I wondered at what point of this mission that I would wake up completely crushed. Sore, tired and not wanting to get out of bed. Walking down the stairs to let the cat out was painful, and I am intimidated by stairs today..
This last week was unique in that I used my snowmobile to access skiing each day. This adds in a whole slew of new things that can go wrong, or simply that take time away from skinning. Simply unloading the sled, going in 10-20km takes lots of time away from touring. Especially since I am not particularly skilled on the snowmobile.
The first day Chris Rubens and I had a wicked day on Begbie shoulder, he was showing me all sorts of great lines. Its such a great zone to play in, 2700ft climb with direct in your face great ski lines off the top, the lines are also all different. From pillow lines, to open bowls, treee skiing or little couloirs. Super fun day with great skiing.
The second day of this shift was up Mt-English, I headed up early and was touring by 7:10 am, and I had a great lap in by the time Aaron and Mark showed up. Then we had a couple of great runs together. Its starting to become clear that the best way for me to ski with friends while also getting my vert goes like this. I arrive early and get in 2000ft, then I break trail for the first half of the climb, peel skins, get a quick fun run in, tour back up and meet at the top. Shred with friends, repeat, always getting extra runs to time it so that we can ski the run together. Then they go home and I pound out the necessary vert for the day. The skiing in the trees was pretty wicked but the alpine was a little windpressed, which still made for good skiing.
Then a group of us headed out for an overnighter in the Gold range south of Revelstoke. This place is off the hook but requires 25 km of sledding. We met at six and headed out. The sledding was going well until the powder started. And then I could not resist playing around a little. Getting face shots and carving turns on the sled is pretty fun, and when done properly its light and playful. All was going well until the sled decided to go right off the flat road, and with my little skill set I had no choice but to follow it. Within moments of having a great time I was in the ditch, in a tree well. Not a good way to get out and have a wicked powder filled touring day.
Part of avoiding “shit shows” is understanding what can go wrong and being prepared for it. Luckily I know that I am not a good sledder and that I have the propensity to get caught up in what I am doing and make spazzy mistakes. So I knew that I could quite possibly get my sled stuck. Within minutes of the sled being in the tree well, I started making a T-slot anchor with my skis, then set up my ropes so that we had a 6-1 ratio and could pull the sled.
Well not really pull it, instead put lots of pressure on it and then lift it. With each lift the sled would move 5 inches. We repeated this until finally Aaron came back, made fun of me, then helped by towing with his sled. Probably wasted 40 minutes with this mistake. But soon enough we were off and headed back into the range.
The snow was perfect and we toured up into a nice north facing bowl and had a couple of sweet runs. We then spotted a little couloir that could possibly lead us into the next bowl over. The couloir felt like California, white pine trees in it, rocky all around, really cool little key hole. Which brought us into another great bowl with a summit available. I busted trail for awhile, skied a great line, caught back up and went to the summit of Thor NE. Someone built a huge 9 foot tall rock cairn on the peak, i wanted to climb it but deemed it a little sketchy. I hope one day I am relaxed enough to stop and build something like this.
A great 4000ft plus descent and then I continued to hammer till I hit 13500ft. Bamm. tough day though I really had to run to get the vert in.
Yesterday we woke up to clear skis but we knew that the weather would not hold by the pm. We headed up to Kelly peak, which has a great glacial run, 4000ft of rolling fun. By the time we got near the top the weather was in and the visibility pretty poor. I toured up to the last roll and started to eek my way onto it. But the snow turned a little slabby and started cracking under my skis. The last roll looked daunting, with no way to avoid the hazard I realized we would probably not make this summit. A few more steps to test the snow and I managed to push a small slab out from under my skis. Small avalanche but with the potential of a bigger one above I turned around. We then snuck arounda bunch of crevasses in a whiteout and skied the line. Super fun except for the lack of visibility. Then a couple of laps on a cool treed shoulder, while we worked our way to the top and a rippin 2800ft run down to the valley. I was only at around 12grand but knew that we had lots to do to get us home, so I happily turned my back on the mountains and we worked our way home. No incidents on the sled and home by 9pm. Crushed.
Day off today…..