Other useful links:
- British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment official web-page for Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park
- Kootenay Rockies webpageon Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park with summer routes and activities primarily
- Alpine Club of Canada’s webpageon the Kokanee Glacier chalet.
It didn’t look pretty in the morning. The sky was overcast, the temperatures
had not dropped below freezing all night and to top it off, the pine marten
had somehow got some of our cinnamon buns. These are the chances you take when
you tour in the spring. With Nelson’s climate near-tropical forecast for the
entire week (plus 20s for the next 5 days) all Steve and I could hope was that
today was an anomaly.
We decided to play it conservative and go look at some peaks north of the chalet.
Kaslo Lake sunset.
Approaching bad weather and thunderheads chases as away from
Retallack and Granite Knob
I had this itch to look at two nice size peaks north of the chalet – Mt Retallack
and Granite Knob. As we crested the first rise north of the chalet, we realized
that our route would involve traversing under some west facing slopes that had
been blast by intense sun through the last few days. Additionally, these slopes
had seen some sizeable avalanche activity in recent times. Not liking our chances
under big exposed sun-phacked slopes, we elected to head up a more sheltered SW
facing drainage towards the Nansen – Giegerich – Robert Smith group.
the ridge of Robert Smith
Conditions deteriorated further as we progressed up this drainage
with Nansen’s cornices to the west of us. Already we could nervously hear
wet slides naturally trigger every 10 minutes or so. We discussed heading
back but decided to scout a line on a protected ridge up towards Robert
Smith. At the very least, we figured we would get a good view towards Boomerang.
Fortunately this route did go and it was safe. We parked at a good spot
near Robert Smith but neither of us felt all too good about testing cornice
integrity towards Robert Smith proper.
View from Robert
Smith ridge towards Sunset, Giegerich, Nansen – from L to R.
Great views. Frightening perch. I’m not kidding when I say
that natural slides were coming off slopes at a rate of close to one a
minute. None of the bus-sized cornices on Nansen went while we were looking
but I could imagine them getting more and more droopy.
We skied out the way we came, headed back towards the Lemon
Pass area and then bee-lined back to the chalet. Everyone else made it
back in one piece although the Scots had an exciting time with big wet
rollys on the east face of Sunset Peak.
slurpee snow off Robert Smith
Lee with view
looking back towards ridgeline north to Retallack.
Steve with view
looking back to Nansen- Robert Smith area
Wet slide danger
was high today as the Scots find out ~ photo Todd Nichols
Touring in alpine
boots is never fun. Touring in alpine boots in wet sticky snow is painful.
Relief on Steve’s face
Views of living room
and kitchen at the Kokanee Glacier chalet
Day 3’s route