Last Thursday, November 24, a couple ACC members and I went on a short walk-about to Richardson’s Ridge near Lake Louise. We took the lazy way, using the chair lifts instead of a long slog up a mostly snow-less road. After a quick hot lap to shake the cobwebs off our legs we toured up and over the Ridge. As we got higher on the ridge (SW aspect) the snow became progressively more shrapled, with small pockets of wind slab on the firm and somewhat slippery crust layer beneath. After some careful skinning we booted up the couloir which was mostly devoid of snow.
Conditions on the East and North East Aspects were much better, with average snow depth being around 60 cm. The North and East aspects in the alpine have great snow, but there are sharks in the water, and no crust layer at this aspect and elevation to cover the rocks. Despite what you see on Instagram there is only 60-70cm cm of snow. We offered a couple obligatory core shots in our skis to Url but got some good turns.
Given that Ptarmigan chair wasn’t open we choose the option of traversing back to Paradise chair. Our route is not recommended unless you want to improve your bush whacking abilities. Below treeline the skiing basically turns into hiking. We at least were bush whacking with skis on.