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Surprise Pass TR

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I posted this over on TGR but though you guys might like to see it as well.

Standing in the kitchen at a lazy 8.15am, looking at the thermometer saying –25C my phone rang. Powslut would be round in 10 minuets. An hour later, along with Trudy and René we are in the Chateau Lake Louise parking lot. Skins on and off we go stright from the truck.

It quickly becomes apparent that I will have a hard time keeping up with Trudy let alone René or Powslut – man am I unfit.

The trail winds its way up through the woods giving us great views back across the valley towards Lake Louise ski area.

And down the Bow valley towards Sunshine and Banff.

We round the south side of Mt Fairview into larch meadows for a brake.

I am still coming to terms with hiking in cold temperatures. Not enough clothing I freeze, too much clothing I sweat and freeze worse. I took my hat off and my sweat soaked hair promptly froze solid…putting my hat back on was tough and then cold for half an hour….

We round the corner and head towards Mt Aberdeen. The walls are closing in as we begin to lose sight of where we have come from

Due to the infectiveness of clipfix I managed to get enough snow under one of my skins to make the rear half fall off. I was considering Bootpacking until I discovered how nasty that would be….Ducktape to the rescue.
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 

For a while we had been hearing the odd ‘Whoomp’ in the snow pack as we weaved between the moraine piles. Starting up the final couloir Powslut headed up alone as we waited…not a big or long chute…maybe 35 degrees 15 meters wide and less than 100 meters long…going was tough. As we waited I tried putting a shallow angle track across the base. Not long after I stopped, deciding that making my own track was too much like hard work. We heard a loud ‘Whoomp’ followed by most of the slope ripping out and Powslut tumbling down towards us!

He was very lucky…it had only ripped maybe 20cm deep. I probably go to be a meter deep in places…I had to run free heal in my Freerides to get out of the way! After getting within spitting distance of the top a now bruised Powslut was almost back down at the bottom of the couloir.

To get up we resorted to Bootpacking, a nasty chore in multi faceted icing sugar snow.

The view form the top was amazing and true to its name a Surprise after the accent.

A cold transition from uphill to downhill, a quick energy bar and drink. The downhill side was wind scoured. Giving us a nasty crust on heavy snow….but if you are a very good skier you can almost make it look like Powder

Even close up the turns look good

The snow got nicer the more we descended

Getting really quite nice towards the bottom

After 3-4000 vertical feet of skiing there was a sting in the tail….3km of flat lake to cross back to the Chateau

By the far end of the lake my heals had gained blisters…my fault for A – trying to keep up B – wearing Stiff alpine boots when I own AT boots…but I was glad of them in the crusty snow.
As Powslut already said here be careful out there…we were very lucky we didn’t lose anyone and we had a great day out.
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