Friday, January 13, 2012

A Couple of Good Days

This year has been marked by sporadic small snowfalls separated by long periods of grey weather with poor visibility, no sun, and no new snow, so, when the weather icons showed a couple of days of sun in a row, we were keen to get out on some bigger ski days.

The first day, we skinned up through the trees near White Queen to the ridge that runs NW from Ymir Mountain, and then skinned and boot-packed (hard going at times) until we could cross the top of an avalanche slide path and gain the ridge separating 5 Mile and Kutetl Creeks at about 2300 metres.

A beautiful 500 metre descent down an open alpine bowl and through burnt timber to 1800 metres followed. We then traversed south a short distance beyond one slide path, to the margin of a second bigger slide path and built an uptrack through burnt timber and open alpine terrain to about 2240 metres under the big east face of Ymir Mountain. Another stunning run down alpine terrain to burnt timber and through the avalanche path took us to about 1730 metres - if you are counting that is another 500 metre run.

Finally, we skinned back up and broke a new trail up to a narrow col on the north ridge of Ymir and descended Ymir bowl.

Next day, the sunny weather turned to high overcast, but at least visibility was good. We lucked out and were able to drive for about 3.5 km up Barrett Creek and Lost Lake FRS's to about 1160 metres. One hour of skinning up Lost Lake FSR and we skinned west crossed Lost Lake Creek and finally skinned up to the long east ridge of Commonwealth Mountain. Another 400 metre climb and we were at the summit cairn on Commonwealth Mountain where the wind was howling.

Quickly stripping skins we skied a 700 metre line down the big south face to Barrett Creek FSR and sped out the road returning to Nelson for a late lunch.

Snow is in the forecast for the next week.
Laying down some nice tracks in Kutetl Creek

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