Saturday, April 30, 2016

Adventure in the heart of Urner Alps - Gross Windgällen North East Face

Gross Windgällen, 3187m, has been on my radar couple of years after I saw a photo by Christoph Moser. Last Saturday I wanted to ski something interesting close to Zürich before going to a hard core Finnish 1st of May party...Windgällen would be close and with good conditions should be doable in a day. It only took one call and Dani bought the idea. We knew it was going to be bit of a battle against bad weather coming in. But who knows with some luck there might be a little window for us. Especially with foehn you never you how it goes, so lets give it a try!

After ride from Zürich we started 5am from Golzeren (1395m). As a good warm-up we walked up the first 500 verticals. From 1900 onwards we could continue fast with our skis. Couple hours later we were already at bergschrund getting ready to climb the face. With some deep snow it took us two hours to climb. Too bad the storm rolled in and we had to climb the upper face in total white-out with some gusty foehn throwing spin-drift on our faces. The weather was definitely adding some spice to our adventure.

At the cliffs 20 meter below the summit we clicked on the skis started our descent in a white-out. To have some contrast we skied the fall-line through a steepish couloir. That worked well and lower down we could even see something and enjoy nice powdery turns.

About eight hours after our start we were happily back at Golzeren. It was a good push with 9km approach and 1900 verticals. This is just what you wanna do before going to a 1st of May party ;-) Thanks Dani for the great adventure!

Gross Windgallen with its shady NE-Face ©Christoph Moser (chmoser.ch)

Private lift at 5AM...only in Switzerland 


Dani checking the views down to valley at Golzeren 1395m

1.5 hours warm-up hike

Windgallen Hütte 2032m with our target on the left
Beautiful morning above Windgallen Hütte

@Stafelfirn

Dani doing the work above bergschrund




Clouds were closing in half way up the face ©Danski

Ready to drop in..too bad we couldn't see much.. 

Finding our way through the vertical rock band at the top section

Steep turns

Long hike back to Golzeren Bergstation

Back to spring! 

Windgällen line


Friday, April 15, 2016

The Icefall Traverse in the Canadian Rockies

At the end of March I got a change to visit the Canadian Rockies close to Banff National park. The adventure started from Golden, BC from where we got a heli-drop to the playground around Mons and Lyell Glaciers. The Mons and Lyell huts as basecamp give excellent access to eight different glaciers surrounded by some beautiful peaks with adventurous ski lines. That gave us truly spectacular surroundings and as a bonus it was all for us. Good stable snow, surprisingly stable weather, big glaciers, ice caves, good food, nobody else around...so together with thrill-seeking crew we had all the ingredients for an awesome adventure. And that's exactly what it turned into!

Special thanks for Movement Skis for this opportunity! Also thanks for the Movement crew, Dale McKnight, Larry, Matt, Brian & Tony! Hope to be back soon. Good times!

Wild mountains with beautiful ski lines

Our first basecamp the Mons Hut, 2370m

Already in the first evening we found a pretty cool playground
Ilir checking the South entrance

Hut life


Early start from the Lyell Hut

Another summit ridge

Ilir dropping in. 

Evening session above Mons Hut


There is something mystical about Ravens

Roch & Evarist cruising back to hut after good evening session





Mons Peak

East Face of Mons

Ilir showing the way


Good times! 

Jiihaaa! 

Stormy morning above Lyell Hut

Sun is always shining somewhere..


Exploring the "Wild West"

Brian & Tony

Afternoon session was the Lens Peak via East Face
We found a nice steepish couloir providing skiable access from the summit

On the summit ridge

Evarist dropping in

Ilir @Lens Peak

Roch on the Lens Peak East-Face
@Lyell Hut

Mount Forbes




Evarist



Two different approaches to leave your signature on the mountain


Happy crew after some good riding! 

The famous "genital cave" above Icefall Lodge

@Icefall Lodge

Icefall Lodge

@Kicking Horse

All good trips end with several earned beers! 

Thanks!!!