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I babbled: "It was late in the day, but Larry still suggested doing a short 800 foot run downhill from the Lodge through a newly cut glade.  Yeah, right, with me being so burnt and needing to still acclimitize, take a big guess as to what I did .................."
 
Well, duh, of course I went out for turns.  That's 'cuz it's turns and turns on a 148cm snowpack through a never skied glade.  Plus with my day pack on my back, I felt so much more lighter on my feet and downright bouyant!  Was it worth it?  HELL YEAH!  Nice tight trees with a steep drop-off at the top.  I had those G3 Saints marchin' in very nicely ............. 'cuz I got at it on the groomers at Lake Louise the prior day and was therefore dialed into some good fundamental skills.  We sure did have a nice run and skinning back up was actually enjoyable (yup, that's what I wrote in my field notes).
 
The next morning, Larry left to go back to Calgary, leaving Corin and I alone for a week in the wild and heavily glaciated mountains together .......... and we didn't even know what our sexual orientations were.  Oh $hit.
 

Mark P. Renson 


________________________________
From: Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 8:24 PM
Subject: Re: [SKIVT-L] BC/Alberta - 20111209 through 20111217


Assistant guide Corin had first become interested in Icefall Lodge when Super Ski Bum Henry told him about what Henry described as the "goggle deep" week which I was at where I was deep throated: 
http://list.uvm.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0812B&L=SKIVT-L&T=0&O=A&P=144377  That week was one that skiers dream of and explains why I go out there and Durrand and Rogers Pass, etc so much.

Lead Guide Larry was not able to guide on my week - I have skied and climbed with larry since March 1998 all over BC and Alberta.  So it was up to Corin to lead me.  Oh, it was Corin's first week of being a professional guide which meant it was just he and I to look after each other and to do Guide's Meetings, snowpack assessments, decision making, route planning  and digging among other things.  Larry was to accompany us for the trip in, pulling Corin and I by snowmobile and heading up to Icefall Lodge overnight.  

So, Saturday morning, we piled into the pick up truck and babbled about gear, guiding, snow, skiing, climbing - you know, The Scene!  Chatter Creek had plowed the first 60km of logging road which got us to within 30km of the lodge.  We loaded toys into a sled and Corin and I clipped into ropes - tie a knot in the rope, wrap the tail around our waist and clip into the knot with a biner so if you stumble, the tail will slip through the biner and you'll be fine - trust me, it works very well.

Waking the echoes ............  the first ski descents around Icefall Lodge were made in March 2005 which included the first Winter ascent of Kemmell Mountain and second ascent ever.  This expedition was comprised of Larry the guide, his future wife from Denmark and a client of his from the Boston Mass area.  Here's his sweet Danish girlfriend in Revelstoke by the truck ready to make the drive over Rogers Pass to Golden BC for the start of that historic March 2005 expedition:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/Icefall%202005/Icefall0305017.jpg
The two then met up with the client from Boston and headed to the end of the plowed road for the 30km journey into the base of the big skin up:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/Icefall%202005/Icefall0305018.jpg

Back to December 2011, we had a very smooth 1 hour or so trip to the bottom of the skin up to Icefall Lodge.  I was nervous at first being pulled by the snowmobile, but the snow was soft and I held on, picking up many faceshots from the snowmobile driven by Larry.  

Waking the echoes ............ but for those first skiers in, the going was not smooth at all .............  some wet slides ran on the South aspects and refrozen, three major ones in total.  The Boston client had to be put to work to dig a track across the forzen debris:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/Icefall%202005/Icefall0305019.jpg
Then the sweet Danish lass had to pitch in: http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/Icefall%202005/Icefall0305024.jpg
This enabled the guide to cross the path: http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/Icefall%202005/Icefall0305020.jpg
The guide had to drive because the Boston client was clueless as to what to dow ith a snowmobile (operating a shovel was more his speed): http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/Icefall%202005/Icefall0305025.jpg
They were so stalled by digging through the three slide paths, that the 3 had to spend the night in a tent campsite by the Vallenciennes River: http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/Icefall%202005/Icefall0305027.jpg
Even in Summer, there can be roadblocks into getting to the base of the climb up as cook Mo' shows us how to hump a log across a washout on our trip in July 2010: http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/Icefall%20for%20SkiVT-L/Icefall2010029.jpg

Under cloudy skies in December 2011, we packed our backpacks with food and supplies for the week in addition to our own personal gear.  The hike/skin up from the base at 3500' to the lodge at roughly 6300' is actually enjoyable.  Note that there are the slide paths of what is known up there as "The 7 Deadly Sins" which I brought up to Corin in our guides meeting the prior meeting.  We exercised some crafty travel tactics to avoid them and then skinned up a gnarly knob to avoid one especially nasty terrain trap.  Larry and I waited for Corin to set the steep rough track up this which gave Larry time to quiz me as he often does.  Yeah, he'll take me to an alpine climb and give me a surprise quiz on how to set up a haul system for a crevasse fall for example.  The way up was no exception as he quizzed me on what I was observing in the snowpack around us.  Yeah, no observed instabilities, but some 2-3mm surface hoar was my answer which was the correct
 answer indeed.  The skin up at that point was starting to grind on me, however.  The strap system on my thrice repaired 18 y/o pack were not as tight as they should have been (dang, I shoulda' been more diligent about making adjustments after being thrown around on planes, buses and sleds), so every step forward meant that the heavy pack made a tug or shift on me which was annoying and burnt me out.  So, by the time I completed the 2800' foot ascent to Icefall Lodge, I was pretty burnt and had to reach down within to help start a fire and set things up in the Lodge.

It was late in the day, but Larry still suggested doing a short 800 foot run downhill from the Lodge through a newly cut glade.  Yeah, right, with me being so burnt and needing to still acclimitize, take a big guess as to what I did ..................

Mark P. Renson 


________________________________
From: Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 10:18 PM
Subject: Re: [SKIVT-L] BC/Alberta - 20111209 through 20111217


Riding in the bus up Highway 1, I saw runnels in the snowpack ..................... a sign of prior rain.  There had been some harsh Pineappling going on in late November including an episode where downtown Calgary had been closed due to windows getting blown out and debris blown around by high winds.  There was supposedly even a size 4.5 slide in Rogers Pass was is big for any time of year and especially impressive for early in the season. But between Highway 93 and Lake Louise, the runnels ceased.  I checked in at the Lake Louise hostel and dug a pit outside in a proper spot and found some light crusts and nasty facets/depth hoar at the bottom of a 44cm snowpack.  Well, the group room I got for $30 had only me in it, so I in effect got a private room for $30.  I still needed to get my ski legs in so the next day, I decided to put in a day at the Lake Louise ski area.  The hostel was nice enough to let me store some of my gear in a locker and I
 was able to get a shuttle bus ride to the area and whaddya' know, I was able to get in a ski day!  I even paid full freight for only about the 3rd time in 11 years.  I dug a pit at 7000' in a proper spot just outside the Back Bowls and found a stronger snowpack with no crusts ............. hmmm, the snowline musta' started between 5 and 7 thousand feet.  
 
Then it was - as Carol Nelson used to say - Blue Speed Ahead  LAPS, BABY, LAPS!  I utilized the shiny new high speed ultra chi-chi Grizzly Express Gondola and down went Wapta, Pinecone Way (yeah, buddy!), Wiwaxy and Meadowlark among others.  All groomed and perfect for carving turns!  Short radius turns, medium radius turns, large radius turns, HUP-TWO-THREE-FOUR!  No stopping for lunch as I was in a feeding frenzy on blue groomers.  Concentrate on that carve and implement a tactic per Allison Gannet and Christian (Allison went to UVM and Christian is Vermont skiing) HUP-TWO-THREE-FOUR!  This was all done on my AT gear (includes Dynafit bindings) and at the gondola loading area, someone scanned my lift ticket so now the Lake Louise marketing data analytics database now has some customer in it from Massachusetts who came out to pound out laps on the groomers!
 
I went right up to 2PM and caught the shuttle back to the hostel.  That was a fun ski day and I was even a bit toasted at the end.  I lugged my toys to the Greyhound bus stop and caught the 3:20 Vancouver bus to Golden BC.
 
In Golden, I grabbed a meal at the not so chi-chi Husky truck stop ....... ummm, not recommended.  In the motel room, I organized my gear and read avie bulletins and Wx reports.  Then Corin the assistant ski guide showed up and we went over plans.
 
 
More to come and we'll all see why I and those in The Know and who get it like Hugh Hermann realize that the Icefields Parkway was built on the incorrect side of the Divide (re: Mistaya, Icefall, Assiniboine, etc)..

 
Mark P. Renson 


________________________________
From: Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2011 9:58 PM
Subject: [SKIVT-L] BC/Alberta - 20111209 through 20111217


Going home on the I-495 Frontier tonight, I could see that Nashoba's daunting north face is in!

I spent a day at Lake Louise getting my ski legs in and then it was 8 days away from the internet or beer or cell phones or road rage at Icefall Lodge (www.icefall.ca) .  Conditions were ho-hum - only knee deep untracked for most of the week and then knee to crotch at the end.  We left with a 162cm base at treeline (6350' ASL).

More later ............


Mark P. Renson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - SkiVt-L is brought to you by the University of Vermont. 
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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - SkiVt-L is brought to you by the University of Vermont. 
To unsubscribe, visit http://list.uvm.edu/archives/skivt-l.html 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - SkiVt-L is brought to you by the University of Vermont. 
To unsubscribe, visit http://list.uvm.edu/archives/skivt-l.html 

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SkiVt-L is brought to you by the University of Vermont.

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