After spending a frigid night camped inside out CRV at the Rogers Pass Discovery Center Damien and I began our ski tour to Video Peak just as the sun rose over the horizon. We were familiar with the route through the Connaught Drainage from our tour to Balu Pass the previous day so we were able to move pretty quickly. There was a great skin track, but to someone unfamiliar with the territory it can be a bit of a maze. You can take the first major turn right and cross the first bridge to the other side of the creek or take the second right further up to cross a different bridge. And once on the other side there are several different side trails. they weave within the drainage. The general idea is to just stay in the drainage on the right side of the creek using one of the bridges. Ultimately it seemed all trails on the right side eventually ended up traversing the bottom of the slopes going toward Balu Pass.

The key to Video Peak is to find the uptrack the branches off the drainage trail. It is located at the bottom of Ursus Trees on a distinct round roll in the valley as the trees begin to thin in the drainage (best to use a map). The uptrack is pretty steep and travels along side a gully and then left through the trees to Ursus Minor Bowl. From the Bowl you get the first views of Video Peak. At that point I was pretty sure we wouldn’t make it as Video seems impossibly far off in the distance. We took a break here for a bit and decided on a turn around time of 2:30pm (it was 11:00). From there we pressed on following a good track that switch-backed across open slopes to Hospital Bowl and the base of Video Peak. To my surprised the track went fast and as we neared the peak is actually seemed to seem less daunting and very manageable. There was a good track that left under some rock bands on the right side of the summit and switchbacked up to the ridge. The skinning went pretty quick. We wanted though that this is very steep slope and a fall would lead to a ridge to the bottom. We had our whippets ready to self-arrest. The kick turns were tight as well. The skin track ended on the ridge several meters from the summit where the rocks were wind-swept and the terrain steepened. We took off out skis, pout them on our packs and booted the rest of the way to the summit making it to the top at 1:30pm.

We were greeted with some spectacular views of the surrounding Mountains and Glaciers. But the sun did not last and as we prepared for our descent flat light set in. This made things a bit more interesting. We skied down skiers right of the summit. The  snow was superb and each turned was effortless and bouncy. Endless virgin powder that wasn’t too soft or too heavy. Everything was just right and perfectly amazing! I don’t think we’ve ever experienced better turns! The one issue was the flat light since we we experience some unexpected dips in the terrain and fall face first  into the snow. Damien actually managed a full somersault. The powder was so pillowy, however, he barely felt it… but it also made it difficult to get up!

Once back in Ursus Minor Bowl the skiing got a bit more tricky as we entered the gully. At first we stayed to the left were there were less obstacles. As things get steeper we moved right away from the cliffs. However, about 150 meters from the bottom of the gully we were forced to enter a narrow and somewhat sketchy looking final funnel via dropped down a 2 meter cliff. It proved to not be horribly horrendous though we had to be careful of boulders and terrain traps in that final funnel. We made to back down without a hitch though and easily followed the wide skin track back to the parking lot at 4pm. Time for a wonderful freeze dried dinner and another night sleeping in the front seat of the car!

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