It was back to the Kicking Horse Pass area for me today. This time Kieran, Chris and I were looking to skin up the south shoulder of Ogden and at the very least have a look down some of the bigger lines on Ogden Wall.

Heading up the south ridge of Mount Ogden

The morning was still a bit cold but not as bad as most days this month. We made short work of the summer trail and cut off towards Ogden just before Sherbrooke Lake. Chris broke trail up the steep trees until near the top of the ridge where I took over for a little bit. As we got the first up close look of the big curved line we felt so-so about it. The top part looked thin and crusty and throwing snow down it confirmed it might not be in the best shape.

Cathedral Couloir doesn’t look ready just yet

We left our skis at the line and climbed up the rocky ridge to see what the other lines looked like. We got above the first section of couloir/spines and found one that looked really good. Chris and I headed further up the ridge to see if there was anything else while Kieran went down to grab the skis. It didn’t take long for us to realize we weren’t dropping into anything further up so we went down to the start of the line.

Don’t know what skis to bring? Bring 3!

Luckily there was no cornice to cut and the line looked very clean. There was, however a massive overhanging cornice to the skier’s right threatening our line. As some might know, I don’t have the best of luck with random cornice failures!

Kieran dropping in

Kieran dropped first, then Chris and I went last. The very top section had good deep powder snow but as I went down it changed depending where you skied. The skier’s right side still had deeper powder and the skier’s left had some chunky solar crusts. Right in the middle was some firm snow with a dusting of loose so I decided to treat the feature like a 3 meter wide couloir and found the skiing to be excellent and predictable.

Chris looking for his first turn

As I rounded the corner I found Kieran and Chris waiting. Chris was still resting from the upper section so I kept going down towards the fan where I found creamed out and soft avalanche debris. The debris fan skied very well and as I entered the lower trees the snow got even better. Once at the lake I waited for them to finish the run. We skinned up and headed home via the summer trail.

Big wall, tiny skier. Kieran entering the fan section far looker’s left

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