Saturday, April 6, 2013

Canada Scouting

Lee on the way up the Aussie...
Apparently the last week of March will be remembered in the US NW and Canadian SW as "epic high pressure 2013".  All through these coastal ranges folks got out for monster ski itineraries back to back to back.  While driving up the coast a friend virtually begged me to ski Shuksan while it was still good. He'd been there a few days prior and boasted of "10 inches of wind compacted pow on a solid base", whatever that means.

Others related, both in the North Cascades and Coastal BC, stories of amazing weather, warm days, plentiful snow, and ridiculous amounts of traffic in the backcountry.  I arrived for the very end of that spell and am sitting in rainy Pemberton, British Columbia on recovery day two.  Three days of work, two days of driving, and then over 10,000 feet of ski touring over two days have taxed the system, apparently.

Indeed, conditions here in the Duffey Lake region indicated excellent weather had just past.  Snow showed signs of significant warming, insane amounts of tracks, and a fair bit of recent melt.  I joined fellow guide exam candidate Lee Lazzarra for two big tours in the last gasp of this historic period.

First of all, under mostly clear skies, we slogged up Cerise Creek and up the Anniversary Glacier.  From the saddle there we descended onto the Matier Glacier and incidentally entered Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.  From the Matier we climbed and descended the classic Aussie Couloir.

And on the way down.  
 The next day, April 4, we snuck in another tour before the forecast storm.  As is typical here, the storm started warm, with rain high in the peaks.  It has gradually cooled down, lowering the snow line.
Lee in true white-out conditions.  The only blemish is a drop of water on the camera lens.  True white-out  is just like this- no depth perception, no sense of up or down or distance.  If you can see something other than white, it's just flat light.  

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