Post subject: 7 Days in Paradise - Kokanee Glacier Cabin
Posted: Sun May 19, 2013 4:44 pm
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:38 pm Posts: 20 Location: British Columbia
A week at the Kokanee Glacier Cabin in Kokanee Glacier Park, BC, May 4-11.
It was a tropical +30 Celsius in Nelson, BC when we flew into Kokanee Glacier Park and arrived to our a 4500 sq. ft. cabin which really felt more like a mountain chalet. At a first glance of the terrain, it was obvious the touring opportunities were endless. Though the weather in the alpine neared daytime highs of 15-19 degrees, conditions were surprisingly stable and our only real concern was the warming that occurred during late afternoons.
For those not familiar with the cabin, Kokanee Glacier Cabin (http://www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/facility/kglacier.html) can accommodate 22 persons, but is limited to 12 in the winter months. It has a self sustaining hydro power and sewage treatment system. It was constructed with the fundraising effort of a group of committed locals and the Trudeau family in memory of Michel Trudeau who lost his life in the area in an avalanche in 1998. It is dedicated to him along with others who have lost their lives in the park, many of which were outstanding community leaders and life long park enthusiasts.
Never has a ski vacation felt more like a beach vacation given the hourly reapplication of so much sunscreen. One of the best parts of the cabin is the close proximity to high alpine terrain. Within a two hour hike you are standing on top of a world-class 800m glacier run. By late lunch hour we were back at the cabin, sipping from a fresh pot of coffee and unwound in our peaceful surroundings.
The backcountry half marathon - Grey's Peak (2740m)
Made famous as the mountain on the Kokanee Beer cans, Grey's Peak is the highest mountain in the park. Departing the cabin at 6:15am we moved quickly to the top of the Glacier, negotiating icy conditions, in a little over two hours. The next 2.5 hrs would be spent rolling over the various humps taking in the stunning scenery. At last we reached our target. All that separated the summit and our party was 100 feet of steep boot packing.
Before long we were standing on the summit, enjoying our lunch while watching Nelson glimmer in the distance. Not a cloud in the sky, and not a single breeze, we couldn't believe how quiet and calm the summit was. The journey was only half done, as we still had to make our way safely back to the cabin. Dropping down the west facing slopes, we scraped our way through the woods in what turned out to be a four hour slog. After some creative route finding we found Kokanee Lake and high tailed for home. Arriving 9.5 hrs after we departed, we covered 21.5km and 1500m of elevation.
After seven straight days of ski touring and smiles on our faces, this one week adventure has very much altered my perception of what it means to experience a great hut trip. When we concentrate so much on the deep powder winter days, we miss many of the benefits of spring; beautiful vistas, snow stability, and touring missions that are only possible with long days and good visibility. Unexpectedly, we just experienced the most epic ski vacation.
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