May 03, 2009

Stoke Train

On the summit ridge of Bow Peak before 9am.

I am a lazy bastard. If it weren't for some good and motivated friends, I doubt I'd ever leave the house before noon. So when Ali told me a about a line he was stoked to ski, it's no surprise that the first thing I asked was what time he wanted to leave.

"Four a.m.," he said. "And Wexler," he added, "None of your late business. "

I held the phone in stunned silence for a moment as the words tore through me like a knife. My body was rejecting the idea like it would a kidney transplant from a monkey. But I stayed the course, telling myself that sometimes it's best to jump on the stoke train without thinking too much about it. Of course, when the alarm went off at 3 am the next morning, the first thing I did was curse Ali and his frikken stoke train.

Ali approaching Bow Peak. The Funnel of Death is the obvious line up and left from the skier. To read about a descent of the Funnel, click here. We skied the face to the right.


Ali perfecting the art of dragging my ass up cool lines.

Since he was doing such a great job, I let Ali break trail almost the entire day.


Ali burrowing through the summit cornice. Tight, narrow constrictions are his specialty.

Digging out the launch pad. Ali Haeri photo.

Looking down at 900 meters of Rockies cream. Ali Haeri photo.

Choo choo! Ali Haeri photo.

After the perfect day on Bow Peak, I was stoked! Doing the ACMG exams can sometimes take the fun out things, and it felt really good to be cruising around the mountains, getting a little scared (steep faces in the Rockies are always a bit scary), and having only ourselves to answer to.

We took a rest day and came up with a new mission. We were initially thinking about laying tracks down the K-Country classic Smuts, but eventually set our sights on what is possibly the most visible line in the Rockies - The NE Face of Mt. Victoria. For those who don't know, this is the face that overhangs Lake Louise and it is an undeniable fact that more Japanese tourists take photos of this line than any other.

A few months ago, while I was in the thick of slogging around in preparation for the ski exam, I wrote something about wanting to go out and get scared on a big face just to remind myself that I am a skier. Well, I asked for it and I got it.

Smuts Overview.


Ali and Frank The Tank at the Lake Louise parking lot at 5 am. Notice the two cans of Redbull in Ali's grasp. This, combined with an early morning helping of greasy eggs, made for a painfully fast approach.

Approaching Mt. Victoria.

Ali and The Tank below the NE Face of Mt. Victoria.

The Tank and myself during the 5 minutes where I broke trail. Ali Haeri photo.

Looking down the NE Face. Falling on this route would be a terrible thing (which is why, like a coward, I boot-packed most of the way down). Props to Ali and Frank who shredded! Note: we stopped about 150 feet shy of the true South Summit. The angle eased off at this point but the conditions were icy and we were ill-equipped. Perhaps I'll get another chance to redeem myself. Ali Haeri photo.

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