February 25, 2006
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Despite some planning early in the week, the trip had that "thrown together at the last moment" feel. This is probably due to the fact that by the time I got in touch with grahame at 11:30 pm on friday night, he was half cut at a bar and thought the trip was off! Luckily he was still interested and decided to go home a pack up. Things were a bit off kilter and the weather wasn't as nice as we had gotten used to over the past few weeks. Since a fair bit of snow was coming in and avi was likely to go up in the near future, we were keen to try for a good objectives while the avi was still bomber. We decided to go for the north face of Slalok and the Stonecrop Glacier. Unfortunately, as we worked our way up the face, we found the snow to be pretty darn hard. It seemed like it would have been easy to loose an edge on the ski down and the thought of pinballing down the couloir was unappealing. A ski descent wasn't in the cards for us, so we took it pretty and made our way back home early. The weather crapped out as we exited, which made it a little easier to swallow a retreat. Despite the failure to getting up and down our objective, we managed to have a great day and spent much of it laughing our heads off. In retrospect we probably should have picked a mellower objective for the day given the weather and snowpack, but you never really know what it's going to be like until you poke your head out there. Truthfully we've had some pretty successful trips recently and you can't expect every trip to pan out as planned. We'll be back for more Slalok later in the year. One good lesson from the day: on these types of peak ascents I think everyone should bring ice axe and regular crampons. With the proper gear we could have changed the day into a mini alpine climb and still had an exciting time, probably getting to ski several sections of the descent.
The crew: Chris Gooliaff, Matt Gunn and Grahame
The deadly Joffre Wolf is stalking GQ
Skiing up to the north face of Slalok
Bootpacking up to the couloir
The inital short couloir
"How about we go to whistler for some orange mocha frappucinos!?"
Chris skis the variable snow
GQ on the descent
No Slalok today....