Here is Couloir that had enticed me for a full year. However. On Feb 8th 2013 Keiran Lyon and I set out with a very rough hiking topo of the whole of banff national park, and despite some merry route finding mishaps…damn those parks canada animal trackers and their rambling skin tracks- we eventually made it into the correct drainage and away from any signs of human travel. A mellow 5 hours of heavy facet wading…even for Keiran on skiis..put us at the couloir base. it turned out stuff was way more burly than appeared from the highway. The one clean rock step I’d envisioned was in fact a messy system of 3 boney ones,(even in a virtual cave off the side at one point, where on the climb my board knocked a rock from the roof onto my helmeted head!), negotiable with some serious billy-goating up higher, and mandatory rap or air (my choice as not very high) on the last drop. the climb from the first rock step to the top was a ridiculous facet wade, bellybutton deep. ice axe was no good at all, and it was a puckering climb with no support anywhere. I cam upon an old crown at the top choke but it was severely eroded and stability tests proved the slab had since faceted itself right out. right on!
A stellar sunset lit the couloir for a very spicy descent, perhaps the best I’ve had in the rockies so far!
I was nervous as this was my second day on my new board, the Rossignol Experience. They do sponsor me but I swear the following account is exactly how I felt. I started off down and the boards float helped catch the nose catching in the facets. I expected the extra 3cm over my previous board, plus super stiff flex, to slow turn initiation, not so. The slight rocker outside the feet plus the upturn of tips kept the nose and tail swinging so frreely I had no need to commit choppy jump turns. I would think about initiating a turn and the board would come around like that. On a descent like the upper section though, there is no chance to let it run. One I’d passed the final step i opened it up down the consolidated steep powder, which was formed in weird sluff cones/banks within the walls. This is when I realized what an amazing plank the experience actually is. I mean it, you’ll see in the video. she isn’t perfect for cruising around groomers, I’d felt the previous day but here, I could do no wrong. Keiran will attest to it- I didnt shut up about the ride for quite some time!
And it was off, though the forest in the twilight, to an incredibly bright sky of blazing stars aove the van, and coronas and free peanuts at the stump and magpie.
Cant find any info on this line having a prior descent, however definitely am not ruling it out as it is in view of the highway,and I fnd it very visually appealing. However same with the slas, and no-one I’ve asked knows of rock routes there.
If it has been done, my hat off to the first descentionists. If not, I’;d like the call it ‘The Mason’s Mistake’
Thanks keiran for a ripper of a day out. Inspiring to have such confidence in a partner. I SEE THIS LINE EVERY DAY ON THE WAY TO WORK, AND I SMILE.
ps there will be footage coming out here, within a month, in a couloir edit.