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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Wandering around in knee deep snow

No, folks, I have not been sleeping. Rather, I have been skiing my face off, which I write about on my other blog. I'm up to 42 days, almost 300,000 vertical meters and over 500 runs so far this season.

My daughter, however, does not ski, despite my bestest efforts to convincer her to try (and now with KC being a Level 1 instructor, she doesn't have to listen to me...). In general, she doesn't like winter that much (she's living in the wrong place). But she does like snowshoeing.

So last Friday, in an effort to show her the joys of skiing while snowshoeing, we went up to Sunshine and into the backcountry.

Our walk started on the top of the continent, at the Continental Divide marker.
Goat's Eye on the left, Angel on the right, my daughter in the middle
There's a summer trail that starts here and heads down to Rock Isle Lake. Trails are easy to see in the summer. There's nothing to show them in the winter. So we basically made up our own route, and wandered through the forest.
Yours truly, breaking trail
Looking back
Our main goal was to stay out of avalanche terrain, as the avi report called for Considerable avalanche danger above treeline. In many places we found the 20 cm or so that fell in last weeks storm.
Coming down in 20 cm is easy
The snow depth back here was outrageous. Some examples from when we did find the summer trails:
A trail sign. 4' tall
This guardrail protects you from falling into a waterfall in the summer
In spots, the snow was VERY unsupportive, and even with snowshoes on we sank in up to our mid thighs. Each of us got stuck at least once.
That's actually a lake with an island in the middle
Our tracks across the lake to the island
Snacking on the island. The ski hill in the distance
Sunshine runs a groomer out to the lake because it has utilities back there. So the walk back was easy, all the way to the backcountry access gate, and you really didn't even need snowshoes.
One of the several gates on the resort's boundaries
I volunteered to design an in-bounds snowshoe route for Sunshine's hotel guests, and so after bush-bashing (snow bashing?) our way out to the Rock Isle Lake environs, we wandered around in-bounds for a while after lunch.
The Gondola and the old ski out
What better way to end the day than by making everyone cook their own dinner? Well, sort of. We like to cook on hot rocks. Makes a big mess but it's a lot of fun.
The hot rock spread