Kootenay Pass Conditions

No the pic is not from Kootenay Pass today. My camera was malfunctioning, so I’ve substituted a shot from the archives. It’s from 1996, of Andy Stafford, and we’re trying for the summit of Mt Aspiring, one of the higher peaks in the South island of New Zealand. I was carrying my skis, hoping for a ski descent. We ascended the obvious ramps directly above Andy in the shot, but couldn’t make it over a blocky overhang barring access to the summit ridge (to the right).

At Kootenay Pass today we found a very solid (5cms thick where I was able to kick through it) ice crust on all aspects and elevations, with 10-15cm of light dry snow on top. This new snow has been hammered by the wind on all higher and exposed aspects. The sun was shining, and it was easy travelling, but the skiing was pretty mediocre (lots of scratchy turns), sort of fun on protected low angle slopes, but not really worth the drive at the moment.

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