Thursday, February 23, 2012

Exploring the Duffy

With a limited amount of fresh snow at Whistler in the last few weeks, I have been feeling pretty uninspired with the skiing. A few backcountry trips changed that pretty quickly. My first proper touring trip of the season was out to Mt. Chief Pascal with Landon and Tristan. The freezing level had been jumping around all over the place and we knew we were going to have to get above 1700 metres if we wanted to find anything worth skiing and stick to really steep north facing slopes. We managed to find some good steep alpine chutes with great stability which allowed Landon to ski a really steep face over some decent exposure that was super cool. Other than the chutes, the snow was horrific with a crust layer that just grabbed onto your edges and wouldn't let go. It was a fun trip, but the ski back to the car was some of the worst skiing I have ever experienced!

Initially for my reading week I had high aspirations of a multi day over night backcountry trip out in the Duffy Lake Road area. Conflicts with time off work mixed with mediocre snow reduced the trip down to a one night expedition out to Snow Spider hut, however avalanche hazard for friday went through the roof overnight and we decided to play it safe and only do a one day trip. I called David repeatedly this morning to wake him up to tell him of our change of plans and invite him along. He didn't take much convincing once he was awake. It was Davids first real day of touring after his AST 1 and Landon and I wanted to try a new mountain, so we decided to head up Rohr, the mountain across the valley from Chief Pascal. It was an interesting walk straight up the mountain, following a skin track that took us through some pretty tight trees and tested Davids skills at kick turns for the first time. At the top, we dropped into a few steep chutes and had triggered a few shallow slabs which was extremely unnerving. All in all it was a successful day in the backcountry.

Happy David

Yum PB and J

Up the skin track into the whiteout

Checking out Landons new map

Landon getting a bit of fresh

David catching some air in the pillows

Check out the helmet cam footage from the two days. Featuring Landon and Tristan (sorry David, didn't really get any of you).