In my last post, I mentioned a little mission of mine: to ski every major line on the north face of Mt. Macdonald in Rogers Pass. After skiing the number 10/11 couloir the week previous, I had only a handful left – the most interesting being the number five couloir. With good stability still hanging on and Valerio and Ryan joining to form a strong crew, it should go without saying that… Read More
The north face of Mount Macdonald is a special place. To say it towers above the highway east of the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre would be an understatement. That its dark, forbidding rampart is split by not just one, but a handful of world class couloirs never ceases to amaze me, and I’ve been on a mission to ski my way through them for years.
Well, what a rough early season that was. I came home from a month and a half in the Andes (which I swear I’ll write about soon) all full of stoke. But as is nearly always the case, early snowfall rotted out and everything in the Rockies went to basal facet hell. Further west, I missed a little November window due to work and then all kinds of snowpack nastiness turned up…. Read More
After climbing Uto Peak’s southwest ridge with Ryan in July, I was left wondering just how fast I could get up there. We’d made good time, but knowing we had a long, long alpine ridge ahead of us we certainly hadn’t been going at anything resembling full speed. When, in late August it was still on my mind, I decided to go for it. I figured at worst I’d blow myself up… Read More
On any given day during the winter, you can find a veritable United Nations in the parking lot of the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre. Its reputation as a ski touring mecca is well earned, but perhaps overshadows that fact that for the other half of the year, it becomes one of the best, most accessible alpine rock playgrounds in North America. Despite living just down the road in Golden for the past… Read More
Five AM on a Tuesday morning in late May. Joel and I sat on a dusty moraine below the northeast face of Mt. Victoria in our base layers, watching wet slides roll off the cliffs above. It was apparent that an uncooperative spring had no intention of allowing more than a token handful of Rockies alpine days, and we had already used up most of them. With bare ice up high, isothermal… Read More
Some people start skimo racing as cross training. Runners mostly, I think. Other people seem to do it because they think XC skiing is too easy, or they’re just masochists. I got into it, at least in part, thanks to a backpack. If diving headfirst into a sport because of a piece of gear seems a little backwards, well, it is. What you have to realize though, is this isn’t just any… Read More
We still have a long way to go when it comes to highly technical testpiece ski lines in the Rockies. Consider the kind of outright gnar that sees descents on a near daily basis in Europe’s steep skiing meccas and many of our big classics seem pretty straightforward by comparison. There are, however, exceptions.
After skiing the West Shoulder of Athabasca the day before, Kieran and I had received some beta about the conditions on Mt. Andromeda’s ultra classic Skyladder. While it looked pretty shiny from the parking lot, another party had chanced it as a ski descent and found it engaging, but skiable. Full props to them. We’re fairly sure they opened the line in a season when many an armchair mountaineer had written it… Read More
With the heat doing its best to destroy any semblance of enjoyable spring skiing, Kieran, Joel and I decided to head up to the Columbia Icefields area for more relatively pleasant access to north facing glaciated terrain, easy minivan living and free wifi. On arrival we put into action a familiar schedule. In bed early in the parking lot on Friday, up at 0230 Saturday morning, a leisurely breakfast and brief astrophotography… Read More