Monday, February 27, 2012

Wrapping up Winter

The last few weeks have found me out enjoying the winter weather, both rain and snow, in the mountains and getting the most out of the season before heading to South America in 3 weeks.

Digging Pits

I've been taking part in a Mountain Madness Trail running clinic every saturday morning to build up to the Dirty Duo 25km trail race which is taking place on March 10 (Our 2nd Anniversary!). Mike has also been joining Lara and I in the clinic so we can run the race together in two weeks.    This past weekend we completed our longest run of the clinic with a 4hr, 23km lap of the woods that covered a majority of the race course. The weather was dry ( a nice change from the past few weeks), but the recent rain made for an exciting muddy, snowy adventure run.  We're now into tapering mode and enjoying a couple weeks of casual running until race day. In other running news, I threw my name in for the Knee Knacker lottery; fingers crossed for lotto day on March 5!

Rutsch Block Tests

On the skiing front, I've been taking advantage of the training opportunities that the Alpine Club of Canada has recently been providing to its members. Two weeks ago I took part in a very informative 2-day avalanche awareness course where we spent one full day in a class room learning about avalanche safety and a second day out in the Paul's Ridge area of Garibaldi park digging pits, analyzing snow and choosing safe travel routes through avalanche terrain. I have also been taking back-country ski technique lessons on a weekly basis that are proving to be incredibly useful.

All in all, I've been making the most of the winter season before leaving it behind for some South American Sun!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Table Mountain Circuit Ski Tour

View of  Mt. Shuksan from Herman Saddle
  Last weekend Mike and I joined an ACC trip out to Table Mountain in Mt Baker National Park, WA, USA. The day was beautiful, clear and warm and the avalanche rating was at moderate (or level 2), providing good stability for the trip.  We started out our day meeting in Maple Falls and then headed over to the upper parking lot at Mt Baker Ski area.
Table Mountain
We were on our way all geared up at about 9:30 am. Our biggest concern for the day was crossing below the South Face of Table Mountain as it tends to become unstable as it is heated by the sun throughout the day.
In order to cross under this face as early as possible we circumnavigated the mountain in a clockwise direction.
Mt Baker
 When we reached the South face of Table mountain, after a long climb and short run off of a shoulder, we noticed evidence of previous slides in the area, so we spaced out moved quickly and watched out for one another as we crossed the “danger zone”.

Danger Zone: South Face of Table Mt.

 Once we got through this area we found a high point to take a break for lunch where we could enjoy views of both Mount Baker and Mt Shuksan. The lunch break was quite relaxing and enjoyable with temperatures reaching a balmy +10c.

After lunch we enjoyed another short run down to Iceberg lake which we crossed and then skinned up for our final climb of the day up to Herman Saddle.  On the way to Herman Saddle we were entertained by some ice climbers on “Death Picnic (WI6)”.

Death Picnic (WI6) on North face of Table Mt.

From Herman Saddle we enjoyed a great, long run all the way back to the parking lot followed by some well deserved cold beers at “Chair 9”.  

The complete circuit was about 10km in length with 600m of elevation gain and took about 6 hours travelling at a moderate pace, including a lunch break.

Click Here for a route map

Click here for Photo Album