Golden – Rogers Pass

•February 16, 2010 • 6 Comments

The story

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.

Day one

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.

Day 2

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.

Day 3

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.

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Next Video! 2/10

•January 30, 2010 • 4 Comments

Here we go. Enjoy.

No fresh snow but the ice climbing…sweeet

•January 30, 2010 • 1 Comment

It has not dumped here for here for 4 days so we decided to do something else. After skiing in 50cm of crazy powder you get kind of spoiled. So we headed out to ice climb. Our friends Arnar and Berglind came back to Golden to join us for some climbing.

We headed strait for the beer as usual…Guinness Gully WI4 245m, and Carlsberg Column WI5 60m. Really good day and nothing more to say about that.

The day after we woke up early to climb in Sunshine Walley, Bourgeau Left WI5, 185m. The weather was really good, sunshine and clear sky. We could see the route from the road, a beautiful 4 pitches of steep ice in the sunshine. The approach looked easy so we walked into the forest and followed the path. Before we knew we had lost the path and found our selves in snow up to waist with 10cm hard shell on top of it. It took us about two hours to find the route…I love those trees that allways block your view! Finally, after some scramble up some easy rocks we could start the route.

Ice was soft and it was really warm in the sun. The first 3 pitches were great. Feel good climbing with good sheltered belays. Then there was the last pitch… Really steep slush with icicles between. The lower part was hard to protect and you could push the ice screws into the ice, exactly what makes you feel good and comfortable. The ice got a little bit better at the top but still it was really sun baked. Everyone got up in one way or another and we came down early, although we had some troubles in the beginning.The right approach path would have taken about 30 min walk up.

We drove to Banff and had the best burgers ever at Eddies. Huge burgers with everything on it you can imagine. With full stomachs, relaxed after chilling in Banff hot springs we parked the car at a parking house, duck taped the rear windows and went to sleep. The night was cold, about -19°C and when we woke up we had to scrape the windows on the inside,and the interior of the car was all icy.

Just like any other ice climbing day we had trouble finding the route. The plan was to climb Kitty Hawk WI5 but we could by no chance find it. After endless driving, watching the fuel meter getting lower every minute we ended at the Weeping Wall. Started climbing around 14:30 and the sun was going down fast. On the second pitch Danni got bombarded in the head by friendly fire. ” Hey Robbi…this is not a good thing, I´m all feeling dizzy.” Then he saw some stars and more. When they came up to the belay I asked them if we should finish the rout ? Danni´s nose was all bleeding because he got hit again, but in the face this time by his own fire when chopping the tool in the ice. We decided to rappel down and he was not feeling good.

When we came back to the car just to realize that we´d forgot the lights on and it was out of power. Great. It was getting really dark and not many people driving around. We waited for about an hour in -20°C, and after stopping 6 cars we finally got jump start and had safe drive home.

The first video – Traveling from Iceland

•January 22, 2010 • 5 Comments

Enjoy…

Hafner Creek

•January 21, 2010 • 1 Comment

Driving around in Canada is no walk in the park. The plan sounded easy, wake up early, drive to Hafner Creek and have a nice day of climbing. Apparently the Mixed climbing guidebook is not that accurate. According to the book we were supposed to park by the Marble Canyon. And so we drove on towards what we thought was Marble Canyon only to find our selves in some fancy spa hotel called Marble Canyon…two hours in the wrong direction.

We turned back and finally found the place. It was smaller than we thought and packed with people. After some tea drops and and fat sandwiches we forgot everything about getting lost in the morning. Hafner Creek offered really good mixed climbing with surprisingly good limestone. It was a nice social climbing day and everyone got a good workout.

The adventure started for real when we drove back to Golden. We were out of windshield washer and that is not a good thing. The roads them selves are good…they just don´t have signs, light reflectors on the side of the road and they put gravelmix on the roads to fuck with your windshield and visibility. Every time we passed a car it was impossible to see the road ahead and lack of windshield washer wasn´t helping either. Ingvar suggested that should quit climbing because it is much more exciting to drive like this when you can´t see shit. Finally the 130km of this terrible driving was over and we soon found our selves with beer in one hand and full bottle of windshield washer in the other.

Lower part of Hafner

Danni climbing Chai Master M7+

Pow Pow Pow

•January 17, 2010 • 1 Comment

The last two days it has been dumping like crazy…pow, pow, pow, pow and more pow. 50cm of  champagne powder snow in 24 hours. We are eating it, it´s in our ears, we breath it and we ski it like crazy.

Here are some pics from friends that came and visited Kicking Horse resort in Golden.

Berglind Loving the Pow Pow! Photo: Arnar

Danni

Danni Loving it! Photo: Arnar

Arnar Telemarking! Photo: Berglind

Hello Golden, BC, Canada

•January 11, 2010 • 3 Comments

The Van got pimped, we cleaned the tags off and cleaned the inside.

The drive was about 500miles from Leavenworth to Golden. About 13,5 hrs

The trip went smoothly and the car runs great.

We found a home here in Golden. Mary’s Motel and they gave us a good deal.

Today we went skiing in Kicking horse mountain resort and we loved it.

Robbi sáttur eftir dettu.

Robbi happy after taking a fall.