15 April, 2010

A Short Hot Day Ski Touring

The past few days we've had absolutely beautiful weather, people have been walking around in shorts and flip flops, but up in the alpine we've been baking while touring.  Heading out today to get after the preserved colder snow on some of the Spearheads north facing lines, and ski some corn, was the overall plan.  But upon arriving in the alpine, we knew the day was going to be short, in order to not melt.  And to not have to worry as much about the solar effect on the snowpack.
We made our way up the East Col on Blackcomb to gain access to Decker.  The travel was fast, and the heat already cooking the slopes, made it there in good time.  Winding our way up Decker, through to the Decker Trorey Col, we skied some fantastic corn down to the Trorey Glacier.  There were a few other groups out as well, most of them looked as if they were heading out for a Spearhead Traverse, one group moving pretty quick until the heat caught up with them mid-day.  (Photo Left:  Dave Booth melting in the heat)

Getting onto Pattison's South Ridge was fantastic.  The breeze immediately helped bring our temperatures down, and even skinned the whole way to Pattison's summit, which is rare as the final few meters are usually bootpacking through rocks and ice.  Time for the fun, we skied mediocre snow down the North West face, but found the best snow on the less steep terrain on the glacier.

Feeling drained from the heat, now adding the third layering of sunscreen, we decided to head out and back home through the summit of Decker, and out via 9th hole.  A huge chunk of cornice had recently went, down 9th hole, leaving a spooky trail of debris at the bottom, which we avoided by skiing the steeper wind dip back to the glacier before wrapping back around.  (Photo Right:  Kevin and Dave climbing the Pattison's Shoulder)

Although the day was hot, it was a fantastic way to gauge how efficient our bodies were when dealing with heat, and how quickly we cooled.  A noticeable decrease in speed, not only from the heat but conditions, were a great reminder of how important timing and conditions are for spring speed traverses.  Now back from the sweltering alpine, its off to the village to relax and recover, with an ice cold drink!


  1. Its climbing season you fruitcakes!

  2. Ha! We got another two months of skiing! Snowpack is still so fat, we could go till August! And plus, with long days, I can climb in the afternoon and evenings!

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