I had the pleasure of meeting Chuck on Redearth Creek and wishing him Merry Christmas in person. Lucky for me, he was already on the return and was able to give me the intel on the final K of the trail.
For its first tracksetting of the season, Redearth Creek is in surprisingly good condition. The Banff trail report rates it at Good/Excellent and that’s not too far from the truth.
This might be the only time I’ve skied it after the first tracksetting and not picked any rocks! As we’ve already heard from Chuck, John Blum was taking care of the rock picking, and I saw a couple divots where rocks had been removed.
The tracks, which were excellent, started as soon as I topped the initial hill, about 300 metres in. That’s where I met Al and her family who were on the way back.
Beyond the campground at 7K, the trail is corduroyed and the grooming stops at 9.6K, or 1K from the end. The final K has deep snow with skier tracks. I’m wondering if any of our knowledgeable readers would care to speculate on why the grooming didn’t go to the end?
Redearth Creek involves a fair bit of elevation. To 9.6K, I had a net elevation gain of 315 metres and a total ascent of 370 metres.
The only place where you might still encounter a rock is just as you approach the Lost Horse Creek bridge at 6.9K. The snow is thin under the heavy canopy there. I was able to pick my way through with no trouble.
The snow is still a bit soft, so I had an easy, controlled, enjoyable descent on those steep hills while returning.
New this year, there are avalanche warning signs at 3.7K and 4.7K.
The air temperature was -10°C when I started around 11 a.m, and the snow was -8. VR40(-4/-12) worked well.
As always on a cold, calm day, the temperature at the campground at 7K was extremely cold. For about 15 minutes, my hands, toes, and face all were telling me the temperature was closer to -20. My skis were squeaking noisily, too. The campground is not a good place to stop for lunch on a cold day.
The Banff/Lake Louise trail report indicates the Pipestone trails have been snowmobile packed. Does this mean the construction is finished, and we now have access to the trails? I hope so.
Merry Christmas, everyone!