Monday, March 2, 2015

Mount Castleguard - North Ridge/NE Slopes, Alpine I

Sunday February 22, I summited the beautiful Mt. Castleguard with Ian H. and Henry D. I had always wanted to ascend Mt. Castleguard as a long trip day, but this trip turned out to be a great "plan B". Originally we had plans of skiing up the Athabasca Glacier, onto the Columbia Icefield and to ski up Stutfield Peak, west and east; but the forecasted morning clearing was slow to materialize on Saturday, so we changed plans. No regrets. Had an awesome trip. Simple ski up the Saskatchewan Glacier to camp on the edge of the Columbia Icefield.

Sunday woke to blue bird skies, with lots of cold wind, overnight temperature was about -25, but the day heated up quickly with the sun. Easy ski up the broad North Ridge towards the summit block with minimal trail breaking, about mid boot depth. We headed into a small bowl North-East of the summit block and ascended a steep, short snow slope to the summit ridge, this was closer to the summit than the regular ski ascent line. We thought this gully provided safer snow stability and a much safer runout then the standard ski line.

Skiing into NE bowl, we ascended the snow just left of the rock
on the far left.

Fantastic summit views to a few 12,000’ers and a bunch of 11,000’ers.  Enjoyed the summit, then we had a great ski back to camp, upper half was on awesome powder snow, nice treat on a high elevation icefield. Quick coffee at camp, then the long ski out. Had a fabulous time with these two veteran backcountry ski guys.

Kevin and Henry on the summit of Mt. Castleguard,
Mt. Columbia behind. 

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