Trip Date: Dec 7, 2013
Participants: Chris Barton, Michele Cohen, Alison Coolican, Jaine Hnik, Rob Kay, Jana Kralikova, Alex Le, Dave Robertson, Pavel Stech, Goran Vranic, Geoff Zenger
Report: Another December, another trip to Alpen Mountain. Alpen is one of my favourite early season trips due to the first part being entirely on logging road and so you can always drive right to the point where you can start skinning. For a detailed description of the route, please see one of my trip report from 2011 here.
The Whistler alpine forecast for the date of the trip was for temperatures down to -21 in the alpine and it hadn’t snowed in weeks, so we were all a bit nervous about we would encounter on the route but headed up towards the mountain nonetheless. I went to Alpen in December 2011 and December 2012 and in those years we were able to start skinning from around 550m and 450m, respectively. This year however, we were able to drive up to 1050m, shaving at least 4.5km off of the distance that I had to cover in previous years. This would make for a short day.
The ascent took us just a bit over 3 hours, including a snack break at the snowmobile hut. Up to the hut there was very little snow and in a few places there weren’t any great lines to ascend through the trees, but not far above the hut the snow became deeper and to our pleasant surprise, it was remarkably light powder! No ice to be found at all despite how long it’d been since it last snowed. Even better, the sun was beating down all day and there was no wind, and so even though it was around -10 degrees on the summit, everyone was happy to spend the better part of an hour on top before starting down.
Once we were down to where we left our skis below the summit, the next part of the descent was through really nice powder, and we found a route through the trees back to the road that only involved a couple minutes of bush-bashing. The road was quick to descend as always, and we were packed up and heading back down the road before 3pm. In all, it was a surprisingly good day of touring and skiing! Thanks to everyone who came out!