April 30, 2006

Kari, Grahame and I got out for an excellent spring tour. We skied the north face of Slalok, descending the Stonecrop Glacier via the central couloir. The day was excellent, or as Kari would frequently say, “bittersweet!!” I was particularly happy about this day due to the fact that I had been shut down here earlier in the year and didn’t ski the whole thing during an ascent last season. We drove up to the parking lot Saturday night and crashed for a few hours so that we could get an early start on the day. We were disappointed to see the day start out mild and foggy, but decided to go for in the hopes that things would get better. Conditions improved dramatically as we ascended, and by the time we reached the start of the face the the snow was light and dry. I brought ski crampons which turned out to be very useful due to a solid crust below the powder, so I managed to limit my bootpacking to a few sections of a couple hundred feet. Grahame and Kari chose to bootpacked much of the upper face rather than waste energy slipping with each step. We had a lot of fun switching up photography opportunities over the course of the day. Enough snow had blow into the summit block to make a ski from the top very manageable. We had great snow almost the entire way down to the upper lake and enjoyed a speedy exit. The lakes were getting pretty wet and I managed to soak one foot crossing a short section of the upper lake. I think it’s getting near the end of lake crossing time for the season. All in all it was a very satisfying day.

Check out Grahame’s Blog

Midnight at the Joffre parking lot. Who’s ready for 4 hours of sleep?

4:50 am. Early starts suck.

7:20 am. Where’s Slalok?

Climbing the lower couloir.

Clearing weather = smiles.

Ascending the upper Slalok Glacier. In the twillight years of the Age of Telemark, these two are are yearning for a tele ski crampon.

Bootpacking the final slope to the summit ridge.

Happy to be on the summit. “Bittersweet!”

Grahame skis the initial short pitch off the top.

Great snow and great turns on the upper glacier.

The west side of the upper Stonecrop is actually quite mellow terrain.

Grahame skis the short crux off the toe of the Stonecrop Glacier into a broad couloir.

Looking back at the route from the bottom.

You can see our tracks on the right side of the face.

Awesome snow as we head down Joffre Creek.