26 March, 2012

Matier North Face And Slalok Stonecrop Face

After an amazing day skiing the Million Dollar Couloir and Rock And Roll, we had to ski another few unbelievable days.  So the day after, Lars Andrews, Christina Lusti, Veronika Vackova, Ross Berg, and I, pointed our sights at skiing the North Face of Matier and linking up to ski Slalok's Stonecrop Face, in a circumnavigation of Mt Joffre.  (Photo Left:  Christina Lusti and Veronica Vackova making their way up the skintrack with Joffre Peak behind.)

Starting at Cerise Creek, we fired up to the Anniversary Glacier and up to Matier's Summit in just three hours.  The sunny skies, are perfect temps kept us cruising at a good pace, while the snow kept cold and blower.  The race pace we had unexpectedly set earlier on the approach, worked out as we passed numerous groups who had stayed at the Keith Flavelle Hut the night before, or who had gotten an earlier start than our leisurely coffee shop morning.  We even managed to nearly skin to Matier's Summit, other than a short bootpack, while the sunny skies slowly disappeared and a convective cell began dropping light amounts of snow on us.

Dropping into the face was exactly like yesterday.  Deep, blower, faceshots at every turn.  I've never skied Matier in such perfect conditions, at the same time barely able to see from faceshot after faceshot in a snowstorm, the constant angle didn't throw any surprises making the descent extremely enjoyable.  After skipping through the bergshrund area, and schnoodling down the mellow glacier below, we threw the skins back on for a quick ascent of Slalok.

(Photo Above:  Transitioning from sun to storm, Matier summit ridge)

(Photo Above:  Lars Andrews Dropping Skiing Matier North Face into the White Room, in very deep light snow)
Slalok's ridgeline was a straightforward skin, with the entire Stonecrop Face below us, and just a few pockets of windslab that were easily avoidable.  A quick summit, snack, we descended into the face.  This line is nothing less than the most enjoyable, fun, long, perfect pitch, with amazing high quality snow I've had the pleasure of skiing.  The line barely changes angle, and is steep enough to go fast, but not steep enough to need to speed check.  Just let the skis run, go fast, and slash big beautiful turns.  If I ever would have to recommend a great line to ski, this line was made for skiers.
(Photo Above:  Lars Andrews "follow-camming" Veronika Vackova, Lower Stonecrop Face)

(Photo Above:  Alex Wigley skinning, Slalok's Stonecrop Face behind, Courtesy Of:  Christina Lusti)

After a quick ski out the Joffre Lakes Trail, we finished our loop with two amazing summits and epic ski runs in only 6.5 hours, early enough for a beer and appetizers at The Pony Espresso in Pemberton.  Late leisurely starts, unreal skiing with the best snow of the season, and being home at a reasonable time is a luxury worth living.  With the day done, and the skiing still great, we had to have another leisurely morning with another classic for the next day, what about Mt Currie North Face?

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