Team Nelson, decimated by injuries, voluntary team cuts and a horrendous skating rink like conditions, the team pulled off a come-from-behind win. Granted, only 3 of 12 participants made it to the buzzer, but I think most people had fun, enjoyed the sun, and survived the bullet proof ice.
- Kevin Starozik – after tearing his MCL on our first descent of the trip (the snow was heinous breakable crust), he pulled it together and limped out to the car without a complaint. Upon inspection by two med students and an OT, an unqualified diagnosis of MCL tear was made and Kevin’s season was effectively ended. Since the snow was terrible, a traverse was selected for the next day and Kevin enabled it by dropped us off and picked us up at the end. We were all very grateful.
- Jenny Strong – Due to the decimation of team Nelson, 6 people instead of 2 headed home early. Jenny lent the grinding line her car so that we could finish the trip in Subaru style. Thanks Jenny.
- Kyle Duran – for just being that entertaining.
The day before the trip, Nelson suffered rain and warm temperatures that melted all the snow below 1500 m and turned everything else into bulletproof ice, hence the hockey analogy. A warm pressure system resulted in 3 beautiful days of sun and views and even softened the crust on occasion. After a pretty disastrous day at Kootenay Summit that did in Kevins knee, we decided to do the 7 summits traverse (a bike trail). The trail is 25 km, and with a hard freeze, the condition were very spring like and perfect for a traverse. We even bagged all 7 summits on the way, arriving at Red Mountain at 15:45, 15 minutes before our meetup time with Kevin.
The next day, most had to head home, but with one great day, spirits were high. A hot springs were enjoyed and with 6 in one van, I’m sure the conversation was lively. The remaining 3 (the grinder line) decided to skin Hummingbird pass, marked as a green run. We missed the trail head and completed a terrifying ascent of steep ice that was definitely, no fall or else terrain. I’m glad I forgot my ski crampons (was that comment sarcastic?). Heck, ice axes and real crampons would have been nice. After surviving that heinous skin, we submitted White Queen and had a rewarding lunch in the sun. With time to spare, we skinned and boot packed our way up to the top of Half Dome, checked out the skiing on the other side of Mount Ymir and Enma Peak and headed back down Half Dome to the resort. Phil then declared his love for 45 degree trees, on bulletproof ice, filled with basketball sized death cookies, mmmm cookies.
Finally, the drive home for the grinder line. The views were again stellar and we romped up cornice ridge to the top of something pointy. Condition were again, bulletproof ice, but thankfully the sun had warmed up the face down from the summit. The corn snow made for the best turns of the trip (at least 10!). We then hit the trees and survival skied in a downwards direction where I managed to shear a Dynafit binding in half. With a Voila strap (bought from the club) holding my boot to what remained of my binding, we skied back to the car with no further trouble or delay. Had that binding exploded while nuking steep ice trees, this trip report would likely have been different. Mmmmm, death cookies.
I think we managed to leverage the conditions we had for some awesome spring touring in February and everyone made it home.
Hot Shots Cafe in Cranbrook is awesome. If anyone has info on the Mount Steeples ridge traverse, please let me know.