06 February 2013

Joffre Peak and Aussie Coulior

Our first Canadian objective as part of the Keith's Hut Trip was to ski from the summit of Joffre Peak.The other people in our crew sent it the previous day and had nothing but fantastic reports of great snow and stable conditions. We awoke to completely clear skies and headed UP!

Andrew leading the way. The summit of Joffre is the furthest high point on the right
Fantastic sunburst shot displaying our breathtaking weather by Andrew Sullivan

The route takes you from Keith's Hut up onto the Anniversary Glacier where you eventually gain the Col between Mattier and Joffre. The climb to the col is over 2,000 feet, and once reached you descend/traverse for a few hundred feet to get to the base of Aussie Couliur, our true ski objective for the day.

Alice on the Anniversary Glacier nearing the Col
The Col - to our right Mt. Joffre. Photo by Alice Bremner. 

Aussie Couloir is a sight to behold. With over a thousand vertical feet of steep, skiable terrain, it truly is ski porn for the adventurous. But I don't need to wax philosophic about it, I'll just let the picture do the talking:

Mmmm....Aussie Coulior (left). Skier at the bottom. Picture by Andrew Sullivan.

We skinned as high as we could before stripping down to our base layers (it was HOT in the coulior, as is common on sunny days), removing our skins, fueling up with lots of trail mix, and beginning the boot pack to the top. Luckily the track was already laid in for us so trail breaking was not necessary - however unluckily for me, whoever laid in the track had LONG legs, and some of the steps were....challenging.... for the vertically inhibited (aka short people).

A different group of 3 nearing the summit with us. Photo by Andrew Sullivan.

Alice coming up below. You can really see the steepness of the slope and size of the boot pack.

It took over an hour to gain the summit. I recently learned that there's a math equation to estimate time for backcountry travel:

Horizontal 1km = 1 unit
Vertical 100m = 1 unit

Total your units. 
Divide by 4 for uphill travel, or by 10 for downhill travel.
Total remaining is time in hours. So 1.75 = 1 hour 45 minutes.

To ascent Aussie Coulior which was roughly 1,200ft UP (so virtually no horizontal travel), you have 4 units (1200' = roughly 400m), divided by 4 = 1 hour. So, over an hour of travel time was about right given the steepness of the slope and the fact that we kept rubbernecking to take in the fantastic views.

Speaking of - here are summit photos for your viewing pleasure:

Black Diamond should use this in an ad. Looking south.

Looking north. Snow capped peaks as far as the eye can see.

Panoramic south-east-north. True Summit is at right. Photo by Andrew Sullivan.

Happy Ladies on the summit! Mt. Mattier is the point peak behind to the right.

It was so clear we could see Mt. Baker all the way in 'Merica!
How was the ski down? I guess you'll have to wait to find out, as I've tuckered myself out writing this blog AND I'm having a hard time cutting enough pictures to make this blog a reasonable length! So...until next time. Stay safe my friends. :)

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