We started the weekend off at Heroes Knob to check out the snow and planned to ski a few different aspects. We headed up the south side of the valley and topped out at a col with a great view. After descending, we decided to head a little farther west up the valley and check out the snow. On a North Facing slope at around 2100m we remote triggered a size 1 wet slab which moved slow enough for us to back up, pull out the cameras and film it going by. The snow softened up way more quickly than I was expecting despite the lack of direct sun so we called it a day. After that, we knew extra early starts were going to be needed for the rest of the weekend
|Peter and Bill putting in the track|
|The bush that fought back|
Mentally prepared for a long day, we decided to give Joffre a go. Peter had tried skiing it before, and I have been up there in the summer to run Northover, but neither of us had made it to the summit before. Based on the conditions the previous day, we left the parking lot at 6:00 to make sure we got across the lake when it was still frozen. A good freeze and no wind the night before meant we could skate across the lake and make great time to the creek by Hidden Lake. From there we began the climb up the North side of the valley through the trees towards Fossil Falls. At this point I realized that I had left my camera in the car. So all the photos from the day are from Peter. Check out his blog here
|Skating across Upper Kananaskis Lake on the crust|
After crossing Hidden Lake we found a blown in, day old, skin track, and were happy to know other parties were ahead of us that were hopefully breaking trail towards the summit. Navigating around Fossil Falls, we got into some steep tight trees that were not fun to break trail through, but eventually popped out into the creek valley and could see the outhouse at the Aster Lake campground and knew we were on track. Passing through the campground at Aster in 2:30 after breaking trail the whole way, we knew we were in for a solid day. There was one party of four just leaving their shelter, and as we passed them they told us another group of 3 had left half an hour earlier. We passed them after 40 glorious minutes of not having to break trail, and I was back to the front on duty again. Ski penetration was 5-10cms, so travel wasn't too tough. We worked our way up the moraines about halfway down the valley and had to do a short bootpack to get over a steep section. In hindsight, we should have skied to the end of the valley and gone through the more open Col avoiding the moraines.
|Breaking trail up the glacier with the summit in view|
|Peter with the ice beard in full effect on the summit|
|Our tracks with another party working their way up|
|Laying down some low angle glacier wiggles|
After doing some looking online, I couldn't find any records of anything faster, so this might be a FKT? Leave me a comment if you've heard of anything faster, I'd love to know! With a better overnight freeze, and less afternoon melting it would definitely be possible to go faster, but I was pretty happy with how the day went.
GPS data from the day is here
|Heading across the glacier with the big group|
|Loving my new Dynafit Cho Oyu's - Light on the up, fast on the down|
|Working out way to the top|
|Popping out below the clouds on the way down with Hector Lake in the background|