Touring with Malcolm
It was the same time of year as it is now, the smell of grass filled the air, street cleaners were hitting the streets and we were experiencing every type of weather you can imagine. The ski hill had been closed for a few weeks but the mountains still had lots of snow on them. Malcolm and I had not given up on skiing so we planned one more winter mission.
Our story starts out once again on a backroad below Mt. Hosmer. We parked a truck just off the power line and tried our best to use game trails so we didn’t have to bushwhack the entire way to the snow line. Once we reached the snow we began touring up the south east drainage. It was a long haul, and a dangerous place to be in the wrong time; most of that side of Hosmer drained down the gully we were using as access but the spring conditions allowed us to travel safely.
Once we gained the ridge just below the true summit we made our way to the top of the slide features that are lookers right of the Ghostrider. The snow on that aspect was sun affected, which we knew it would be. Our plan was to ski down the north east side.
The chute I wanted to ski never sees the sun, so I had faith that the snow was going to be good. I knew I was standing on a cornice as I inched my way towards the edge. The cornice was so big that I was confident it would hold my weight. At first it appeared the only way to access the chute was to huck the cornice which would have been about a 30 foot drop into the chute, a big move that far out in the backcountry so I re-assessed.
To the right of where I wanted to drop in there was a buttress, a sort of rock outcrop and when I stood back I noticed the side of the cornice had peeled away from the rock. I could see light at the end; it was a tunnel between the cornice and mountain. The tunnel was about 20 feet long, and just big enough for me to kneel on my skis and pull myself through to the other side.
It was so tight that once I made it through I had a very hard time putting my skis on, but it was well worth the struggle. The snow below the cornice was incredible, I skied in the shade of a rock wall which was preserving the snow from the sun. Once the wall ended I wrapped around to watch Malcolm ski the line above, which was an elevated chute with exposure on either side.
We enjoyed our turns back down to the end of the snow and bushwhacked back to the truck. A classic spring mission with better snow than expected.