Great Kootenay spring TR -- SW Face of Mount Loki
I peeled this off the Blog at G3 (www dot genuineguidegear dot com) with permission. Loki is an impressivbe peak just up the lake from Nelson, BC. Thanks to Cam, G3 Product Dev. Engineer, for this (that's him photo'ed chugging all the coffee).
The la nina winter has given rise to an amazing spring ski mountaineering season here in BC. There is still a ton of snow up high in the alpine, and there were a few days last week with even more accumulation. I've been really busy working on 11-12 products, but I managed to slip out for a perfect day of spring weather last week to attempt a descent on the seldom skied Mt. Loki in the Purcells just across the lake from Kaslo, BC. Loki is a beautiful peak, and its steep north face is seen from Kaslo. Legend has it that Ptor Spricenieks skied the north face solo, and later described the descent as "a mellow tele." Having looked at the line while climbing and from above, I'm not convinced (see photo below).
We woke up at 3:30 to start hiking at 4:00AM from the 11km mark at 1100m on the portman creek FSR, and we managed to climb the west ridge in firm conditions to get on top (2800m) by 9AM.
Our goal was to hit the SW face in corn snow, and in order to time that perfectly we decided to try to be on top by 9AM and wait for the face to come into condition. Knowing that we would be potentially hanging out for a bit, we brought a stove and a ton of coffee (thanks Scott!).
We wound up hanging out on top for two hours taking in the spectacular views of the Purcells hanging over Kootenay lake without a breath of wind. The combo of mountains above water is always such an aesthetic scene to take in. Scott brewed up a couple rounds of Oso coffee, and by 11AM the face was soft enough to head out onto. We wanted to ski it fairly early, as we would need to cross a couple of big SW slopes to get home. The recent remains of a destructive size 3.5 avalanche in the bowl to the right of our line gave us a lot of motivation to move quickly.
The line was icy for the first 100m or so, and then conditions turned into perfect corn that allowed big ripping turns down into the valley. A quick 3 hrs later we were taking a quick dip in Kootenay lake waiting for the ferry to return to Nelson. I love spring skiing