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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2004 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  April 2004 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 30, 2004, Spray Park, Flett Glacier, MRNP
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Author Topic: April 30, 2004, Spray Park, Flett Glacier, MRNP  (Read 3120 times)

Posts: 1090

April 30, 2004, Spray Park, Flett Glacier, MRNP
« on: 05/01/04, 08:15 AM »

Matt and I wanted to get back on the waxless skis and do a long tour, and road info from MRNP suggested that the Mowich Lake road was snowfree for a mile, then patchy for another mile, meaning perfect for bike-ski access. In reality, the road was snow-free for half a mile, patchy for another half mile, then pretty much solid snow (with 2 very short bare spots) to Mowich Lake. We pedaled and pushed the bikes to the solid snow at one mile, then stashed the bikes, and beer, in the trees. This left 4 miles of road to Mowich Lake, but there was enough snow in the forest to cut off all road travel from the hairpin at 4300' to the lake. There had been a hard freeze overnight and so the skiing was pretty fast. There was 6-8' of snow at Mowich Lake, which meant continuous snow all the way up to Knapsack Pass. I didn't bring skins, so I booted up the last steep part to the pass on the mostly firm snow, but Matt skinned.

After a snack-and-view rest at the pass, we skied down the east side of Knapsack Pass. This snow had been heating all morning on this sunny day and the turns were a bit mushy, so we bailed into a south traverse across the bottom of steep slopes and both set off wet loose slides which would have been really scary if there had been long slopes below us. The initial few inches of sliding surface snow quickly gouged down a foot or more and created impressive piles considering their short run. We skied over the shoulder of Mt. Pleasant where the hiking path goes, then down the south slope into Spray Park. A bit soft on the way down but then firm and fast snow across upper Spray Park and on the moderate climb to the 7200' saddle at the base of the eastern lobe of the Flett Glacier which lies between Echo Rock and Observation Rock.

There we took a longer break for food and naps, then skied up the Flett to our high point at 7800' right under Observation Rock. There was some newer snow piled and drifted above 7500', perhaps from the big Tuesday storm (the wind had been from the N or NW)? We skied down the short steeper slope and then crossed over west below the steep snow face under Observation Rock, and then skied the run down past Cat-Eye Lake (frozen). The snow was a little tricky at the top but became perfect for turning - well frozen with a little soft on top. We then traversed back to our tracks and retraced our route across Spray Park, over Mt. Pleasant, and up to Knapsack Pass.

Here's a photo from Knapsack Pass on the way back:

We were concerned about getting up the unstable slope on the east side of the pass, but it had firmed up a bit in the shade (even getting a surface crust) and though still mushy, slides were not a problem and we could climb it with our fishscales. We found a little finger of snow which let us get down the west side of Knapsack without removing skis. Nice turns at the top, then a somewhat mushy section before the glide down the valley. With the good coverage we decided to try a different route back to the road-end, down a little draw to the south of the hiking path, and this worked great as it had only about 100vf of bumpy, dirty forest snow to get down. We followed our up-route back to the bikes. At first the snow on the road was a bit slow, but the turn-and-glide along our forest shortcuts was fast and fun, and after that the road skiing got faster, and we were back to the beer in short order. It was great to get into Spray Park with such extensive snow coverage, and with the great weather and snow conditions, we marvelled that there weren't more people there!

There will be more photos on TAY home page on Monday, 5/10.
« Last Edit: 05/02/04, 06:07 AM by admin » Logged

Posts: 1816

Re: April 30, 2004, Spray Park, Flett Glacier, MRN
« Reply #1 on: 05/02/04, 04:18 PM »

WOW! Great effort guys! That puts a lot of mileage on the legs. How many miles was the total trip? I'm sure it was a real quiet trip!

Posts: 35

Re: April 30, 2004, Spray Park, Flett Glacier, MRN
« Reply #2 on: 05/03/04, 03:47 AM »

Well, it was about 2 miles by bike, and 15 miles 4800 vf  by ski.  Fabulous tour: magnificent scenery, wonderful snow, perfect weather, and no crowds.
« Last Edit: 05/03/04, 03:56 AM by mattd » Logged
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