SOAP BOX COMP - The Asulkan Cabin, Young's Peak & Forever Young Couloir.
A long awaited trip to the Asulkan Cabin in Rogers Pass started to hit the skids just as we started getting close enough to start packing and planning for it. Having booked the place out with a group of friends the previous summer, I got to within a week of departure when I finally caved in to to the ongoing toe pain I'd been suffering following a mixed case of toe bang and frostbite. A trip to a skier-friendly doctor who was eager to save my trip left me with a gaping wound where half my regrowing big toenail had been.
That left me with seven days for the wound to heal up enough to jam it in a ski boot for four days - five days to decide whether it was worth starting to pack or whether I should just pull the pin and sit this one out. After a few days of pessimistic hobbling around it started to feel a whole lot better and some emergency boot work gave me a glimmer of hope. Meanwhile other complications started to threaten the trip - staff no shows that endangered time off, avalanche rescue involvements understandably spooked some, contract exchanges on house sales delayed others.
On the final stretch towards the hut with the Asulkan Valley Trans Canada Highway below:
After a long slog with heavy packs we finally made it to the hut. Having agonized over, and often regretted, how many beers I lugged in, I was extremely happy for a cold one.
We dumped our main bags, had a quick break, and then went to enjoy our first turns in the tree triangle. The next morning we awoke to another clear day and so went to make the most of it, skinning into the alpine above the hut to check out the conditions. With the snow feeling stable we started to head to the foot of the Young's Peak Headwall to see if the summit might be feasible.
At this point our group of nine decided to split into more manageable groups, with some of us deciding to continue up the headwall to the summit of Young's Peak. Pictures don't do the sheer magnitude of the mountains and terrain here justice:
Some tracks from some of our party could be seen far below, heading towards the Pterodactyl. The hut is also just about visible far below on the left:
Obilgatory summit shot on top of Young's:
After some snacks and some time soaking in the views we dropped in to enjoy the slightly wind effected but dry snow on the Young's Headwall. Stoked:
It was so good a couple of us decided to skin straight back up to the summit for second lap whilst some of the others split to head to either the Triangle Moraine or the Seven Steps of Paradise.
Spot the skier:
With stability having felt so good and with yet another clear day in the forecast a few of us starting hatching plans for a bigger objective for our final morning: the Forever Young Couloir. Three of our group therefore found ourselves on the skin track for Young's Peak once again the next morning. Making short work of the ascent we were at the summit before lunch, ready to find our way across a very windy ridgeline to the entrance of the couloir.
We were lucky to have such good visibility in spite of the wind as we had a heavily corniced ridgeline to safely negotiate. Looking down:
And back up:
And getting to the entrance where it became apparent that two people had beaten us to it and made a descent of the couloir the previous day:
Not to be put off and still with plenty of room for fresh tracks inside, we got ready to drop in. A few careful turns at the top assessing the snow revealed stable but deep and very sluffy conditions. Shortly after the three of us were safely out the bottom - hooting, hollering and making the most of the seemingly endless pow turns we got to enjoy from the fan of the couloir all the way back to the bottom of the tree triangle.
Skiing a Roger's Pass classic steep line before lunch on our final morning was the best end imaginable to what had already been an unforgettable trip.