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[TR] Revelstoke/Rogers Pass - Picks 'n Sticks 12/24/2010


telemarker
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Trip: Revelstoke/Rogers Pass - Picks 'n Sticks

 

Date: 12/24/2010

 

Trip Report:

I finally fulfilled a long-standing wish to ski Rogers Pass. And I have to say, it didn't quite deliver as I had hoped, due to a low snowpack, and wind scoured slopes. My Catalonian housemate Yvon, on work study with the CAA (he's the head forecaster for the Pyrenees) remarks that RP is just 15cm above the all-time low snow total for the year so far.

 

What it lacked in snow quality, it more than made up in my first look into the Selkirks and Rockies. There are just too many lines to count; it really is very overwhelming. The first day we skied alder and creek drainages in the fingers area just outside Revelstoke. This got the legs stretched out.

 

By the second day, I had to get up to the pass. With good stability, we chose Youngs Peak. On the ascent, this came into view:

rev2.jpg

 

I found out later that evening it was the Forever Young couloir, skied about as often as Cannon Mtn. Couloir. It's a very impressive line, and at the top of Youngs Peak, I couldn't corral anyone to join me in having a look see.

 

The climb up to Youngs is about as easy and mellow as it gets, with distracting views.

The two Catalonians leading the way to a warm-up at the hut:

rev4.jpg

 

Further along:

rev6.jpg

 

Top of Youngs Peak:

rev9.jpg

 

The descent was not the "powder turns forever" that I have heard and read so much about at Rogers. Rather, it was wind scoured hardpan. Throw in a dose of flat light, and the turns felt more survival than graceful. No matter. The time out in this playground was well worth it.

 

Day 3 it was time to sleep in, then climb some Revy ice. Chave and I followed-up on some local ice beta on an obvious falls behind an historic hotel at the Three Valley Gap area. It's at lest 3 to 4 pitches, with an incredible looking final pitch.

rev10.jpg

 

Since I speak Spanish, it was easier to coordinate our climbing commands in Spanish. We worked out the basics, and I lead off into a dripping mess, with ugly hangfire looming. About 55 meters later, I crawl into an alcove in the middle of the formation to set up a belay, getting dripped on the entire time. Chave follows in excellent style in sloppy hiking boots and strap-on crampons. We're both anxious to get the hell out of this coffin/cocoon of ice, as the air feels warm, well above freezing.

rev12.jpg

 

rev18.jpg

 

We rap back to the packs, happy to be out of the firing zone, and scramble back down amidst huge blocks of ice that had previously let loose.

 

Final day, I want another shot at Forever Young before heading back to Wenatchee. Stewart and I get up early, and head up to the pass. I take off at a quickened pace at 7:30am, with the idea that I will boot up the FY couloir to get a feel for the snow. As I get closer to it, the weather's deteriorating quickly. I make a snap decision to instead climb an adjacent couloir on a nearby rock formation. It looks fun, and shorter than the FY.

rev13.jpg

 

In the photo it is the right-most couloir. I originally was shooting for the left couloir, as it looked to be a bit longer. However, the closer I got to it, I realized it had rock barriers that I would not be able to overcome.

 

The snow, again packed hard by wind, was easy booting. I made the top of the gully by 11am, with visibility slipping away in a grey soupiness. The skiing was variable, but steep enough to deliver a shot or two of adrenaline.

Looking up the couloir:

rev15.jpg

 

Halfway down:

rev17.jpg

 

I made it back to the Asulkan Hut Hiway, and immediately transported myself to side-stepping, skate skiing heaven on the way out, making the car by 12:15pm.

 

A HUGE thanks to Stewart and TVT for hosting! What a playground, the surface just barely scratched. I'm going back...

 

Edited by telemarker
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Very cool looking ice line. Do you know the name of it?

 

yup. as telemarker says, that's Gap Falls. it was listed in the 1st ed of WCI, but dropped from the 2nd. Garry Brace, John Rance, and Rick Cox all had a hand in the FA, sometime late in the '70s. I called it grade 5 in the guide (based on 2nd hand advice), but I climbed it later and I reckon 4+ is fairer. the big problem is that it is not that cold around Revelstoke, plus the climb faces south, so it's hard to find it in good condition when it's solidly below freezing - and when the sun is not threatening to cut the upper gully loose... it's more dangerous than difficult...

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As a matter of fact it did dump right after you left.

I was up at Asulkan hut from the 27th to the 1st and had phenomenal skiing in deep fluffy powder :)

The only down side was the knee and thigh deep trail breaking, but it was definitely worth the effort...

Edited by CrackAddict
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