Molly welcomes the ski tourers back from their Day 1 companion rescue practice. Burnie Glacier Chalet
The weather cleared for an uneventful flight into the Chalet. Well not quite uneventful -- after takeoff the passenger door on the A-Star popped open twice so we had to return for a quick repair. An inversion today meant -6° in a Smithers and +1° at the Chalet. Moist snow is forecast to freeze into a thin crust with tonight's colder temperatures, -10° by breakfast! ...
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Rectory Couloir
Today I'm flying to to Smithers for two weeks of skiing. In the past two weeks they've got well over 200 cm of storm snow and it's forecast to keep coming down hard this week. High Avalanche hazard, storm, crazy amounts of snow! But I'm stoked, I've worked Burnie in all conditions and the beauty of the area is that it has always delivered a good week of skiing, every time. That's saying something -- I've skied and guided there almost every winter since 2004 ...
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The Molars

Today we did a short ski tour up onto the East facing Molars, the backcountry accessed off Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. It was a fun, casual end to the weekend. We started from the old kicking horse lodge at around 10:45 and were back at the car by 2:00!

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McGill Shoulder

Wow what great ski touring conditions at Rogers Pass this weekend. The avalanche situation is still tricky but the ski quality is fantastic in the alpine and treeline elevations.

On Saturday we skied one of the gun barrels off McGill shoulder, which was pretty fantastic until the lower elevations where the coverage is still not enough for carefree skiing. That didn’t stop Luke and Jake from hitting it hard, bouncing off the snow mushrooms with abandon. The rest of us descended with more caution and eventually made it down to the creek, which is still open but easy to cross. From there we hiked up a few hundred metres for a lap on the beautiful Christiana Glades to wrap up the day.

Not many photos this day as the light was no good and the skiing too good, but here’s one I snapped near the top of our 1100 m climb on Mount McGill:

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Ice Climbing Canmore

I’ve been ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies since the mid-90s and have guided many of the hardest lines as well as coached beginners up easy flows at the Junkyards and King Creek. Drop me a line to discuss your private guiding needs.

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Illicil Cracking 14 Jan 2018

I spent this past weekend in Rogers Pass finishing the second part of an AST-2 class. We had a great time, spending Saturday in the Ursus Trees area and Sunday up the Illicilliwaet drainage.

Sure enough the surface hoar problems discussed in the Parks avalanche bulletins were easy to find and very reactive especially below 1850 m on shaded aspects with slabs of 75 cm+ overlying large, faceted surface hoar feathers 15 mm and larger. Dig down a bit to admire them, they can’t be missed!

Natural activity on Sunday was from the sun though, and during the warm-up there was lots of action at alpine elevations to size 3, see photo of several below Avalanche Mountain (38+ degrees, S & SW aspect, around 2400 m).

We were conservative with our terrain selection, sticking to lower angled terrain and giving avalanche paths healthy respect. But things have continued to heat up since yesterday and the hazard is now being rated High at treeline and alpine elevations, which certainly matches with my limited observations in Bostock, Connaught and Illicilliwaet drainages this weekend.

Here’s a photo of the cracking/shearing that occurred over a small convex roll yesterday to give you a ...
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Sunshine Slackcountry

The best of both worlds: lift accessed powder backcountry skiing at Sunshine Village! January 4th I headed out with Rohan, Deb and Miriam to the south side of Bye-Bye Bowl. Great slackcountry skiing, with a short little tour back inbounds to catch the Divide Chair for another lap!

Sunshine Village Slackcountry ski touring, with Mount Assiniboine in the background

Miriam on Bye Bye Bowl

Deb, Bye Bye Bowl

Sunshine Village Slackcountry

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Des Poilus Glacier
I completed a 4-day Yoho Traverse yesterday with a very hardy group Dec 29-Jan 1. We experienced very cold temperatures, ranging from -35C to -17C. Face protection in the form of buffs and goggles were essential at times, especially on the glaciers, and toe warmers helped keep things as comfortable as possible ...
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Sugar Bowl

On my birthday I like to go for a ski with the family. This year on December 23rd we headed to Simpson Bowl. It’s also known by “Secret Bowl” or “Hidden Bowl” which are tongue in cheek I think since you can literally see it from the road 500 m away. It’s also called the “Sugar Bowl” which is not a bad name for it considering the kind of snow you can often find in there — faceted pow.

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Hero's Knob

Hero’s Knob is a super popular destination for classic loops and powder backcountry ski touring descents, both moderate and fairly extreme. Dec 21 I spent the day doing the classic loop with Jörg, Mike, Alicja and Maryke. The descent down the Hero’s north bowl was fantastic!!

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