Rogers Pass Base Camp Skiing

By:  Ben
September 1, 2010


The next day dawned with more of the same. It’s hard to complain about getting too MUCH snow on a ski trip, so I won’t even try. We rallied and slipped into our smelly, wet gear from the day before and began skiing the trees. This time we ventured into another zone across the valley which had more good snow. This area was a true labyrinth – all sorts of awesome twisting turning lines that connected and split their way down the pitch. The visibility was bad and the trees didn’t make for good pictures, but I did get to ski the coolest pillow line I’ve ever skied – a series of 5 5-15 foot drops that were spaced perfectly to be connected in a fluid line. THIS is what I imagined BC skiing to be like!

As the day wore on, we decided to head back to camp for the last hours of the afternoon. Just as we were approaching camp, the snow stopped abruptly and the clouds started to open up. Tom and Mark were tired and cold, but Noah and I decided to head up to the Seven Steps to take advantage of the visibility. We skinned above our previous high point, excited about the possibilities above.

Noah is excited for the first break in the clouds in a few days

The gap in the clouds proved to be a sucker hole. We had great visibility for the skin up, but just as we were switching to downhill mode, the clouds came back in. With no real external reference points, we did some “Braille Skiing” down to treeline. Oh well!

The next day was a little more clear in the morning, so we decided to head up the edge of the Asulkan Glacier. We made good time and managed to get up to a very cool cliff band that we had been eyeing on the first day. We skirted around some crevasses, but were unable to get to the col we were trying for as the weather began to close in again. We made it down to treeline before visibility fell too much, but the snow started up again.

Mark skinning up the side of the Asulkan Glacier as the weather closes back in


The scenery here is SO COOL!

By this time we had been living in a tent for 3 days of more or less continuous snow, and we were getting pretty wet. To make matters worse, some animal (we suspected an evil scheming marmot) had stolen some of our food, so we were forced to ration. Except for the fact that we were in BC on an amazing ski trip, things were worse than ever.

The cloud showed some signs of lifting at dusk though, so we held out some hopes for our last day at basecamp…

Watching the last of the suns rays in the distance


If only headlamps were as warm as they look!


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Read about the author:   Ben
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5 Comments

  1. powhounddd
    wrote on September 1st, 2010 at 8:06 pm  
    1

    Thank you. Between these TRs,watching Ice Road Truckers and snowboard trailers, I think I can survive both this ridiculous heat wave AND the rest of ragweed season. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!!!!!!!! Bring on the snow!

  2. Harvey44
    wrote on September 2nd, 2010 at 7:51 am  
    2

    I’ll admit I had to Google Rogers Pass to figure out where it was. Having skied the west only 25 days in my life, it’s hard for me to grasp the feeling of being disappointed in cloudy snowy days. I mean I understand it, logically … blocking access to the terrain you were after. Love the skintrack pics and all the shots from the last two days. Must be great to ski so much that you don’t get all your TRs up until Labor Day. Great for us too. Let the temp dropping begin!

    • Ben
      wrote on September 2nd, 2010 at 11:19 pm  
      3

      It’s a tricky question – you’re never really AGAINST new snow ;) but between visibility and avi conditions, it’s really the sunny days that let you get up high and ski the cool stuff!

  3. Patrick
    wrote on October 26th, 2010 at 10:30 am  
    4

    Hey, sweet trip report. The pics were awesome.
    Some buddies and I are going to be doing some winter camping up at Rogers Pass this winter. I was curious what kind of camping gear you guys used and if you slept warm/comfortable through the night. Was a 0 Deg F rated sleeping bag warm enough, or did you need something rated below that??

    • Ben
      wrote on October 26th, 2010 at 10:39 am  
      5

      Thanks Patrick! We used a 4-season Mountain Hardware Trango 3.1 tent. It worked great, even with all the snow (make sure you guy it out really well if it’s snowing a lot!). It wasn’t particularly cold, we had 0 F bags and were fine, although I’m sure it gets colder sometime. Make sure you’ve got plenty of food and a nice puffy and I think you’ll be all set most of the time, unless it’s a particularly cold spell. That place gets enough snow that the 4-season tent is pretty key though!

      Another good option is to check out the huts run by the Alpine Club of Canada. You have to reserve them way in advance and they’re more expensive, but that would definitely be a sweet option that would keep you warmer (and allow you to carry less up!)

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