April 28, 2011

Skiing the South Face of Cascade Banff

Gery U and Mr. McGee skiing up to the Commonwealth Chute in K-Country.
Got out for a few fun ski adventures in and around the Bow Valley this week. On Sunday, Gery and I had the pleasure of introducing Craig McGee - of Whistler fame, you've probably heard of him - to the joys of K-Country skiing. We decided to bail on our first idea, the SE Face of Nestor, and went to check out the cool looking Commonwealth Chute.
The Commonwealth Chute as seen from below The Fist.
Hmm... how are we gonna get around that? I know, we'll send Gery up it!
Sadly, not even Gery could surmount the short, steep step.
But it wasn't for a lack of effort.
We decided to ski down and climb the mountain via the standard route. We figured that this would be cool if for no other reason than because it may be the only peak in Western Canada that Raphael Slawinski has not climbed. Plus, it would give us a good look at the upper half of the chute.
Heading up the super technical summit slopes of Commonwealth.
On the top of Commonwealth at around 2900 meters. The French - Haig - Robertson Traverse is in the background. The Commonwealth Chute had a very inviting entrance right off the summit and would require at least one rap - maybe two. I think it would be a fun day out.
We skied away from Commonwealth and headed north towards the Fist. Gery had a cool looking, north-facing shot in mind that would take us down near the Tryst Chutes. It required a tight entrance underneath a baby cornice.
We bootpacked in one at a time then spent ten minutes each putting on our skis. Or maybe that was just me who took so long.
Briggs 1 + 2 below the south face of Cascade Mountain. This is the cool face that overhangs Banff and I've heard the line referred to as the Post Card. Like so many things in life, it looked much better than it was! Don't get me wrong, with good corn conditions this would rank as one of the epic 1400 meter runs in the Rockies. But we didn't find corn or anything even close. Instead, the entire run resembled 40 degree cobble stones. Still a good summit and a cool way to spend the day after just finding out that I'd become IFMGA Certified.
Briggs #1 on the way up with Mt. Rundle in the background.
Mt. Rundle.
Briggs not overly impressed with the perceived ski quality.
But like a trooper he carried on. We made a pact not to take a single photo of us skiing down for fear that it could ruin our reputations as people who know how to ski.
Briggs 1 and 2.

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