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2013 Backcountry Trip Reports => March 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports => Topic started by: Atraslin on 04/07/13, 08:50 PM

Title: Mar 29, 13, Birkenstock Couloir
Post by: Atraslin on 04/07/13, 08:50 PM
I attempted this line a couple of weeks ago from the snowmobile accessible side of the peak, with my friend Naomi. Unfortunately new snow and warming temps aren't a great mix, so our day was doomed from the get-go. Heavy snow was sticking to our skins like you wouldn't believe. Wax didn't help, and after dragging those leg weights through avi debris, high winds, and faiding light, I was forced to pull the plug and try again another day.

The next time we approached from the Blackwater Creek road for a more direct line, with a fast and fit team that was on the same page. Liam and Adrian were as keen as I was to ski this line. With good weather and stability lined up, we just needed an alpine start to seal the deal so we camped at the road and woke up plenty early. Bringing the true style and ethics of ski mountaineering, we were ready to climb what we wanted to ski.

The pace was fast right from the get go, and I settled into a rythm I knew I could hold all day.

When we gained a view of the wicked couloir we new there was good times ahead. Step kicking was solid, until we hit a hanging snow field. Overhanging snow climbing led into a narrow section.

There was one more crux which involved climbing through the cornice with an extra axe for four points of weigh-baring contact.  With one last step we had a warm welcome into the sun and were ready to ski.

We excavated the cornice to fit skis. Liam dropped in first, or rather 'aired in', falls were not an option. Adrian was next, then I carved the lip of the cornice a little more for my entrance. I shuffled down, controlling my fear into the no fall zone, and once in the zone it was all good... we were through the first crux and into a classic steep coastal couloir.

Definitely a top ten ski line!


[img width=800]http://i1287.photobucket.com/albums/a632/atraslin/IMG_0077-1_zps06ad38f1.jpg[/img][/img]

[img width=800]http://i1287.photobucket.com/albums/a632/atraslin/IMG_0039-1_zps8f7c4168.jpg[/img][/img]

[img width=800]http://i1287.photobucket.com/albums/a632/atraslin/IMG_0045-1_zps5ed02bb7.jpg[/img][/img]

[img width=800]http://i1287.photobucket.com/albums/a632/atraslin/2013-03-30-Birkenstock-29_zpsc9fe6cc0.jpg[/img][/img]

[img width=800[img width=1000 height=666]http://i1287.photobucket.com/albums/a632/atraslin/2013-03-30-Birkenstock-50_zps495e4a01.jpg[/img]][/img]

Photos: Andy Traslin, Adrian Armstrong

Title: Re: Mar 29, 13, Birkenstock Couloir
Post by: Mtraslin on 04/07/13, 09:55 PM
Good one. Andy Gump. And your crew.

Did your bud realize he was jumping into steep ice.

Title: Re: Mar 29, 13, Birkenstock Couloir
Post by: jwplotz on 04/08/13, 12:10 AM
Nice one and cool video!  In that fourth photo, it looks like your friend is dropping in with his pole for the left hand and I assume an axe in his right hand.  Interesting and (must have been) tense drop in.

Title: Re: Mar 29, 13, Birkenstock Couloir
Post by: Mtraslin on 04/08/13, 08:11 AM
I think he choked up his R hand to the middle of the ski pole.

Title: Re: Mar 29, 13, Birkenstock Couloir
Post by: Atraslin on 04/09/13, 09:20 PM
jwplotz, Next time I will have a rope, falling is not an option. Liam went for it.
Maybe he was thinking of the Shane Mckconkey quote. Don`t just stand there, ski
and jump off something.``

I actually excavated my entrance enough. to allow for the full ski length drop in.

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