Hurricane Ridge to Rocky Peak and down the Dragon’s Tooth. A super worthy, somewhat involved springtime objective covering a lot of terrain. This might be a tricky one to onsight in a day without knowing the individual parts, especially the summit ridge of Mt. Angeles and the north face of Rocky Peak. But linking it all together makes for a very rewarding day in the mountains.
Start at the Hurricane Ridge ski area. Cruise to the top of the rope tow and rip skins. Zip across Sunrise ridge, transition, and skin towards Maggies, along the ridge, to the top of the Bowling Alley. Rip skins, ski to the col above Lost Bowl. Skin up and over King Dome to the west side of Mt. Angeles, up through the forest, switch to booting, traverse around to the SW Ridge and climb the final 4th class pitch to the west summit (so as to avoid any backtracking). Chill on the summit.
Traverse the summit ridge most the way to the east summit, ski partway down on the south side, walk over to the first narrow ribbon gully and ski this into the bowl.
Lots of ridge cruising out Klahhane with various ups and downs. Ski cool line above Rocky Peak col that you’ve looked at on multiple occasions.
Traverse below the north face to the secret ramp through the cliff bands. Climb the Broken Tooth.
Chill on the summit of Rocky Peak. Ski down the ridge towards the Dragon’s Tooth and run into a couple large goats. Hang out with the goats.
Ski the Dragon’s Tooth. Catch a ride back up the road with an old friend.
After the Wapta Traverse we met up with Jaeden and Trevin from Edmonton for 3 days at Rogers Pass. These guys were getting acquainted with their new splitboard setups, and progressed significantly over the course of 3 days, getting their touring legs under them. Rogers Pass approaches are very friendly to skiers, but a little less so to sideways riders… Good weather and great snow made for some very high quality turns.
Our March Wapta Icefields Traverse was characterized by winter weather conditions requiring “flying on instruments”, and winter snow conditions requiring skiing amazing boot to knee deep powder at every opportunity…
Day 1 was a full day approach to the Peyto Hut.
Day 2 we traversed to the Bow Hut in limited visibility, skiing powder laps below Mt. St. Nicholas into the evening.
Day 3 we summited Mt. Gordon en route to the Balfour Hut, where we enjoyed another evening powder session close to our chalet.
Day 4 we skied three long laps on the impressive Diableret Glacier, in some of the best snow conditions I personally have skied all season, with in and out breaks of beautiful sunlight.
Day 5 we ascended to Balfour High Col, the crux of the route, in what started off as good visibility. Nearing the col the weather deteriorated, and it was a challenging descent to the Scott Duncan Hut in “pingpong ball” conditions, requiring meticulous GPS navigation and cordalette casting* for terrain definition.
* Casting a cordalette off the end of a ski pole out in front of you for a reference point, like a fishing pole, as a way to tell what’s in front of you in flat light and low visibility on a snow covered glacier… benign planar slope? crevasse bridge? ice fall?
Day 6 we exited the icefields via the Schiesser/Lomas route in what started out as continued challenging weather, but throughout the day progressed into beautiful views and more phenomenal powder skiing as we descended through subalpine terrain into the forest valley above Sherbrooke Lake.
Big thanks to our to crew: Phil, Sarah, Leif, and Freya!
Short panorama clip from the summit of Young’s Peak.
Check out a few photos from the AIARE Level 2 course Feb 14-17 and the AIARE Level 1 course over the same weekend. Despite the biggest storm cycle of the season, our groups were able to get up the Hurricane Ridge road on all four days, thanks to road crew!
Just returned from a search for winter with Collin from Seattle, and we found it at Rogers Pass. We also found splitter weather and surprisingly good stability for January in the Selkirks. Collin and I met last April on a Hurricane Ridge to Deer Park traverse turned road’s closed pow session, and he’s a member of our May 2014 Mt. Bear Ski Expedition.
We arrived at the Asulkan trailhead at 10pm and skinned into the A.O. Wheeler hut by headlamp. Our first morning we were greeted to 5 cms of new snow on top of dense springy pow in the Bonney Trees.The inversion began on our second day and we skied up to the Asulkan Hut in the clouds. It was bluebird, undercast and warm by the time we reached the hut, and we dropped our overnight gear, put on harnesses, and headed for Young’s Peak. The views from the broad summit were off the hook, as was the sunlit afternoon descent back to the hut.
We awoke at the Asulkan Hut to continued inversion and skied down into the clouds. We transitioned at the base of the Triangle Moraine, and skinned right back up into a sunny day, this time on the other side of the valley. We ascended the Dome Glacier to Dome Col, downclimbed steep rocks covered in faceted snow and wind crust, skied a run off the back side, climbed back to the col, and dropped a sustained 4,000′ foot run into the Asulkan Valley: glacier headwall, benchy moraines, and steep pillows. Rogers Pass. Should be good for another three months or so.
Our field time on day 1 was mostly companion rescue focused, however we were surprised to find that our practice site on a north aspect close to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center showed little settlement after a week of warm temps. Impressive, large near surface facets:
Day 2 we dug full profiles on a low angle north aspect, and found interesting ‘sudden planar’ test results on our small column shovel tilt and compression tests.
Day 3 we set out on a full day tour in the Maggies zone, targeting E and W aspects, interested in finding more information on these new aspects while learning large column tests including the ECT and the PST.
Day 4 we walked up the switchback trail to Victor Pass (Klahhane Ridge). Our objective was to potentially ski the bowl on the north side. Here we observed debris from a D2.5 that likely ran during our last storm cycle. After verifying the presence of a wind slab problem, our crew decided this was not a terrain choice we could support.
Somehow though, we managed to link up snow patches on the south side all the way to the road (a couple of the turns were fun!).
It’s admittedly a bit late in the season for a post titled, “First PNW Winter Storm”, but it’s been a slow start this winter. December 15th our snowpack in the Olympics was at 20% of normal. January 1st our snowpack was at 22% of normal. So a storm total of 18″ or so was a very welcome dump for our AIARE Level 1 course last weekend. A couple photos from early season courses:
Interested in skiing off the summit of an Alaskan giant? Mt. Bear is just under 15,000′ feet and we’re putting together a small group expedition for this spring, May 10-21, 2014. The trip will be 12 days in length, led by Tyler Reid in partnership with AK guide service Wild Alpine.
The terrain on Mt. Bear is conducive to potentially skinning all the way to the summit!
In 2011, Eli Potter of Wild Alpine led a British film crew from Berghaus to Mt. Bear, and the above trailer is for their resulting film, “Taming The Bear”. It offers some nice imagery and a sense of what a wild place this is (and a little hollywoodesque dramatization).Details for the May trip:
Peak: Mt. Bear
Elevation: 14,831′ feet
Location: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska (close to Mt. Bona and Mt. Logan)
Duration: 12 days
Dates: May 10-21, 2014
Cost: $4100 (includes ski plane flights with Ultima Thule Outfitters)
Sound interesting? Get in touch with us for more details.