Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Up Grouse Mountain in grey morning light through steep forest for an hour and a half, past the resort's roaring snow machines and the eerily empty chairlift. Into the chalet, where a few Euro-tourists are watching Olympic downhill skiing on the big screens. Back out into the cold, and up along the service road to Dam Mountain. Cold wind, little flurries of snow. Up Dam Mountain -- crampons useful, the hard-packed trail all ice -- and then out east along the summer route to Crown Pass, which, past the turnoff to Thunderbird Ridge, quickly changes from an icy flat walk in the park to a 40 degree snowslope with a 500+ foot drop below it into Kennedy Lake. Sidehilling in the frozen boot track, bits of snow skittering away under my spikes, picking up speed as they bounce down the slope, ricocheting off trees and disappearing into air. Aware of my pulse kicking up a notch or two.

Crown Pass from below Little Goat Mountain looking very sheer and dark and cold, all black cliffs and white snow. Squalls blowing in from over Lynn Lake, visibility shrinking.

-It's, eh, pretty steep over there. Ted and I used a rope once. And pickets.

Words of wisdom from Mr. Blair, uncontradicted by Keefer and D. and I. No one complains as we turn around.

Steep ramble from slightly easier peak to peak to peak as the snow picks up, ravens circling around us, croaking heartily, delighted to have visitors. 1200m+ on the day.

Gondola back down to civilization, near whiteout conditions at the chalet turning to rain lower down. Trudging back along the muddy powerline to the car in torrential rain, the track flooded everywhere. Dog shit; pussywillows; salmonberry leaves budding out. Smells of spring.

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