Mt Quadra

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, poor weather and the dreaded 4 letter W word have reduced spring skiing to merely a nagging idea in the back of my mind. Luckily I have Jeff to share his spring stoke and when he e-mailed me with the heads up that there was going to be a good weather window, the wheels started to turn.
 Any skier who’s spent anytime in the Rockies has stared at the 3/3.5 couloir and imagined shredding turns down it. Simply put, it’s perfect; steep, long, aesthetic and elusive. Conditions are ephemeral, you need to dial the weather window to ski it in good conditions and it’s not a piece of terrain to be taken lightly.  Atop this mighty beast is the haven known as the Neil Colgan hut, providing shelter to mountaineers looking to bag Mt Phay, Quadra or any of the other “ten peaks”.

The 3/3.5 couloir

We started booting up the 3/3.5 around 8 pm hoping that the slope had cooled off enough from the daytime heating to make it up safely. We cautiously ventured up and were pleased to find it cooling and a crust starting to form. After a few hours of booting we arrived at the glacial plateu and contoured to the Neil Coglan hut. The hut was built in 1982 by the Alpine Club to support climbers attempting the peaks in and around the valley of the 10 pks. The hut is styled after the Euro cabanes scattered throughout the Alps.  Perched high on the ridge of Mt Little, literally tethered to the rock, it’s Canada’s highest habitable shelter at 2940 meters. And what a view from the toilet!

approaching the hut at night

We rolled out of the hut Saturday morning at a relaxed hour of 8 am towards the Phay/Quadra col, after a short bootpack and ski we were treated to a view of the route we were to climb and ski. With the rapid daytime heating it was understood that we needed to put our heads down and giddy up. Luckily we had a secret weapon, Matteu to set a blazing pace to the top that the boys couldn’t keep up with. On the summit we had a quick bite and committed to the descent, leap frogging turns down the steep, somewhat variable couloir. A quick hop over the bergshrund and a couple hundred feet of breakable crust and we were in place to reverse our route to the hut. 

Mt Quadra

Jeff atop Quadra

At the hut we took a minute to grab our gear, sip a tasty adult beverage and then it was time to gumboot’er to the 3/3.5.  Steep spring turns and airy exposure were the flavor down the chute.  Some chundery debris at the bottom, a quick pole across the lake, pose for a few tourist’s pictures and we were changing into flip flops and high fiving at the truck.

For the last few brave skiers who’re keen to get up early there’s good fun to be had out in the mountains right now.  Get after it while you can!



One Response

  1. Nice one Ian (and gang) !!!! I Wish I could have been with you guys to share in the spring time fun!!!

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