Sunday, November 16, 2014

Highwood Pass and Rae Glacier Nov 15/16

-20 in the parking lot. Brr
 Hooray for winter! In what is becoming an annual event, Kyle and I returned to Highwood Pass for some November turns (the highway closes for the winter on December 1st). Kyle's friend Dan came out too and we got to show him some new spots. It was cold on Saturday but there was snow from the parking lot and the trail in wasn't too crazy. There were a few icy off-camber sections through the trees but nothing too bad. I was having some issues with my skins so I ended up boot-packing all the way to the bottom of the ridge that we were going to ski. The skin track was firm and I think that boot-packing was actually a bit easier than trying to ski in.
So much skiing stoke in this photo
 We were able to get my skins working for the steeper climb. We climbed the sunny ridge for our first run. The snow was not very good! It was a strange combination of wind crust and drifts that made it very difficult to ski. There were also lots of rocks just below the surface making it a bit treacherous.
Kyle attempting to stay on his feet in the variable condition
Dan survival skiing on the crust after taking a big chunk out of his ski on some rocks
Spectacular views all day
 After struggling down that slope, we chose a different aspect and were able to do 4 fun but short laps in some better snow. Everyone else noticed that this was where the good snow was so it got tracked out pretty quickly!
Kyle shredding pow like a cow!
Short laps but lots of fun!
 The ski down was decent but it the snow got very heavy and crusty down in the trees. There is definitely less snow than last time this year, but there is enough coverage to get some turns and it wasn't as busy as I was expecting!
Skiing down the ridge on our way out
 We returned to the Highwood area to check out Rae Glacier on Sunday. In the parking lot we met up with some friends and were able to ski with them for most of the day, until they had a binding malfunction and had to head home on foot. The skin track was rocky, especially above the tree-line. We did some boot packing to avoid wrecking our skins and watched a guy that was trying to pick his way down hit a number of number of rocks. It did not look very fun and we chose to walk this section on the way out.
Boot packing up to the glacier
 As we approached the glacier, we saw slide debris on the lookers left side. We were not able to determine if it had been natural or skier triggered but it was a decent size (1.5?). We were pretty careful all day and didn't see any other avalanche activity.
Lots of rock on the way up with evidence of a slide on the left side. 
 I had more skin issues today and ended up having to strap my skins to my skis with voile straps. This only worked for so long and eventually I had no traction whatsoever. I suppose it was a blessing in disguise as the skiing left a lot to be desired. We had one short lap before hiking up higher and skiing all the way out. It was very crusty and there were lots of rocks especially as you got lower down the slope. I guess that's November for you!
Making due with faulty skins
 Despite the conditions, there were lots of people out for a walk. It was fun watching everyone try to get down the glacier, some were more graceful than others.
Another glorious day with lots of people out! (I counted 22)
Deep crust, extra crispy
It was great getting out and enjoying the sunshine this weekend, and even getting a couple of good turns in with unexpected friends! Now all we need is a bit more snow, I think its going to be a wonderful season!

No comments:

Post a Comment