Friday, April 18, 2014

Packing up for the icefield

We've wanted to go back for a long time, since the last time we were there 5 years ago. So it's off to the Columbia Icefield to spend a week close to one of the two hydrological apexes of North America which is a mountain called Snow Dome.  Snow that falls there eventually drains either to Hudson Bay, the Arctic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean.  The magnitude of the Icefield itself is remarkable - it's vast and we predict not too many people this long Easter weekend.

Mark's pack is close to 50 lbs, and I'm pretty close to that so I'm going to feel strong.  I'm more worried about my feet and ski boots, which I've tried to mediate with ever since I bought them but my feet just don't seem happy no matter, even with new liners I stuck in them this season. The liners are supposed to mold to my feet but my feet don't listen to the instructions and want to break out of might be the deal breaker of the trip actually.

We fussed with z-pulley systems and we'll have to fuss some more because we don't want to get in a position where we haven't practiced our crevasse rescue enough.   I think there will be plenty of snow and we also got all the avalanche stuff which if we make the right decisions we won't need.  The last time we were on this icefield it snowed over a meter and we ended up going out another way to avoid the avalanche hazard of the Athabaska route.  I hitchhiked back up to the truck cause Mark would have probably had to wait a lot longer to get picked up.  I remember the conversation with the man who brought me back up to the top - that was the year a bunch of snowmachiners got killed in an avalanche outside of Elksford and that's where he was from.  He lost some friends.  Since then snowmachiners are learning to be more saavy about their terrain choices - or at least it seems like there is more opportunity for education.  Now it's cool for a snowmobiler to know something about avalanche hazard and how to avoid them.  This has changed in the last five years I believe.

The Weather Network longterm forecast for next week - Nordegg which I guess is the closest reporting spot.

The last time we were here we basically got weathered out, but we're bringing the cribbage board this time just in case.  Five years ago, which was also the April long weekend, we ended up getting neighbors next to us and they set up a nice cook-tent we were invited to hang out in.  We ended up having to leave due to work responsibilities but they stayed on until the weather broke and ended up summiting.

I'm sure the cribbage board will bring us good weather.
Or maybe I'll get really good at counting.