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On Thursday, July 22, 1999 10:55 AM, Nick Malczyk
[SMTP:[log in to unmask]] wrote:
> Hey Mark, if the snow conditions on the Kain Face aren't good for
climbing
> maybe they'd be good enough to ski the North Face for the second descent.
> :)

        That was indeed an outrageous descent.  Backcountry Magazine had a spine
tingling article on that fantastic 1995 descent.
        Anyway, I spent last week in the mountains of BC/Alberta with Gene (of
Rainier infame - long story, though we did make it to 13k) and ACMG/UIAA
guide Larry from Canmore, whom I met via Couloir Magazine a year and a half
ago.  With the coldest Summer in 90 years, snowpack was still 6 weeks
behind and new July snow on Mt Robson made for an unstable snowpack and an
ascent attempt a questionable proposition.  Instead, we went to a place
that I have been dreaming of climbing - the Bugaboos of BC.
        On our way, we stopped at Vermillion Pass and bagged 10k+ Mt Stanley via
the steep (40-55 degree) ice/snow climb on the north face and did a lot of
the super cool fun things that ya' see in Chouinards book "Climbing Ice".
 In March 1995, on a Lake Louise to Red Mtn journey (NOT recommended,
especially after a long day of skiing, during foul weather and solo), I had
drooled over this mountain with it's frightening hanging glaciers and
massive snow face and dreamed of exploring it.
        After Mt Stanley, it was 4 days of ascending steep glaciers and bagging
some of those fantastic massive granite monoliths (East Pole, Bugaboo,
Marmalotta, Pigeon) that explode as much as 2,500ft/800m out of the
Bugaboo/Vowell glacier system. We camped at a designated site high above
the Kain Hut overlooking the glacier and in the shadow of the Bugaboo spire
- it's 45km from the nearest paved road plus an arduous 3+ mile/3,000ft
vertical hike  Saw mountains everywhere from the Columbia Icefield group to
Assiniboine to Rogers Pass and towards Kimberley .... huge snowpack in the
Selkirks to the north.
        The last day was spent rock climbing at those sweeet quartzite crags that
overlook Lake Louise on the right side.
        I slept very poorly because I was thrilled about every day and the day
thereafter.  It was a very physically and technically demanding experience,
yet downright spiritual.  It's a rush when you can chase and fulfill your
dreams, especially the frivolous ones!
        Of skiing interest:
        -On the van ride from Calgary to Canmore, the driver was a student at U of
Calgary and did         indeed take courses instructed by SkiVittle Jim Crowley
        -Fantastic corn skiing potential observed on the Vowell Glacier under the
daunting face of the    Howser Spires which were coughing out shattered
seracs, boulders and cornices.

        OK folks, this ain't a climbing list, so I gotta' keep this to a minimum
though I had to emote a bit.  Go to me backchannerl, of course, if ya'
wanna' hear more.

Mark

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