Brandon and I’s original plan this week was to ski Bell Couloir starting from Moraine Lake, heading over Consolation Col, climbing the south aspect of Bell and then looping back down through Taylor Pass. We headed out from Moraine Lake around 4am and made quick time to Consolation Lakes but from there everything slowed right down.
I had forgotten how time consuming boulder jumping and moraine walking was and what I had planned to take us a couple of hours took us almost twice as long. By 8:30am we had reached Consolation Col where we found rock hard snow to climb up and just after 9am we were at the top looking towards Bell’s south aspect. After skiing down 100m and over to the next climb we decided it was too late, the sun too strong and the snow had already started to change – we turned back.
After climbing back up to the col we strapped on our skis and proceeded to ski some solid but slightly corned up snow on the north aspect. The skiing is still fairly steep on this run so not all was lost. The bottom section was much more firm and the slightly more developed sun cups weren’t the most fun but oh well, at least we had a 5km of horrible walking to do before getting back to the nice trail!
After our ski we decided that we made the correct col and agreed that neither of us would bother with Bell Couloir as a summer objective ever again (the bushwhack from Taylor Lake side is also terrible). We switched over to hiking attire and started the slow walk over boulders and moraines. This time we tried to pass the lakes on the forest side only to find an overwhelming amount of difficult deadfall due to avalanches. Once back at the trail we took a much needed break before heading back to the parking lot. 20km and 1000m for 300m run… at least it was a good workout I guess!