Thursday, 23 May 2013

Sorcerer 2013

Sat Mar 30th - Sat Apr 6th Sorcerer Lodge, Selkirk Mountains, B.C.

Synopsis: 4 1/2 stars out of 5, probably my favourite back country ski lodge with fantastic alpine terrain and a well thought out lodge.

One of the nice things about Sorcerer is that you helicopter in first thing in the morning with a low chance of getting stymied. True to form, the first group was off the ground before 9 am and we were all up by 11.

I was lucky enough to ride shotgun on the first flight in, fantastic views and got in early enough to get some beta from Kelly and Robson who were guiding the previous week. Very spring like conditions and great stability were the order of the day, great to confirm.

We were fortunate enough to have Dave as our custodian, very knowledgeable and generally easy to be around. He gave us a quick brief and then out for some beacon refreshment.

We were keen on getting out so the entire group headed out at 2 pm thinking of White Russian. Once up, Critical Thursday and Black Russian looked good and was closer so we broke into two groups, one on each.

The pow wasn't epic but hero so we ripped one 750 metre run and were back at 5:30 in time for Konrad's appies. The avy hazard was good, good, good and just above zero. Avalanche concerns focused around south facing slopes and cornice failures - quite an improvement from our last visit!

Sorcerer being Sorcerer we were reminded that the last thing you do most days is to climb back up the moraine to the hut! Having said that it isn't anything to complain about, even with tired legs.

After an evening filled with Konrad's culinary delights and a good nights sleep we awoke to another blue sky day. Martin, Andrew, Brenda, Jim, Mike and I decided to attempt Iconoclast. We were out the door at 8 am and heard that the heinous traverse had tracks and just might go.

The short answer is that it didn't, it was crusty hard and after scaring ourselves silly we skied down and took the long way up swiss col. Jim and Mike elected to ski down swiss col while the four of us carried on towards Iconoclast.

We made it around the corner and to the start of the climbing route, however ran out of day and turned around at 2:30. 

The four of us were committed to descending the heinous traverse but wanted enough daylight that we could go around if necessary. It wasn't an issue and we were home at 4, at least with some good turns on corn snow.

Monday dawned sunny again and hit temperatures of +6 C. Strong sunscreen and bandana's were the order of the day. We continued to have quick travel in the morning with little penetration and the whole group headed up Nordic West, a north facing slope that was surprising good.

After a few turns I took Deanna to the top of Escargot and then got some steeper turns down Wedding Bells.

Tuesday much of the same and even warmer. Most of the group opted for runs on perfect glacier however we were a little slack, getting out the door at 9:45 am.

The group was at the top just before noon and we had three runs of perfect snow. It wasn't deep but it was hero.

We called it a day and were back at the lodge at 3 after 1150 metres.

By Wednesday our high pressure system was starting to erode and it was cloudy and windy. Given the heat of the previous day our expectations were pretty low.

We were thinking of a run on the Kumbu icefall as there was a line from the previous week to follow so grabbed harness and rope. In the end the visibility just wasn't there so we skied White Russian.

At the top it was surprisingly good so we stuck around and did four laps working our way skiers left.

After yet another night of bafoonery, we awoke Thursday to overcast, some new snow and above zero temperatures. The group was getting pretty lethargic however Deanna, Paul, Louie, Damon and I headed out about 9:30 am for a trip up Escargot Glacier.

The light started off pretty flat however travel was straight forward. We made our way up to the Ventigo Lake outlook, which offered a little challenge boot packing the final small slope.

Once the wind picked up we headed down, ski quality was good but the light got pretty flat and the terrain isn't really steep enough get right silly.

We were back early enough for appies and a nap, oh the life!

Friday was our last day, always a bit melancholic. The weather still pretty clagged in and after some debate we elected to go back to Perfect. What better way to end a Perfect week?

Everyone came out to play, we were out the door at 9:45 and at the top at noon. The snow was good, the visibility came and went. 

A few of us hung it out and did 5 runs and it was a lot of fun. There were freshies to be had and it was nice to have a 1500 metre day and leave with sore legs. Last run of the day was with David, our intrepid custodian and it was good to rip it up!

That night Konrad pulled out all the stops, steaks for supper with lot's of liquid refreshments and the name game. I can't think of a better way to end a fantastic week.

Many thanks to Deanna, Martin, Damon, Brenda, Andrew, Jim, Mike, Norman, Paul, Louie, Konrad and Dave for a fantastic week!