Tag Archives: splitboarding

South Arapahoe Peak, Skywalker Couloir

South Arapahoe Peak, Skywalker Couloir

Monday, May 31st, 2021

The county plowed the road to 4th of July campground on Thursday so we got up early Saturday morning to go ski Skywalk Couloir before the weather turned to rain for the weekend.

It has been a grey and wet spring in the Front Range. The forecast for Memorial Day weekend, starting around noon on Saturday, was thunderstorms and heavy precipitation through Monday, but there was a short window of sun Saturday morning that looked like we could squeeze something in. We started from the trail head at 4th of July campground just before 7am and hiked up a trail that was equal parts dirt and snow.

Nice day!

It took an hour to get up to the base of the couloir at 11k with the skis on our backs. Here we transitioned briefly to skins and split for a few hundred vert before strapping up the crampons and throwing the boards back on our packs. We also saw a moose here which was cool.

Once you are in the couloir starting about 11,800 it has a pretty consistent pitch of 45°, ramping up to 55° at the very top. Although it faces south southeast, the walls shield it so it stays shaded until later in the morning. Because of this it was just starting to warm as we climbed softening the snow gradually but preserving it well for climbing.

David taking a breather on the climb

I believe we finished on the Princess Leia variation (direct) but I did not see where the alternative or standard finish went. At this point the clouds were moving in and we were beginning to hear thunder in the distance. We transitioned and dropped back in on skis just before 11am, retracing our climbing line.

By the time we started skiing, the snow had softened giving nearly perfect top to bottom conditions. While the crux is at the top, the whole thing is a steep ski for 1500ft that doesn’t ease up until the apron.

Will skiing midway down Skywalker

At the bottom we threw the boards back on our packs and hoofed it out, getting back to the car just before 1pm and right as the first big drops oof rain started to fall. Just barely snuck it it.

Chair Peak Circumnavigation, Alpental Valley

Chair Peak Circumnavigation, Alpental Valley

Friday, March 9th, 2018

We went out in Alpental Valley on Saturday. For me, it was my first time out there on a splitboard. Our objective was to Circumnavigate Chair Peak.

We left from the upper parking lot at 8am and split up into the valley following the groomed track until it ended. At this point split left until we met up with the main skin track just below Source Lake.

The East Shoulder of Chair Peak was pretty crowded with groups skiing off every aspect, by the time we got up there around 10am. We dropped the north side down to Snow Lake making the best turns of the day.

The trail out the west side of the lake was set for us up to 4400ft where we bumped off of it passing the guys who had set it as they bailed off of Holy Diver due to warming conditions. After that we were on our own, breaking trail up to Melakwa Pass and then down the other side completing 3/4 of the pizza that is Chair Peak.

Finally the last sprint up to the top of Bryant Peak Couloir where we could look back down into Alpental Valley and at our last descent. The run back to the car could be made by the determined one footed snowboarder without a transition.

Warming temperatures couple with storm and snow and wind activity in the previous days caused a lot of loose wet slides on just about everywhere the sun hit. Early in the week some pretty big slides released leaving crowns upwards of 5ft on North East aspects and significant debris on our descents into Snow and Source Lakes.

Nevertheless the snow and the weather lined up very nicely for a time out in the valley



Asulkan Hut, Rogers Pass

Asulkan Hut, Rogers Pass

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

I booked three nights at the Asulkan Hut after the third separate conversation when it came up last year. The hut was built in 1995  so who knows why it took so long to get on my radar but I guess I’m still relatively new to British Columbia huts so away we go, to Rogers Pass.

The long term forecast had looked nice for the weekend of our trip. A couple feet of new snow and clearing weather for the holiday weekend, but that changed as temperatures started to warm straining several already anxious persistent weak layers from earlier in the season. As we split out into the valley on Friday we passed the last two of our hut compatriots just as they were turning around unwilling to risk a weekend at the hut in unstable conditions. They mentioned that the other four folks who had also booked the hut had already bailed so just like that we had one of Canada’s best huts to ourselves.

We arrived at the hut a little before 2pm, about four and half hours after we had left the car. The sun wasn’t coming up fully until 8am and it was starting to set by just after 3pm so we called it early and saved it for Saturday. On Saturday the avalanche danger was not only high, but there was a special bulletin out discouraging backcountry travel in the region. With this in mind we stuck to lower angle runs below the hut like the tree triangle and the moraine. We triggered one slide remotely, probably about 300 meters across, going up for the last run of the day but kept it pretty safe.

More warming on Sunday and we decided to pack up and head out a day early. The temps were predicted to spike just above freezing resulting is a significant shedding cycle that we didn’t really need to mess with. We drove back to Seattle that night and promptly booked 3 more nights at the Asulkan hut for next year.

The Brothers, East Basin

The Brothers, East Basin

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Looking west from Seattle, The Brothers rises up from the sound to 6650 ft. The East Basin is the obvious line from the top and even from 40 miles away is clearly a sicky.

After a very wet March and April with few breaks in the weather, Easter Sunday was forecasted for sun so we camped out at the Lena Lake trailhead the night before and hit the trail at 4am for what would be a 14 hour day. The first 3.5 miles were in the dark, we reached the lake at 6am. From there the hike slowed with with several broken bridge crossings and a bit of route finding up the Valley of Silent Men.


When we reached the climbers camp a little after 8am we had enough consistent snow to finally get the boards off our backs and transition to splitting. We crossed over to the west side of the creek almost immediately and traveled until we broke out of the trees into the basin. Now we had to deal with some difficult travel conditions in steep brushy terrain and sloppy snow, a lot of which had shedded into massive debris piles during the previous rain cycle.


At 5000ft the travel eased up and it was smooth sailing until 6400ft where we switched over and boot packed to the summit, topping out at 1pm. The descent was fast then slow, beginning with spring powder conditions then warming into a mush near 5000 ft.  The basin itself is huge and paired with the numerous bulges, windlips and steep chutes that filter into and out of it, it offers a ton of rad skiing opportunities. At 3400 ft we switched back to skins until it was time to put them on our back and make a break for the car.


We ended up back where we started at 6pm rounding out the trip with some Milano cookies and a couple beers. I think we’ll be looking at this one for a long time once more until we decide to go for it again.

The greatest brothers in all the land. #peakoftheweek #olympics #thebrothers

A post shared by Peak of the Week! (@peakoftheweek) on