May 03, 2014

Skiing The Mt. Bell Couloir

Gery U having no fun on a line skier's right of the Mt. Bell Couloir.

It's been over 2 years since I did a spring ski mission. The last time I got out for something similar was Feb 2012 when we skied Mt Narao during a period of good mid-winter stability. I did go to Baffin Island in May of 2012 and skied The Polar Star Couloir, The Cobra and a few other things, but that was all work related. And then last spring rolled around and the closest I got to any skiing was listening to other people's adventures over beers on the patio. 

So for a re-introduction to the medium, we decided on frying a smallish fish and going for the classic Mt. Bell Couloir. Jason Kruk - the Alpine Artiste - was galavanting through the Rockies in a micro car packed with 2 dogs, skis, paragliders, climbing gear, vegan cooking ware and a sweet girlfriend, and joined Gery U and myself for the outing. Of course, the plan changed slightly when we got to the route and noticed a more engaging line sneaking down from the summit ridge. I was really looking forward to a meat and potatoes first-day-back-in-the-arena, and would have been fine to shred the standard couloir. But the Artiste and Wolverine were feeling froggy and wanted to jump on the more obscure terrain. Of course, knowing the ridicule associated with opting out, I chose to follow my friends. 

Only a fool would not go skiing with this forecast! Then again, it's been a funny year in the Rockies with size 3.5 avalanches pulling out when hazard was 3 x low... 

Approaching the Couloir above Taylor Lake. We went up the big line and down the smaller line just looker's left of center. Jason Kruk Photo.

The Spirit Bear pauses to communicate with the mountain. Our descent line is more obvious in this shot, looker's left of the main goulotte.

Following Jason is not easy! Gery U Photo.

Gery looking for the hamster that escaped his house last year.

The Alpine Artiste chose an excellent jacket for photos.

Union break with a view. Mt. Stanley North Face in the distance. Gery U Photo.

Descending from the summit. How many people would be in this shot if we were in Europe? Gery U Photo.

Jason took a fair-means descent of an alternative couloir.

Gery going in from the ridge. Jason Kruk Photo.

The goulotte widens up in the middle before pinching down at the end.

Rolling on the throttle!

Jason on his line of fair- means. Gery U Photo.

During the ascent. Gery U Photo.

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