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I like being outside if it's nice out. This includes mountain biking, trail running, sailing, climbing, skiing and much more. If you're going on a fun adventure, let me know!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Frosty Mountain


Scott Nelson and I enjoyed a perfect spring day touring at Mount Frosty. We skinned up the icy switchbacks from Lightning Lake, climbed up the East Peak, and descended the northwest face down towards Frosty Creek. We then skinned back up and skied out the Windy Joe road.

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We encountered almost the entire spectrum on snow conditions possible. From icy bruise your knee if you fall snow in the lower trees, to fast gliding snow on the flats, icy corn on the steeps, and perfect corn while skipping the meadows. The only thing missing was deep powder, and isothermal slush.

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Our original plan was to ski this couloir on the West summit, or at least look at it from the top. But there wasn't enough snow on the lake and in Frosty Creek so we decided to head to the East Summit via the trail instead. This turned out to be a good decision, as it looked like a big chunk of the cornice fell and triggered a big wet slide down the whole thing. I don't think the skiing would have been enjoyable at all.

DSC_5318 Sticky Skins
A love and hate relationship with spring skiing. Clear blue skies, warm temperatures, and sticky snow.

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Scott skiing towards the East summit, with Castle Peak to the left.

DSC_5378 Chiizu!
Chiizu! On the summit of the East Peak of Frosty. We were in no rush to go anywhere, so we took our time to perfect the Matt Gunn shot, but with a bit of a change! The pink sunglasses are actually from MEC, and they're called "Thriller". Combined with my pink poles with the racing bend, I think they really help my skiing!

DSC_5381 Steep jump turns
Scott Nelson descending the northwest face of the East Peak of Frosty Mountain. It was about 45 deg at the top, for about 200m vertical, and then "eased" to 30-40 deg for a long ways. Conditions were quite variable, thin breakable crust overtop of solid snow (so it wasn't too bad) at the top, then hard grippy snow with a line of frozen ice runnels off to the side. Definitely the most sustained/scary thing I've skied. If the snow was any harder, I think a fall would send up all the way to the bottom, 700m lower.


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Scott threading a careful line through the frozen avalanche debris. It's not the large chunks that you have to worry about, but the barely covered baseball sized chunks that are ready to knock you off your feet.

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Avalanche debris from the cornice fall off the West Summit, and our ski tracks.

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Looking back at our tracks off the summit. The northeast face is more commonly skied down into Frosty Creek.

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We decided not to ski out Frosty Creek since the trees below 1500m would be a nightmare. Instead, we climbed back up onto the shoulder, and traverse towards the col south of Windy Joe.

DSC_5462 Skiing in the Larch trees
And we even found some highly enjoyable corn snow through the larch trees on the way out.

DSC_5463 Skiing in the Larch trees

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Scott skiing out along the Windy Joe trail. We hiked the last kilometre and a bit to get to the road, and hitched a ride back to the car. What a cool trip!

Frosty East Peak
This is a photo taken by Scott, last year, from the West Summit looking east.

2 comments:

  1. looks like a fun trip- any chance you saved a gpx track of the tour?

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  2. Hi Wojciech,

    Unfortunately I didn't have a GPS with me on this trip. Our roue went up the summer trail, through the meadows to the west summit. We skied off the northwest face down into Frosty Creek, and then climbed back up open slopes to regain the meadows, crossed over to the Windy Joe trail and back down that road.

    I hope that helps!

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