Stanley Valley/Glacier trip report Kootenay National
Though I'd contribute to the forum: today was Day one of getting back on that horse and see if the skins still held onto the ski's.
After a brutally cold 5 day cycle of below -25'c, the temp was hovering around 0' at the parking lot. Sloppy on the hiway and it was a 'noon hour' attack. Had trouble finding motivation this AM.
Nevertheless, my new touring partner bailed the evening before (skins were mysteriously MIA) I decided to do a little reconnaissance just over the BC border, the lot was suspiciously empty except for one other vehicle. Noticing the tracks upwards..these two were walking. I saw ice climbers on the south side of the valley-the walk must have been killer. It was at least 6-8k with climbing gear in boots and hopefully gaitors.
The parking lot is ~1670m and 45 minutes later I broke over the crest just short of 1800m. Very easy walk. Someone did a good job flagging the trees which pretty much follow the summer trail. Snow was ~50 cms in the parking lot
Upon entering the valley above & seeing the treeline get thinner.. there was lots of wind with a little more then a light snowfall. There is so much deadfall & burned timber up there.. its so obvious in the winter against the white contrast. I would suppose there was ~75 cms of snow in this valley (up top) & wind effected in places.
As the sub Alpine fade away (~1900+m) the terrain became very wind effected. Lets say 'scoured' at best. To the South side there was some pretty big islands of snow with the odd death cookie stickin out. (at least you could see those). There was significant acccumulation along the many islands of trees.. although the turns were very short lived.
The ski out was fast. No goin off trail into the gnar gnar today.
If anything this trip is short on turns but is somewhat scenic.. leads you to a glacier and has a very easy uphill approach. One comment is if you are bringing a beginner who has very limited skills in braking or turning in downhill mode I would be very considerate on the way out. It is narrow with LOTS of deadfall and crap hangin at every turn. Enough to make the car ride home very quiet with the girlfriend if you know what I mean.
If you are on the silly Splitboard do your self a favor and don't come up here. It just isn't worth it luggin that thing up. Zero reward.
That walk up and on top just as you enter the valley is about as safe as it could be which made me consider that if you were absolutely brand new.. had some avalanche training and were a novice or as a beginner, this could be the place could be for you. Just be aware that as you get to the East end of the Valley there are significant hazards above if you were there after a significant storm cycle. A good 4 hour return trip - easy pace & away fromthe $100 a day Lake Louise ski crowd, iPhones and the interwebz.