Thursday, May 17, 2012

nice surbryce

Everyone, including myself, talked and dreamed about it lately, but in the end Chris took advantage of the great conditions this year and did it. Skiing the North face of Mt. Bryce is an impressive achievement, considering the remoteness of the peak and the style he choose to do it. 
A few days prior to his adventure I took these pictures from the Columbia Icefield.

-the N face of Mt. Bryce from half way up Columbia on May 7th-
Chris came in from the other side over the low col left of the
main summit, climbed the face and skied the line to a point
just to the lower edge of the cloud (as I understand) and
boot-packed out over the col again.
perfect conditions...picture taken from high camp under Snowdome
on May 6th, 2012
a skier is heading home from Columbia with the great wall of Bryce
and the upper part hidden, also on May 6th
                     So what is the last problem left to ski in the Rockies now???

Monday, May 14, 2012

This Mountain deserves a name

The map doesn't say anything other than 3155m, which is btw. 4m higher than the famous Aberdeen across the valley. Most guides, including a guides book, calls this formation simply "Unnamend Peak". This seems to work for everyone involved here, but after climbing it last Friday, I feel it is a peak worthwhile a real name. I know it sounds a bit out of whack, but what about "Lady Diana". Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated, but it's gotta be somewhat British like the rest of this neck of the woods. I'll submit an official request for the winner.
"Unnamed" during the approach at sunrise
Aliens and the wind can create strange shapes
morning magic
Almost a year ago we skied this face of Victoria.
the ridge to Popes Peak with Unnamed behind and left,
then following the ridge line, Collier, Victoria north and
south, then the Sickle and Lefroy far left.
All five of them are skiable off their Summits via fantastic
faces pictured here, if conditions permit...
who says there is no skiing in the Rockies?
This rock step guards the final 100 feet to the real summit
of Popes Peak, otherwise you could ski off this summit too.
This is the point where you can start skiing down the
East face of Popes Peak.
The plain of Six Glaciers is located in the tree island
near Valley bottom.
Unnamed and Popes with ski line (East Face) in center.
Bella and her friend Lilly at our little Bonfire Party last
gotta love those smokies

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A trip to the highest point in Alberta

 After some pretty bad weather the first few days of May, the clouds lifted just in time for us to climb one of the big prices in the Rockies on skies. It is a long walk on snow and ice indeed, and after 2 long days covering a distance of about 20km we reached the summit of Mt. Columbia on May 7th, just in time before the clouds rolled in again. A big and remote mountain in a grand setting!
through the second icefall below Andromeda
the Skyladder of Mt. Andromeda, or whatever is left from it. You can make out two climbers in the sunlit upper part

up the so called head wall of Athabasca glacier

high camp on the ice fields with Columbia still far away

tiny dots on the way to Columbia, behind the North face of Mt. Bryce patiently waiting to be skied

a hearty welcome back to civilization after 3 days on the ice 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Southfacing cliffs like Bataan and Echo Canyon on Grotto Mountain, seen below from the way up to Little-Middle Sister col... these shear endless bands of rock walls are partially responsible for my lonely playtime on skis lately. Amongst my slow healing ankle and rather challenging snow conditions with, at times little overnight freeze, most partners are, very understandable, already in the rock climbing mood and entertain themselves with wicked early season pumps predominantly over on the other side. Since April is now officially history, it is now May's responsibility to provide us with a higher Pressure (air that is) than the former month.  

Almost looks like Summer, but this was taken from one of the better ski outings I had this spring. One of the rare opportunities we have in Canmore, skiing touring and being able to look at my house the whole time. The rock face you can see is the south (hidden) side of Canmore's landmark Little Sister. Looking at all the green down there, it's hard to imagine that it was possible to ski all the way to the car parked at Three Sisters Golf Course, where I had to fight my way through a big herd of Elk.
The mighty Middle Sister with a nice sluff roaring down the East Face.
On a different outing 10 days and a terrible warm spell later, this time around Lake Louise. I've spotted the line (in the center of the picture above) already years ago but I had a hard time convincing partners to give it a go. Leading to a dominant peak like this it must have been done tons before, but it felt pretty special to have the necessary 99.9% safe conditions to do it alone. 
perfect quartzite towers give away to grey limestone higher up

Out of the 1450m of ascent the skies stayed on the pack 90% of the time, while on the way down they were on my feet 100%...should have brought some ski crampons to even it out a bit.
upper serac band with the summit poking out behind

Summit Ridge with the north face of Temple
When you travel alone, nobody can make fun of your head gear.

The rather unusual birds eye view of the popular Surprise Pass and Lake Louise below

Looking towards Sentinel Pass and the not so Grand Sentinel below and right, from here it actually looks like there are two Pinnacles.

the price I had to pay for Aberdeen...
the re-swollen skateboard ankle was totally worth it.