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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2003 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  December 2003 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  December 26-29, 2003, On the road, Rogers Pass
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Author Topic: December 26-29, 2003, On the road, Rogers Pass  (Read 2077 times)

Posts: 343

December 26-29, 2003, On the road, Rogers Pass
« on: 12/30/03, 04:35 AM »

Epic four days at the pass.  Arrived xmas night to a quiet Wheeler Hut and a meter of fresh Selkirk Powder and very stable snow conditions.  The best xmas present in a long while.  The snow report said it best, "recent storm snow is consolidating nicely with the existing snowpack'.

First morning I joined some folks from Revelstoke and skied the Dome Glacier directly to the Asulkin.  Four thousand feet of untracked, light, Selkirk freshies.  NIcest powder the skiis have touched in a while.  Snow pit shows one consistent layer of snow through the entire snow pack.  No sketchy layers like last year. Best way to access the Dome is to go up the climber's right side of the rock finger that divides the dome and the sapphire.  The Dome consistently provides the best snow around and this trip again proved the prevailing wisdom, the deepest deposition of my visit was at the Dome.

Next up I joined a Warden acquitance and his fellow warden for a tour/patrol over Lookout Col.  Up the Illicellawet Vally bottom and over the col down to the Asulkin.  The trek up the Illicillawet is one of the most beautiful valleys at the pass.  You ski up next to the creek with the mass of Sir Donald above you.  It is one of my favorite places at the pass.  This tour requires visibility and good conditions.  There are several avalance fans and the final slope has some terrain traps.  No worries this day-clear skys and bomber snow pack.  The wardens comment about the pit at the col that it as close to being one single layer of snow as you can get.  Difficult to get any movement with the shovel test. Lovely run down to the Asulkin.  If you nip right and the end of the upper valley for 1/2 mile through the trees you can bomb straight down to the mouse trap on open slopes for a straigh 800 foot drop.  From the valley bottom the wardens headed down to catch the bus to town and I went up towards the Dome for another 2,000 feet of skiing.  When descending the dome.  Traverse skier's (always speaking from Skier's perspective) left at 6,700 ft. to catch another nice slope and line yourself up for the drop to the valley.  One more traverse left 600 ft. above the valley skirts the cliffs and waterfall  with a sweet drop through the trees to the valley.  A highly recommended tour for the variety of skiing and the scenic qualities.  About 3,200 ft. of down.

Repeated the above tour the next.  Started out as an attempt to do the Illic. Youngs Peak traverse but the ceiling dropped by the time we reached Lookout col.  Repeat tour with an early return to the Hut.

Last morning at the pass dawns cold(-20 C.) and clear.  Two parties at the Wheeler make the tour over Youngs Peak.  Six folks from a lodge in Fernie doing some training and our party of three.  Conditions are perfect.  The folks from Island Lake Lodge take the traditional approach up the Illicelliwet Glacier while we check out a sneak that bypasses the broken up glacier.  From Lookout col we head up 500 ft. to 7,600 ft. and traverse across a ledge below Lookout Peak.  The rumored ledge is a great alternative and puts us out on the Neve above the worst of the glacier.  It is a long way to the summit from here but the weather and views are incredible.  We can see peaks in all directions.  A two mile slow ascent brings you to the col below Youngs Peak and the cornice pitch.

You must have ideal conditions to do this tour in winter.  There is some very serious avalance terrain and the cornice pitch is probably the most worrisome.  Fifty feet of boot packing up solid snow confirms that today is a rare day; clear ski and  no avy worries.  The summit triange is a bit icy but we al manage to skin up to the top.  On top we relish the view and gather excitment for the six k run down the seven steps of heaven.  You can see  all the way to the Lake Louise and Bow summit.  My previous visit to the summit in '92 offered no view.  We skiined up from the Asulkin and were greated with strong winds and no visibility.  After wanting to do this tour for many years I finally got the conditions.  Clean tracks down from the 9,600 ft summit to the Asulkin Cabin has us all hooting .  An hour after leaving the summit we are warming our toes at the Wheeler.

Rogers Pass is the Mecca of backcountry skiing in North America.  It has my favorite kind of touring, big alpine terrain and great snow.  Also, if it is really dumping (as I noted last year in my posts re: the Pass) you can find lots of tree skiing.

Next stop: New Years at the Esplanade Hut.  

Hope everyone is getting some great turns in!!

Posts: 2270

Re: December 26-29, 2003, On the road, Rogers Pass
« Reply #1 on: 12/30/03, 05:16 AM »


Thanks for a great report. Timing is everything.  I'll be touring at Roger's Pass later this season and touring over to Glacier Circle hut if conditions permit.

ron j
TAY Moderator

Posts: 2594

Re: December 26-29, 2003, On the road, Rogers Pass
« Reply #2 on: 12/30/03, 05:17 AM »

Sounds like a great trip, Greg.
Thanks for sharing it.

"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
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