Slalok Mountain: North Face (British Columbia, Canada) and Keith's Hut
December 4-6, 2009

Photos and story by Jason

Twelve hours of driving for a day's worth of skiing. Yeah, I’m up for that.

Joffre was our original intent, but plans were changed after a midnight hike into Keith’s Hut left us desiring more sleep than skiing. Our respite wasn't sullied until skiers, whom had already taken a morning run, woke us with their breakfast at 9a.m. It was then our newfound friend Paul presented us with an alternate plan. “Do you guys want to ski the North Face of Slalok back to the road?”

“Yeah,” we answered in unison, “Why not.” He was stoked and so were we. After packing our gear to include everything we brought for the night, we began by skinning up the East Flank of Joffre under a quickly deteriorating sky, which was quite in contrast to that night's prickly-starred canvas we had earlier arrived under.

*Skiing out to Upper Joffre Lakes, with our route behind.

*Skinning into Keith's Hut in the dark.

*Joffre (Left) and Matier (Right) and the Anniversary Glacier between along with Sky and Kyle outside Keith's Hut.

*The cliffy flank of Joffre next to the Anniversary Glacier

The Anniversary Glacier was easily reached by dropping slightly from the ridge above Keith's Hut and the climb up just as smooth on light powder and windboard. Once atop the glacier, it was an easy descending ski beneath the North Face of Matier and the South Couloir of Joffre, both very appealing lines in this equally appealing range.

Kyle climbing towards Slalok (far right).

*Nearing the summit of Slalok. Joffre is shrouded in clouds behind.

Sky led the way to a northerly tending ridge overlooking our descent route. We were forced to boot for short stints, but otherwise were able to retain our skins on easy ground all the way to the rimed covered summit rocks, which were quickly climbed before having to leave. Clouds were pushing in strong and all this work warrented that we hurry so as not to be thwarted by clouds and forced to ski by brail.

*Sky dropping into the North Face of Slalok.

*Some reasonably good snow to kick off the ski.

The descent was a mix of terrible break-away wind crust to pockets of powder. The highlight was skiing next to an exposed chunk of the Stonecrop Glacier (top-most photo).

*Klye looking down the lower part of the route and filming it as he went.

Kyle took a GPS watch along. This shows our route from Keith's Hut.

The ski out was a piece of cake for all but our lone snowboarder Kyle who managed to take the tight trees and flat lakes, followed by small uphills in stride.

A big meal at a Chinese Noodle restaurant led to a long drive back to the states, a lengthy search at the border, and a late night back home at ~1a.m. All in all, not bad for a day's work.


Jason Hummel...


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