Asulkan Hut Rogers Pass, British Columbia
Rogers Pass is located off Highway 1, between Revelstoke and Golden, British Columbia. Asulkan hut is situated at the head of the Asulkan Valley, at 2100 meters, in the heart of Glacier National Park, with arguably some of the best backcountry ski touring available. We had booked a hut trip in the Asulkan Valley with Zach's ex patrol friends, Jill and Amanda from Copper, CO. Each year they take some time from their professional gigs to recharge the spiritual battery.
The Asulkan Hut was about a 10km tour in and over 900m of elevation gain from the parking lot off the pass. The Hut sleeps 10 people and it was packed full. This hut is one of the most popular huts on the pass as the whole winter gets booked up back in the fall when booking opens. We were lucky with a few last minute cancellations so we could stay for 3 days, 2 nights. Since I haven't been on a hut trip I know this will be a learning experience dialing in only the necessities for a 2 night back country hut trip. Finally we get to utilize our MHM Divide 55L packs! With Zach's previous hut experience we decide to would be easier to pre-make our breakfast burritos and bring simple lunch and dinner options. We met Jill and Amanda at the trail head around noon and shot straight up the 10km approach to the hut. Just in time to meet the other people in the hut and get to know them with beer and card/board games.
The previous days had been very hot and the whole snow pack had become isothermal and then the fog/snow rolled in. Due to extremely high winds and 20 cm of new snow avalanche conditions ranged from considerable to high. It was safe to say that with questionable stability and low visibility called for special considerations. We woke up early the next day only to see that the weather is completely socked in with fog. No matter what, we're still gonna get after it. We attempted to summit Young's Peak by way of the 7 Steps of Paradise. On the 6th step we finally got a quick view of the peak and the steep ascent needed for the summit. After much deliberation, we decide it would not be safe due to the touchy storm slab. As we started to transition to ski mode, we met two other Canadians pushing for the summit. We decided to watch their approach from a safe zone. With such a reactive storm slab, we kept our distance and didn't want to get caught in the "penalty box" all at once. With high winds blowing through the alpine and poor visibility, it make it hard to keep tabs on their progress. Shortly after a cloud pushed its way through our area, a pocket pulled out underneath their feet. The leading Canadian triggered a R1 D1.5 avalanche down on top of his buddy and buried him hip deep. They yelled out they were OK and spent the next 20 minutes digging him out. Not long after we headed for the trees so we could get some depth and contrast to the slopes we were riding. A zone beneath the hut was called Tree Triangle; it had all the fresh snow we could dream of. We made the very best of the lower risk lines below tree line and smashed em' out. Now back to the hut for beer, dinner, and games with the mad crew of 10 in the hut.
Finally on the 3rd day at the Asulkan hut we were blessed with a clear day. With it being the last day we woke up with the sun and got after it! Went straight up to the the Asulkan Pass on the Glacier for some solid lines. Then a lap up an open mellow powder field where we tried our best at the Powder 8! Then off for another lap down the 7 Steps of Paradise before lunch. We had just enough time to squeeze in a cheeky spring lap complete with cornice drops and a technical line finish. Finally after charging all day we had to pack it in, pack it out.
Finally getting back to the car in the late evening it was time to relax... Oh wait never mind, it was time to get cleaned and packed up for another adventure, a 5 day hut trip to Blanket Glacier Chalet accessed by helicopter. Oh, Canada!
Written by: Brian Stenerson