Sorcerer Lodge – Day 5 – Feb 28 – Lee’s Trees – Swiss Col – Valley of the Green Giants – 7 Chute – Lee’s Trees

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Day 5 and I still haven’t climbed Iconoclast or skied off its south face! Grrrrrr … and visibility is looking pretty potty today. Oh well, today is the day to look for some air. We join up with the guys who don’t like keeping their skis on the ground and head off skiers right of the Wizard Gullies to look for some fun in Lee’s Trees. It’s not too long before there’s air to hit. Dave, Alastair, Pete and Vince have been checking out some of Sorceror’s fabled pillow lines all week and finding soft landings.

Alastair goes for it

Vince slaying powder

Off to Swiss Col again with another abortive attempt to get on the Lower Iconoclast Glacier and take a look around. Visibility is patchy but not a total whiteout. We amuse ourselves by watching the other group jello-wrestle as they navigate their way to Ventego Glacier and the west shores of Ventego Lake. Shortly it’s time to drop in – woooohoooo …. amazing snow down to the Valley of Green Giants and the lower plateau.

Return to Swiss Col – Iconoclast glacier whiteout again …. booohooo

DeeDee cooks up some mean powder


Pete looking for rocks below the surface

Tracks down to the Valley of the Green Giants – now why didn’t we go up and do this again?

We’ve been mainly skiing above treeline where the buried PWKL (surface hoar from 2 weeks ago buried below 90 – 120 cms of soft snow) has been dispersed by winds. All the tree line runs we’ve skied have been open glades, were north-facing and haven’t showed any signs of the buried SH. This time we’re heading over to E facing steeps down to Ventego Creek and into new territory. Again some buried SH but no reaction of this layer to cuts, compression tests or truncated RBs. So it’s time to ski something aggressive. Seven Chute is a 350m/1000 ft shot down a natural pipeline that’s wind-loaded.

I volunteer to go first and rationalizing that it’s safer to go fast down windloaded chutes, I let herr rip. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

What a rush. Who says big blue noodles don’t go fast!

Seven Chute and Sharon slaying it

Back to the lodge, we don’t take the regular route but follow MB a skintrack that I will call “Gateway to Gnarnia”. At first I wanted to call it SteeperThenHell (for reasons obvious in the below pictures) but after seeing the pillow lines in this untouched area, what other name could it have then Gnarnia? One thing I don’t get … the group from last week had poor visibility so must have skied the trees. How could they possibly have left this blessed gift from the Almighty untouched?

Gnarnia and MB’s Gateway to Gnarnia – top picture ~ Peter Golden

Ours not to question why, ours but to do or die, into the pillows of fluff hucked the five numbuts (Alastair, Dave, Jeremy, Lee, Pete).

Pete in pillows ~ photo Dave Fullerton

Jeremy in the air

Glorious glorious untouched powder fields and ego-boosting pillow drops. Topped off by skin tracks with vertical side drops that made your balls twitch in fear. What a great day.

Pete in his natural environment dropping into the untouched powder field

Jeremy not in his natural environment – “holy s&^t – who put this skintrack in?” ~photo Dave Fullerton

Day 5 map

Day 5 profile - missing Lee’s Trees added lap (~330m ascent)

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