Since Graham and I couldn't go to BC to do Cathedral Peak, we decided to try to complete the
Spray Range Traverse, which I failed to complete with the Brown brothers back in 2013.
You can tell this is spring time skiing with open water in the creeks. This was the first time I didn't just uptrack the
road up Burstall Pass and it turned out to be quite pleasant.
After an early start, a pick-up of crampons in Canmore, and a car shuttle, we were prepared for our day.
We started from Burstall Pass, and skied up the road to the lakes and then up our first climb of the day,
up to Commonwealth Col. This is the start of it.
Graham on Burstall Lakes. While we didn't get our target KPI for the season of 4 Graham/Paul outings, we
did get two really good ones, one that wound up in naming 'Sniffing for Bacon' and the completion of the
Spray Traverse on this day. That makes me smile too Graham!
After a detour into Canmore to pick-up his crampons, Graham promptly left them in his car, leaving him to
boot pack most of the Commonwealth Col.
Graham says this approach is pretty rad - the big rock on either side of us here is a pretty sweet spot
for morning exercise.
Graham says bootpacking isn't all bad as he gets to the top of the col.
Neat view of Commonwealth Pass looking up in the snow. We wound up exiting through the middle of this cornice.
Sooooo, after getting mostly white-out conditions on the col, we struggled to figure out the exact best
entrance to avoid the cornice overhang. We *thought* we had found an entrance, but when I poked into it to
have a 'little look', the world fell out from under me. Reminder - buy ski brakes for your BD skis as it took
Graham to find my other ski here after I dropped ~25 feet over the cornice.
And this is what happens when you 'get after it'. That's me picking up my body and skis after taking an unexpected 25-footer.
After Graham dropped in, this is what he saw as I'm picking up my ski (and looking for the other one).
A bit of a look at the cornice I 'skied over'.
On the upside, it wasn't at this spot, which would have been closer to 35+ feet of drop into oblivion.
Graham found a much smarter entrance here as he's tapping the edge to ensure it'll hold him.
Graham getting into the Commonwealth col entrance
After helping me find my ski, Graham earned first turns here
Me skiing Commonwealth Pass
Better look at the entrance into Commonwealth Pass. The short answer is that the safer entrance is up high on the
looker's right side (west side), and we'll know that for next time.
Graham having lunch and getting 'Fisted' - the peak behind him is called 'The Fist'.
The Spray Range Traverse goes up four passes/peaks, and our second up/down was up Super-Slope side (although we
decided to stay in the trees instead), and then down Tryst Lake Chutes. There was about a dozen people here
sessioning the chutes, which are super fun.
Nice larch trees on the top of the chutes. They're numbered from east to west, and I think we did chute #4
but they wound over to the bottom of #5 to get some untouched snow.
Me skiing Tryst Lake Chutes #4
Graham skiing Tryst Lake Chute #5
After clearing the Weather Station Bowl tree thrash mess, we arrived into a gorgeous huge bowl I've never skied.
A look down into the bowl we're about to ski. We don't know the name of this bowl, but we've named it Weather Station Bowl. I think the whole left side
of the ridge here is Tent Ridge, but we don't know that for sure either.
Graham giving us the overview of the area
Neither of us had ever skied the other side from Tryst Lake Chutes. So, after a heinous tree thrash up to the
pass here, we dropped into 'Weather Station Bowl', a huge slope that wouldn't normally be safe to ski unless it's pretty
solid avalanche conditions
Paul skiing Weather Station Bowl
While this was definitely not the toughest tree thrash, it was pretty funny and you can see Graham
working to get over a log on our uptrack to Tent Ridge
Graham pulled us all the way to the completion of this tour by laying down a solid uptrack up to our last
destination, Tent Ridge. I was pretty happy to get to the car at the end of the outing, but it's a pretty
neat way to connect 4 popular areas in the Smith-D in Kananaskis. Here's Graham on Tent Ridge
Paul skiing Tent Ridge Bowl
Cool shot of me showing edge articulation at least a little bit.
A look at the completed route from our GPS track.
Garmin Connect data HERE , with highlights being 19.3 km traveled, 1700m elevation gained
and 8.5 hours car to car time.