This Sylvester night was one of the first ones in a long time that I actually got to see the fireworks at midnight. Usually I just hear them - annoyed that they woke me up, yet another time. More importantly though, I got to spend that moment for the first time with my wife and kids, and since we were invited to a party at a friends house, a whole bunch of other good friends and friends of them were present.
The reason I'm sharing this rather boring details with you is that usually at events like this the alcohol is flowing like Cougar Creek in Monsoon June. Therefore, when I did manage to call my skitouring engagement in the morning, they were already off without me towards the mountains.
Ski partners have no mercy on late and hung over pals.
So there I am, up and running (espresso kinda works for me), so I just jump in the car and try catching up with my buddies. Past Banff and now with some time on my hand to think about my situation I came to realize that I will never get to see them anyways. By the time I hit Castle Junction a back up plan sprung into my mind. I've always wanted to ski the SE face of Mt. Whymper, but never found it to be the right conditions. Due to it's steepness and aspect it was always left for a spring day and corn snow, but then it never looked too appealing anymore. Since the chute threatens the Banff/Radium Highway, the park boys with their nasty explosives usually make a big mess in there. So skiing frozen avalanche debris did never appeal to me too much.
Therefore I thought it was the perfect time to ski it, no bomb crater and avi debris yet, a stable snow pack with no sun crust yet, and maybe even some pow turns.
A nice way to ski into 2013.
|first view of the summit once I popped out of the fog. I decided to climb the peak over the south west side|
in order to leave the ski line untracked for the descent.
|Mt. Stanley and the ice climbs on the Headwall rising out of the valley fog|
|The Goodsirs again, a couple days prior I got to see them from the other side|
from the top of Mt. Rogers.
|traveling through the burn is always fascinating|
|The south facing chutes of Chickadee Valley,|
seen from the summit.
|Summit views towards Chimney Peak and Mt. Quadra.|
|...and off we go into 1300m of fall line goodness|
|...and 10 min later close to the highway|
|big surface hoar growing, not just on the trees,|
watch out when this stuff gets covered!