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Mount Davidson and Castle Towers from Cowboy Ridge # 6340

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Date: 2005.02.05
Vantage Point: Cowboy Ridge

Caption: A View of Mount Davidson (left) and Castle Towers Mountain (right) from Cowboy Ridge

PhotoDescr: With about 36 cm of storm snow since the February 2 "Sudden Warm-up," conditions looked as good as they had been since January 17 and the "Eminently Sustainable Pineapple Express" for touring. With a thin crust down 30+ cm at elevations below 1900 m and some interesting (read variable) strong winds over the past two days, it was important to find the right exposures for skiable snow, so we headed out to the always dependable Musical Bumps for a look.

Good turns from Flute east into Oboe Creek became a little strange as we found our skis breaking through the thin melt crust from February 2. Just about the time we thought we were getting into rhythm, the tips would get stuck under the crust, and descents became a series of linked recoveries. Not enough snow had fallen yet to fill in the newly opened creeklets, and this too led to some interesting and athletic moves as we made our way to the creek bottom.

A quick climb to Oboe Ridge confirmed that the latest NE winds had spread a light coat of fluff on the NW exposure of this ridge. Topping the ridge, we were about to give into temptation when we noticed that Cowboy did not have a track on it. Sudden change of plans, and we were heading down through the trees to Singing Pass. Again, skiing was quite good initially, but as we dropped to the pass, the open creeks and breakable crust down 30+ centimetres made for interesting times.

As luck would have it, another group just ahead of us was busting a trail up Cowboy. We made tracks in that direction and were soon in their trough. A steep track up to the top of the tree bands led us up and onto the more gentle summit slopes. While I dug a test pit, I stopped to gaze on the range to our south--across the Cheakamus Valley. Warming temps were spreading some convective activity around the ranges to the south and the odd flake lazily swirled down out of the light clouds as the sun peeked in and out. It was easy to believe winter was back on again.

After snapping a shot of the Davidson-Castle Towers complex, we headed off down the slope for some good turns...good enough to do them a couple of times more before heading back across the bumps and home for a deserved brew...or two....

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