Confessions Of A Ski Bum

Pope’s Col

A few days ago Laura messaged me about getting out with her and Adam, we were looking to get after something more than another tree run but yesterday the forecast was calling for clouds. Yesterday’s forecast had been way off, I skied one of the Sherbrooke slide paths with Anna under blue skies while the current forecast said overcast. With all that in mind we decided to try for the glacier run on Pope’s Col.

Woke up today to overcast skies but we decided to head up and see if we would get lucky. Kylee had messaged Adam late in the night to join too, so there we were at the O’Hara parking lot at 9am with a sky that showed some promise.

About to reach the lower, almost gone, glacier toe

We followed a fresh broken splitboard trail that took a direct line up through the forest to the shale cliff area close to the shoulder of Narao. As we hit the trimline we caught up to the group who had saved us from trailbreaking, thanked them and moved on. They were heading to the Narao Couloirs for the day.

The hanging glacier on Pope’s Peak


After skinning up and down the lower moraines we followed the last large one to the looker’s left glacier. We climbed a short section of rock through a weakness in the lower cliff before skinning almost all the way to the col. We all ended up bootpacking the last 30-50m to the col as it became easier than skinning.

After Adam and I climbed up the small unnamed peak to the east we all setup for the ski. I had originally wanted to ski the longer direct skier’s left glacier run but we decided to ski the route we came up instead. First off there was really flat light and there are a few sizable holes in the larger glacier run and it would have been impossible to see any sags. Secondly we snow is still pretty variable so we knew what we were getting by going back down the route we took up.

Might as well mix it up a bit after a long skin, right?


The views from the Pope’s Col area are outstanding

We skied the run in 3 pitches with a short downclimb back through the cliffs between pitch 2 and 3. Although I’m not sure everyone would agree, I’d say the snow was good overall. I ended up skiing fairly fast and I think that helped me from digging into the wind slab that other’s might have felt.

After the run we tucked under the larger glacier to have a look at the slope and then skied the moraine/boulder field area until it got flat. We saw the two splitboards and skinned over to see if they had success in the couloirs. One of them got up and through the Birth Canal section but then turned back after finding variable snow.

Adam skis down the upper glacier

After skinning back around Narao Shoulder we found some great snow with pockets of unsupportive facets (skiing fast and light seemed to be the key) in the Narao Glades/Trees. Lots of previous tracks in the area but the new snow this week has made the skiing rather enjoyable once again. 6 hours car to car today, not bad for this trip I’d think.

Weather was a mix of sun and fog like clouds with a little wind here and there. No signs of avalanches or any major instabilities, a little cracking in some of the upper wind slab but likely too cold to become reactive. The snowpack seems pretty good right now but with some new load and warmer temps I’m not sure I’d want to repeat the route.

Kylee gets a few more turns before heading over to the other glacier run to have a look

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