A couple snowshoers and I were the only ones to make the big climb yesterday. Conditions were perfect with excellent snow coverage and new grooming. Coming down, it was F – A – S – T!
I started out on Whiskey jack where the grooming is five days old but still in good condition with a few bits of tree debris which caused no issues.
Also climbing Whiskey jack were Ivo and Elena who had started at Pocaterra. From their account it sounds like the first 4K of Pocaterra has much better snow coverage than a couple weeks ago when I was there.
Bob Feick had just arrived at the top of Whiskey jack, starting on Wheeler and coming up Packers, and reporting good conditions all around.
From the Boulton creek parking lot it’s a 420-metre climb to the Lookout over a distance of 6.2K. The actual Lookout trail from the north approach(from the junction of Pocaterra/Tyrwhitt) is 1.7K. As I started up the Lookout trail I managed to stride for 400 metres before I had to start herringboning which is necessary for most of the remaining 1.3K.
When I reached the top I was greeted by two snowshoers who had ascended the south side from Hydroline. It was -8°C at the top according to the thermometer on the Fire lookout building. When I started at Boulton creek it was -2.
I descended the same way I came up because I wanted to ski Tyrwhitt on the brand new grooming. I’ve learned my lesson from previous trips and slowed to a crawl in order to negotiate the two tight turns on the way down. Even so, the descent only lasted a mere four minutes.
I had excellent conditions on Tyrwhitt and Elk pass with a dusting of new snow in the tracks. There were quite a few tree bombs exploding on Elk pass so I skied in the track furthest from the trees. Fox creek had just been trackset and was as wonderful as it gets.
Don’t attempt the Kananaskis Fire Lookout Trail unless you are a seasoned intermediate skier.