Golden – Rogers Pass
No snow for 3 weeks now, and the slack country around Kicking Horse resort is all getting skied, hard to find anything fresh. That drove us to go even further from the resort. Last Tuesday we decided to do a little traverse from Golden BC to Rogers Pass national park. The rout we planned offered about 45km of great ski walking for 3 days and awesome never ending power hills.
So early start on Tuesday morning, after we´d spent the day before packing food and other food-ish things in zip locks, we headed for the first gondola on top of the mountain. We picked a line close to gully on the north east side of the mountain where the forest was the least condensed. It was good hill for the start, little bit of tricky sun crust on top and weird balance with the backpack. The last part of the run was hard skiing because the forest was really thick and you could not see anything for all the branches that hit you in the face. From the valley bottom we had few hours of walking until we hit camp 1.
Canada is great for at least one thing compared to Iceland…there is no wind at all, at least here. The camping was really easy: We dug a platform in the snow, tied the tarp to some trees and used ski poles to raise it up above us…and that´s it. Then we broke some dead branches of the trees and made fire, drank tea, ate chicken risotto and chocolate mousse in dessert. I slept like a baby. No wind, no noise just a little bit of snowflakes touching gently down to the ground.
This day was probably the most technical one. When we woke up it was total whiteout. You could see something down in the valley where the trees were, but up in the alpine…nothing. You could not notice if you were moving or standing still. This was a big problem for us because it´s difficult to decide if the route you are choosing is safe or not, we´d only seen it on map. Finally we got safe up on top of the ridge an we were preparing for a long and good ski hill. The conditions were not perfect at the top, alot of rocks in the beginning and the snow pack was really thin. I (Robbi) skied down by cutting the very top of the hill close to a big rock and skied to a safe spot. Part of the hill shattered and the thing we had worried about was real. The avalanche was not really big, about 1.5 on the scale, but big enough to injure you and you´re in the middle of no where, far from everything. Since we had a clear run down there we skied one at a time and had a great skiing down to the trees where we put up camp 2.
Again, there was this broke back mountain feeling in the air. 3 Lonely cowboys in the middle of the snow desert, sitting by the campfire, drinking soups, eating chicken risotto, some chocolate mousse, hugging after a great ski day, and in the end: spooning in a tight snow cave.
Early start. We were up at 0700, not early enough, got our shit together and hit the snow. We had skied down from south side of Copperstain mountain the other day and the plan today was to ski down the NE side of Bald mountain through burned forest.
This day we had the best visibility, so there was some nice skiing ahead. The hike on top of Bald mountain was not that long and soon we found our selves skiing down the most spectacular hill I have ever skied. With powder up to your knees, and sometimes to your waist, making tight turns past the burned trees and jumping between powder pillows, there is no way words can describe. At the bottom of the valley (Between Bald and Mt. Sir Donald) the forest got really thick. It felt more like bush walking than skiing. Finally, we got all the way down to the valley and had only 5km of flat skiing to go. Not more then 2 hours right ?
The trip was only starting now… The forest was so thick, and the hills so steep we had to move down on the river. At least that was flat but we had to cross many many snow bridges on the way ans zig zagging to follow it. Soon, the ice on the river started to shatter up and we had to go back into the forest. We were moving so slowly and we all knew it, we also knew that we had only short time left until the pitch black would catch us. Finally, we found a flat part in the forest and then it happened, we ran out of daylight. Very strange feeling, we have no forests like this in Iceland, but when it got dark the tress got thicker and we became smaller. We could no longer see where to go, not past the 10m light beam we had on our heads. Breaking our way through the branches and climbing over fallen trees for ages we finally found open area with snomobile tracks that we followed all the way to the parking lot where we were picked up. It took us 6 hours to travel those short 5km !
After this forest experience I truly understand arsonists ! You cant even see the forest because of the trees.
Robbi, Danni and Doddi.