The good news is that we all made it back home safely after a long, scenic, sunny ski tour. The bad news is that it took the the 3 who actually made it to Citadel Pass 11+ hours car to car. So a bit of an epic which I will not be repeating.
We got off to a good start with Sim, Bill and David leaving the parking lot by 8.30am to plod up the ski out at least partially using skins to meet Philip and Clifton at the resort area soon after 10.00am as arranged. We passed the resort boundary at 10.50am following an old track to the base of Quartz Mountain.
Ramblers tour towards Quartz Ridge
Here we watched a solo AT skier ascend the peak which he later skied down safely - not something I would be comfortable with solo (avi risk).
Off track down towards Citadel Lake the snow was quite supportive (8cms powder). Here (2.15pm) the group split with Clifton and Philip returning "home" while Bill, Sim and David continued partially breaking trail to Citadel Pass which they reached about 3.00pm. Usual nice views and the sun was significant when it frequently broke through the high clouds.
Ramblers regroup at Sundown Lake with Citadel Peak in the background
David skis towards Citadel Peak enroute to Citadel Pass
Ramblers at Citadel Pass
View south from Citadel Pass, Mt Assiniboine in clouds
Fatique Mtn from Citadel Pass
We returned roughly the way we had come with some snow clumping problems on both skis and skins. "Glob" wax helped for the skins. Bill, Sim and I reached the mostly deserted Sunshine resort area about 7.00pm for a quick last snack. By this time I was feeling pretty knackered and looking forward to a pleasant cruise down the skiout.
Ramblers return south from Citadel Pass with Quartz Mt in backgrond
Sim went ahead on AT gear, but Bill and especially me had to struggle with the very rutted skiout made even more unpleasant near the bottom by being partially frozen. It took me over an hour (usually 20-30 minutes). As arranged, Sim was long gone. Apparently the previous day the skiout was in good condition (and was well groomed for our morning ascent). Not so this evening, probably caused by sun melt and heavy snow machines. Unfortunately, Philip and Clifton had the same problems after missing the last gondola (5.30pm) by only a few minutes. The drive home was uneventful (thank goodness).
Thanks to everyone for their cooperation which included trail breaking and waiting for the aging (aged?) coordinator. Although Sunshine meadows are still a beautiful area, I will not be repeating this complete trip again.
Stats: 31km, elevation gain 1100 metres, 11 1/2 hours (very slow- should be ~9 hours car to car, no gondola).
Participants: Philip, Sim, Bill, David, Clifton.