After the obligatory discussions and checks, we got started up into the southern valley about 9:15 in bright sunshine, but quite cool air temperatures (-16oC at the road). We were the first ones into the valley but it didn't take long for a few younger people to tire of our pace of trail-breaking and jump out in front. The lower valley was untracked so we decided to take advantage and ski a run down the gully feature from the alpine hanging valley down to the camel bumps - it was a good decision.
First run tracks and Bill going up again
Then we followed the newly broken trail up on to the bench and then the steep ridge to the col below the Knob.
Coming up into the hanging valley
Our poking around and hand shears indicated that the snow stability seemed good even high up the valley near the col. Regional ratings from Kananaskis Safety were Cons/Mod/Mod, but there reportedly had been more snow (and possibly wind) in the northern part of the region than in the south.
Approach to the col
We learned from one of the group that the north aspect slope from the col down into Murray basin is called Sweet 16 because it is 1600 ft of vertical. About half way down the deep powder, our legs told us that it seemed to be all of that. Even though there had been a number of skiers down before us, there was still plenty of fresh snow to track up. There had been a fairly large slide in the past couple of days to skiers left that started in a steep couloir feature on the west side of the valley.
Three of the group in Sweet 16
Avi debris to lookers right
Chris showing style in Sweet 16
Margot practicing her up-and-down
When we got into the lower Murray valley we could hear some whoopage from a group skiing the north aspect fan on the south side of the valley. There was still time for another run so Peter set a track up that side and we put in a few of our own tracks.
The luge track out through the drainage had enough new snow to make it go quite well and we were back to the cars about 3:30.
Thanks to David, Bill and Clifton for the photos.
Participants: Bill, Terry, David, Clifton, Chris, Peter, Margot