The Rockies Revisited

15 years ago I walked past morraine lake on my way to climb a super cool pillar, on my way there I recall looking up the 3/5 couloir. At the time I was not a ski mountaineer and did not think about skiing it. I did enjoy the beauty of the zone but had no idea of the ski potential of this area. Last fall, Tracey and I came here to celebrate our first year of marriage, at this point I did look up and wish to explore higher up the couloir and around the mountain tops.

The area is so beautiful that it was on our Twenty dollar bill in the 80’s.

Anyhow yesterday was the day that I finally explored the mountains surrounding the lake. At 1:50 am I awoke and I was driving by 2:07. I met up with the golden crew, Jon Walsh, Isaac Kaminsk and Mark Hartley. From there we drove to Lake Louise and up to Morraine Lake. By 5 am my time, or 6 am mountain time we were off.

The couloir is huge over 3300ft or 1000m from the fan to the top. We all skinned and booted quickly knowing that we had a huge day ahead for ourselves. 3 hours later and we were at the top. A quick bite to eat and we skied down and around to the south sides of Quadra and mt-Fay. We booted up a couloir to get onto the north side and then we were looking up this wicked north facing line.

I was pretty psyched to be there so I led the charge up the couloir, up and up I booted till finally I passed of the lead to Jon, he swam his way up to the sub summit. We followed and each of us progressively exposed more blue ice under the snow. The glacier was not far below the snow, 50 cm of snow lay on it. Standing on the peak we were all pretty excited to ski, it was a beautiful line and had lots of nice may powder on it. We shredded down, watching out for our sloughs; as the snow was moving quickly and would easily knock you off your feet. Great run, and then we toured back around to the south side of Mt-Fay. We skinned a little and then ended up boot packing to the summit, right up the south face. Summit of Fay was great and we heaed to the top of the north line. I knew a friend of mine had just been there so I was suprised to see that they had not skied it from the top. We wondered why, but we rappeled in and clicked into our skis. Isaac skied first and soon enough he understood why they had not skied. The glacial ice was much closer to the surface and Isaac side slipped a lot of the snow off, I followed and removed what was left and then left Jon and Mark above the blue. They deemed it “unskiable” and set up an achor and rappeled down. We all enjoyed the line and skied over to the hut.

A nice break in the CAC hut and then we skied the 3/5 couloir. Wicked steep powder turns for the first 1000, runneled hard turns for the next 1000 ft and then spring corn for the last thousand.  So great to finally visit this area. 

You can’t quite see the Mt-Fay line in this photo, it is hidden behind that mountain. Awesome adventure.  We skinned 2200 feet and boot packed 5600 feet.

  1. Adrian May 17, 2010 at 1:43 am

    not planting this year? looks like it’s been a great spring, way to keep the bush monkeys entertained.

  2. greg May 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    First year of no planting since 1999, that’s a long time to plant lots of little trees. Over a million planted and hopefully no more. time for change.

  3. treepilot May 17, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Windows 7 (yeah, I know) ships with several default desktop background images. One of them is Morraine Lake. That couloir taunts me daily. Nice work getting after it and the surrounding stuff. I never really considered that there was terrain behind until reading the 2.5 to freedom article.

    That’s lots of trees planted, but how many feet climbed this year? 🙂 Got a late season powder dump down here, stuck on 49/50.

  4. Adayak May 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Awesome way to celebrate an anniversary! My wife’s idea of celebration is sitting on a hot beach.

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