks in order to take over the pole position.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

First ski tour with Luka

Almost exactly a year ago I had a chance to take Luka for a day of Heli Skiing. At that time I thought it is the coolest thing ever a dad can do with his 7 year old son. Then, a few weeks ago, Luka asked me if he could go ski touring with me one day. He saw me packing up for ski touring so often this Winter, either for work or personal outings, so that he must have thought that it can't be that bad... walking uphill for hours, only to get a few turns in.

So last Sunday I finally got my act together, thanks to 'fellow mountain guide' Tom Wolfe I got the proper kids touring gear, and we were off to K-Country while the girls were still in bed. This does not particularly mean we had an early start, the gals just enjoyed another extended sleep in session on the last day of Easter holidays. After a quick stop at the Bagel Co. for a coffee for dad and a cinnamon bun for Luka we reached the north chute of Mt. Buller 45min later.
All I can say now is that Luka was on fire the whole time. I thought we only go up for a couple hundred meters and call it the day, but he was pushing for the summit- so we kept going.
The steep top slope we boot packed straight up, which Luka found very exiting. There was about 25 cm of new powder on top of a supportive melt freeze crust, which was very confidence inspiring and made for great skiing.
Luka topping out on the corniced 'summit ridge' high above Spray Lakes, after 850m of vertical ascent.
A great run down and some treads downtown Canmore topped up the almost perfect day. I use the word 'almost' since Luka is still too young to properly celebrate the day with a beer, like his proud Papa. Now I know what makes a better day than Heli Skiing with your son...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring pleasures

No more scraping the ice on my cars windshield is only one reason that Spring is for sure my most favorite time of the year, here are a few more:
The days are already longer, the sun stronger and the first greens are starting to show.
One day you can go ski the powder in the north, the next it might be corn snow on solar, or both the same day, or everything else not so good in between if you get the timing wrong.
The avalanche hazard is usually lower and one might venture into some steeper lines in the alpine, bag some cool peaks, and back in town for Happy Hour.
The ice has the consistency of cream cheese and is as forgiving as the late JC, with no line ups no more.
Rock climbing is in full swing and you are able to ride your bike again without freezing your bullocks.
You can BBQ outside without wearing a down jacket and sit on the back deck (if you got one) after dinner finishing your wine glass in the evening sun.
Below a few impressions from the last couple of weeks, hope you have a chance to enjoy spring too.
Easter school break and our first rock experience of the year. We went to Big Choss below Yamnuska for a family pick nick and some bouldering in the sun.
The mighty Victoria with the Death Trap, the Sickle and the NE face screaming to be skied, Unnamed Peak far right. View from Altar Boy peak on Easter Monday.
Josh enjoying perfect powder on the north slopes of Popes Peak.
The last steps to the top of Altar Boy Peak, one of the few summits in the Lake Louise area which can be climbed with skies all the way to the top. Mt. Temple guarding the background.
Amongst blue glacier ice on the way up and down from Popes Peak.
Going to the sun on the way to the Campbell Icefields, with Bluewater Glacier below the cliffs of Thunder Mountain in the background.
The soft evening light kisses our tracks on the north facing morraine slopes across the Campbell Icefield Chalet.
In the swampy woods around Lake Placid in the Adirondax, where Summer arrived 2 months too early.
Spring ski touring at my 'secret local' spot with Kimby while the kids are in school.
A butterfly in the parking lot on the way to Lake Louise Falls.