The 31st was the first day of slightly cooler temperatures after an extended period of warm temps that turned the snow isothermal up to 2200 on the parkway. With wind slab concerns we decided that the grand daddy couloir's sheltered hallways presented a good option. Isothermal snow was encountered up to treeline with a bit of left over dust on crust above. Once in the couloir the snow was pretty good outside of the sluff line but the sluff debris were still soft enough for good skiing to be had. Easy boot packing all the way up to within 10m of the large overhanging cornice that guards the ridgeline. At this point the snowpack became thin and faceted and we tucked ourselves out on the lookers right wall to transition. The first of us dropped in by traversing to a position a few meters underneath the cornice before progressing downhill. The second followed in the firsts tracks but went 1.5 meters more to lookers left. The second skier ended up uncovering a rock with their uphill ski. The rock lifted the uphill ski tip to the point that it caused the skier to tumble backwards. The skier was unable to arrest and began to tomahawk uncontrollably down the line and out of sight. Skier 1 went to assist while skier 3 finished transitioning. Skier 3 attempted to gingerly make their way down the couloir without sending sluff down to the injured skier. I was the last to transition and I took my time to ensure I didn't make any mistakes given the extra stress of the situation. I thought skier 2 would have come to a stop at some point mid couloir where the angle lessens considerably, but skier 2 ended up sliding to just below the iconic rock outcrop at the bottom of the couloir. By the time I reached the bottom skier 1 and 3 had already bandaged a large laceration on the back of skier 2's head and had moved skier 2 to a moat behind the protection of the large outcrop. Skier 2 remained conscious and alert throughout the ordeal. We activated a spot and radioed parks dispatch using the Hector Mountain Repeater. We were in the process of putting together a rescue sled to move skier 2 to treeline where there would be a bench that a helicopter could land but parks informed us that they would sling into our position. Im not sure how much time had gone by but it seemed like 15-20 minutes had passed before parks radioed in to confirm that the spot activation they had received was indeed from us. I believe the first visitor safety member slung into our position 45 minutes after we first radioed in. After that we stood back and let the visitor safety staff do their job. Luckily skier two should fully recover in the end but it could have been a lot worse. A big take away from this for me is that I should be wearing a helmet whenever I am skiing aggressive terrain.
On the 2nd we skied across the highway from Bow Peak to the Col on Cirque Peaks western shoulder. Cold overnight temperatures had refrozen the isothermal snow down low. We found 5-10cm of new snow on crust on the south face of Cirques shoulder with 15-10cm of somewhat wind slabbed snow on the north bowl.
Today we skied the Chester Couloir in K Country. We found similar conditions to what we had in the grand daddy. Dust on crust until we actually got into the line at which point there was 15-20cm of soft snow on top of a harder snow surface. 75 meters from the top where the ramp line rolls and eases off to a considerably lesser angle we encountered a 40cm deep wind slab on top of facets. It appeared to be well bonded in hand shears but I dislike playing the facet game so we retreated to a more protected location to transition. I love skiing the ramp lines of K country as they have the aesthetics of couloir skiing but with a more laid back angle which allows for faster skiing. This ramp is no exception and we enjoyed harvesting the pow until getting jarred by the frozen debris of the fan. Unfortunately this year it appears most of the other ramp lines in the park appear to be fairly thin.
First Photo: Grand Daddy couloir is the center left line that is mostly hidden in this shot. Second Photo: Shoulder of Cirque Peak Third Photo: Chester Couloir
« Last Edit: 04/03/15, 09:38 PM by Skier of the Hood »
"As we all know, the true driving force behind every early morning wake up is not necessarily safety, but the overpowering drive to be sitting on a patio by 1 pm, intoxicated, and spraying loudly about the morning's adventure."