May 03, 2011

Skiing The Mt. Lawrence Grassi Couloir

Climbing the Lawrence Grassi Couloir. Steve Holeczi Photo.

Had a great enviro ski day yesterday with Gery U and Steve H. In an attempt to keep our carbon footprint low, we decided on an objective right above town. This made us feel good because we were saving the environment, but more importantly, because we could gesture wildly at the cool line from numerous downtown patios.

Our goal for the day was the couloir snaking up the looker's left side Mt. Lawrence Grassi. We accessed it by skiing up Ha Ling and dropping down the initial chute of the Canmore Couloir (which was basically a mogul field). From there, we traversed hard right on a ramp until we were below the couloir. Another few hundred meters of boot packing put us on the summit ridge.

Steve H atop the Canmore Couloir.

Traversing in to the line.

Starting the boot pack.

There were some cornices overhanging the route that made for minor discomfort. My tactic for dealing with this type of hazard is to give the threat a more friendly name. For example, instead of referring to the cornices as cornices (something that can fall down and kill you), I choose to call them cornichon or cornish hen ie; something that cannot fall down and kill you. Feel free to try this technique and let me know how it goes.

Sheltered and north facing.

Gery taking over for the technical section.

The cool thing about this couloir was that it constantly dog-legged, making it so that you could never see too far up the route.

Steve H near the top.

Gery coming up with the town of Canmore below.

Almost up. Or maybe we were boot packing down...

Bird's eye view of Canmore.

Handing out the communal TP before starting the descent. The eight-ply stuff is heavy and I did not want to carry the whole role down.

Gery flying down the course. Steve Holeczi Photo.

I've been wearing a helmet lots lately and it probably saved me a trip to the hospital for stitches when I wiped out and smoked my head hard with my skis. Effin teles. Gery U Photo.

Lower down in the couloir. Gery U Photo.

Traversing the entry / exit ramp below Mt. Lawrence Grassi. The Canmore Couloir is visible in the upper right corner.

The real action for the day happened when Steve challenged Gery to a race through the dog park.

Gery took an initial lead through the marshlands.

Steve drafting and saving his energy for the final sprint.

Steve's strategy paid off as he crossed the finish line first amidst some excited Jack Russell Terriers.

Thanks to Kimby for saving us from a 10 minute walk home!

1 comment:

Rob Hop said...

Hey just wanted to say thanks for the beta! Rode this thing on Sunday, conditions were all time! Knee deep pow down the whole line and the cornichon was not so intimidating this year haha. I've been looking at this line since I moved to Canmore in Feb and was looking for beta on the hike up the backside of Lawrence Grassi when I found your blog post. The post itself was a super entertaining read and I never thought to link this one up with Canmore Couloir for some reason so thanks for the idea!