Words by Lee Lau. Pictures by Lee Lau and Steve Hutchison
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 primarilydescribed.
- Alpine Club of Canada’s webpageon the Kokanee Glacier chalet.
Wake up early to bluebird skies and (sigh of relief), temperatures below freezing. Steve and I decide to head off to bag some peaks and hopefully find the beginning of a corn cycle in the Glory Basin area.
Steve with a view of Kokane Glacier and Pyramid Pk in the background
Travel is fast on this snow and in no time at all we’re rounding the lower slopes of John Carter and beelining for the east faces of Sunset Peak. We’re hoping that we can time the warming cycle by hitting east slopes, then north slopes later in the day as it gets hotter. Route-finding is a snap and it’s easy to pick nice safe travel lines in this big wide open bowl.
Already a warm one on the way up to Glory Basin
Glory Basin panorama
There’s a couple of ways to approach Sunset Peak. The group yesterday went up a low-angle bench bisecting the twin peaks of Sunset, gained the col then skied down the face. It didn’t look like they gained the summit proper (perhaps the relentless wet slides dissuaded them). We elect to skin up the SW facing ridge. Even at 9am the snow is already getting slurpee-like in consistency as we head up.
Making our way up the south ridge of Sunset Pk and a view to Outlook Pk further to the east.
Skiing off Sunset Pk
It’s fine skiing off the lesser peak of Sunset. We decided not to press on to the proper summit as it would have involved crossing a slope in repidly warming temps under a ridge that had already slid multiple times in the last day. After banging out Sunset off we head to Outlook Peak. The approach itself is not complicated, we basically skinned straight up the face to gain the saddle. Being so close to the peak, I just had to bag it while Steve waited at the col.
Lee making his way up Outlook Pk
Steve skiing off the Outlook Pk saddle
Down the N face of Outlook Pk
Now that was a fun line. About 35 – 40 degrees at the top then mellowing out quickly to 30 degrees onto a nice flat bench. It was a relief to know that N faces were still nicely skiable even later in the day. To test out this premise, we headed up to our third peak and quickly gained John Carter. Inexplicably, the snow on this face was a bit disappointing. We ticked it off and made our way back to food and sitting in the sun getting back again at just as the midday heat hit its high.
Last peak of the day – John Carter
More good weather makes for ideal shots of the chalet exterior.
Day 4 map