Monday, March 24, 2014

"Mini" Chickaboom Traverse

I hadn't been out ski touring in months so it was great to get the call from Liam that they were heading out on Sunday to go check out the Chickaboom Traverse. I was worried about the avalanche conditions but it seemed like everyone else was in the same boat so I agreed to go for a bit of a walk and check out a new area.
Chickadee Valley
 The Chickadee Valley is beautiful, surrounded on both sides by large mountains. There were some pretty serious slide paths but the valley was wide enough that we could avoid the run-out zones. We didn't see much evidence of recent slides, but it was hard to tell with the dusting of snow we had received overnight. There was some old debris on most of the slopes so we were careful to avoid any overhead hazard. We toured most of the way up the valley to investigate the climb up to Chimney Col, before turning back and skinning up in the trees beside a slide path to cross the Boom Col. 
The end of the valley
Impressive peak with some ice on the right
 It was tricky going in the trees as there was a nasty sun crust under some of the new snow. We dug a pit on the way up and found a few crust layers. On the other side of the col however, the snow was much less crusty. We stuck to a wide low angle slope for the first part of the descent.
Eddie looking down at our line
 Lower down, we navigated through a bit of a chute and into some awesome glades. The snow was surprisingly good! We got some powder turns in before the trees got a bit dense and popped out at Boom Lake after some christmas tree niggling.
Looking up at our line
 We toured back down the Boom Valley by following the lake and then a creek that we were hoping would take us back to the Boom Lake parking lot. On the way, we saw a big cornice break off the top of Boom Mountain and a big slide ripped down a gully towards the lake. We were well out of the way so it was very exciting to watch. It was a long, flat walk back to the parking lot. We hooked up with a snowshoe trail that eventually got us there, but realized that there had been a skin track to our left somewhere that would have been much nicer to follow.
Skiing across Boom Lake
 Since the car was parked at the continental divide parking lot (3 or more km down the road), we tried unsuccessfully to hitch-hike for a few minutes before strapping on the skis again and touring down the snowbank at the side of the highway. We got a lot of strange stares from drivers. We got back to the truck at 5:15, after doing a complete loop around Boom Mountain (hence the "mini chickaboom traverse"). According to google earth, the whole loop was about 17.5 km (including our out and back to the end of the valley).
Skiing back to the car along the highway

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