Day 1 – Bow Lake to Bow Hut and the Onion
It’s 5:30 and my alarm goes off, I hit the snooze button and turn around as I normally do (why go to work if you can sleep for another 9 minutes) but then shortly after my cell phone alarm goes off as well and I realize it’s Thursday April 28th. No, it’s not because I was a day too early to see the royal wedding but it’s because I am skiing the Wapta for the next couple of days. After having a breakfast and brewing some coffee I’m heading out to Canmore to pick up Greg and Robin as we had initially planned.
When I’m getting close to Canmore I’m giving Greg a call and am very surprised that Scott is picking up his phone. As it turns out, Greg and Robin didn’t stay in Canmore after all so I’m driving to Lake Louise by myself. Scott is also telling me that there is also no sign of Clayton at the regular meeting spot so Scott, Bill, Greg, Robin and Matt are taking off to LL as well. While driving through Canmore and Lake Louise I am getting a bit concerned about the weather since it’s very cloudy and snowing a bit but the closer I get to Lake Louise the more blue sky I can see. At around 8:30 I arrive in Lake Louise where Kelly is waiting for me at the breakfast place.
While we are waiting for the rest I’m enjoying another cup of coffee and some food and catch up with Kelly. It doesn’t take long before Clayton arrives who was late this morning and decided to drive to Lake Louise instead of meeting the others first. After a while Bill and Matt show up and shortly after Scott, Robin and Greg who had to pick up some rental gear in Banff first. It’s good to see that everybody made it out and also that the weather is looking better and better this morning.
While I take off with Robin and Matt to Bow Lake the others drive out to West Louise Lodge to park some cars over there. We all meet up at the Numtijah Lodge and at 11:00 AM we start skiing across Bow Lake. At first I was skiing up front with Matt, Kelly and Clayton but after a while Bill shows up and we skied for a while through the canyon. For some odd reason (the bottle of wine my wife and I enjoyed the night before maybe…) I feel tired and after coming out of the canyon, a bit higher and not being exposed to avalanches anymore I decide to take a lunch break and relief my back a bit from that heavy pack. When Scott, Robin and Greg show up I join them to do the final bit of skiing underneath Vulture peak, the hanging glacier and the steep part just before Bow Hut.
Since we still had some days of skiing in front of us I decline the invite of Matt and Clayton to do Mount Gordon so while they take off I enjoy some food and good talks with the rest of the group. Kelly is still eager to go out and do some skiing so we decide to skin up the Onion to get at least 1 “peak” that day. So far the weather has been really good but while we skin up the headwall clouds are moving in and by the time we are at the summit there are no views anymore…glad I didn’t go after Gordon and later on I learn that Matt and Clayton also decided to turn around when the weather started to deteriorate. When coming of the Onion we can see another skier skinning up and we figure it is Scott who decided to do some turns above the hut. Kelly is skiing towards Scott as well as Matt and Clayton who just returned from the Wapta glacier while I get back to my pack that I dropped lower down, to take of my skins and ski down the headwall back to the hut, shortly after the others join me and it’s time for dinner.
Since Scott and I created the rope teams and decided that each member of the team brings dinner for one night I can only blame myself after Kelly, who is not in my rope team, pulls out steak, butter garlic shrimp, baked potatoes and beer…again, I can only blame myself since I know that he always bring the luxury life when going out to the back country…what was I thinking. Luckily Scott his chili was a good alternative but no pre-packaged, freeze dried food can compete with steak and shrimp.
We have some good conversations and at around 10PM everybody is in bed trying to get a good rest before the next day of skiing. As it turns out Greg brought his medicine cabinet and I’m not sure what he gave me but I slept really well…one night later I am going to learn about the side effects of these pills though…