Awkward walking up the Asulkan - But Worth It!
Asulkan Valley - Youngs Pk - Rogers Pass
Here are some observations from a trip up the Asulkan Valley to Youngs Pk. today.
A strong overnight freeze at the valley bottom prompted me to recall the words of my examiner Rudy Kranabitter way back in April 1983 during my Apprentice Ski Guide exam - "Why wear out your gear on that icy track - if you can walk on it - walk on it!"
So thinking of my new Mohair skins, I did.
If you take a look at the attached photo of the creek side-hill section of the trail, and imagine trying to skin across it when it is frozen hard as a stick (not to mention all the other awkward sections), you may consider packing your skis on your pack as well.
I did initially skate/double pole, skin free up the railway grade as far as the Glacier house ruins before shoulder my skis which I carried to just below the Asulkan hut before switching to skinning.
Once ascending the tree triangle, above the Mousetrap(around 1900m.), I found there was already 10cm of new snow overlying a supportive (on skis anyway) crust. This increased with elevation to @25-30cm on the Youngs Pk. headwall, the underlying crust was present the whole way.
A group of 7 from the Hut put up a track on the headwall and 2 of them look like they headed over to "Forever Young" couloir. Ski quality was excellent with dry snow that transitioned to 5-10cm of smooth shmoo over the still supporting crust at around 1900m. The valley exit had softened just enough without becoming sticky and slow which made for a relaxing return to the trailhead.
Skier traffic initiated some manageable size 1 dry loose that stopped mid slope, there were several previous wet releases within the last 24hours and I wouldn't be surprised if there not more later in the afternoon on steep solar aspects, other than that I didn't note any new avalanche activity while I was in the valley (back at the road by 1:30).
2 other folks headed up the Dome - I didn't see any other traffic.
As usual in the spring, "Timing is everything - next to Location, Location, Location, - which of course is all about Timing"!
Safe travels to all
ACMG Mountain Guide