After this past week of watching the climbing temperatures here in Calgary we were none too optimistic for the quality of our weekly team Monday trip to the mountains. We did hold some hope that protected, higher elevation, north facing terrain might have stayed high and dry.
With that thought process we made an early start and headed for Mt Field. We knew full well that the lower elevations were likely going to be a no holds barred alder bash, so had mentally prepared for that likely eventuality.
Our day started pre-sun, and to our surprise with some other crew at the trail head. Mt Field is often a later season objective (once a combination of stability and a deep snowpack to fill in alders are met), so we were shocked but stoked to see others on a similar program.
The road went by as any road ski does, and the beginning of the climb was easy going, however I think we zigged when we should have zagged and spent a good deal of time climbing steep terrain in a myriad of alders and deadfall. Certainly type 2 fun at its finest (apologies to the crew coming up behind us, we may have led you astray there! Ha ha).
Once we reached the alpine, Mt Field presented itself in fine form. A few parties had been up there over the weekend and it looked as though they had a nicer (further left) ascent to the alpine than we did, however, I can only speculate on that as we didn’t see the whole ‘story’ of their ascent.
The up-track set by that crew through the alpine was pretty much text book, felt very “guide like”, so, we happily followed the long low angled traverses all the way to the small col just to the north of the main peak. I had to be back in town early, so we passed on getting to the true summit and dropped in for some super buttery dry soft turns all the way back down to the creek and the inevitable mank, bushwhack, sketch fest to get out.
Many bails, a few cliff drops and alders to the face later we emerged (relatively) unscathed to the road and the equally unpleasant ‘death march’ back to the car. Surely a road cannot be any less awkward of gradient for descending. Those who have skied it know what I mean.
It was an gorgeous day in the mountains, views forever, cool but not cold temps and some excellent snow and terrain to top it off. Thanks to everyone who took their turn suffering out front in the bushwhacking and to the weekend crew (whoever they were) who set such a mellow up track through some very serious terrain.
Seems like despite all this whacky weather there is still some darn good riding out there if you are happy to work for it a bit!
The Splitboard HQ Team