If you want to talk about roadside steep skiing in the Rockies, you won’t get far without mentioning Bow Peak. The classic Grand Daddy, stiffer Funnel of Death and techy Gutentight couloirs are all well known, but there’s more still. Down Dog sits off to the right of FOD, and between Grand Daddy and Gutentight, there’s another open book corner/couloir feature called The Godfather. I believe it’s yet another Wexler/Unterasinger first descent, but I can’t say for sure.
Anyway, that’s where Chris and I were headed in the first week of May, with true spring conditions feeling like they were right around the corner. The short objective would let us make use of a half day weather window, and we’d get a good look at how the snowpack was transitioning.
There’s never much of a story to tell on Bow. The river was no longer frozen, so that provided a small moment of frosty adventure, but the approach is simple. In no time we were up the fan and transitioning to crampons. With the sun packing a punch already, we hurried up a deteriorating crust to the line’s choke – a little traverse into another gully that feels like a miniature version of the one on Mt. Whymper’s X Couloir. In fact, the whole line feels like a miniature version of the X, and is probably a good objective for someone interested in that couloir to try first.
Chris and I got to the cornice and saw no value whatsoever to tunneling through, so we transitioned quickly and got out from under it. The snow was ideal down to the choke and then somewhat less ideal below it, but if you want to ski big lines in the Rockies you might as well practice linking turns in weird, melting crusts and warm facets.
Back across the river we went, returning to the parking lot early enough that the Mosquito Creek hostel caretaker assumed we hadn’t yet started. You have to love how accessible the lines on Bow are. I think I’ve only got two established lines left to ski up there, way over on the looker’s right side. Maybe next season will be the year I finish them all off.