alpinetouring.com    

 

GUIDEBOOK

Ski Touring India's Kullu Valley

 

Welcome to alpinetouring.com, a site dedicated to touring the world's greatest mountain range.

It is also the best and probably only place to purchase the

Kullu Valley ski tourer's guidebook.

 

SKI TOURING INDIA'S KULLU VALLEY

 

   

 

 

 

The world's first and only skiing guidebook to the Himalaya, targets the Kullu Valley in northern India, in the mountains surrounding the town of Manali. It arrived at the end of 2003 after six years of writing and researching and contains indispensable route information for 42 tours, ranging from brief day tours to complex multi-day expeditions on some of the most spectacular ski terrain imaginable. Come and ski the 'Valley of the Gods'.

 

 

"An intriguing and comprehensive guide to a beautiful part of the world." 

  - 'The Ski Mag' (winter 2003)

 

 

 


Campbell Spooner

at alpinetouring.com

ski kullu valley

manali

alpine touring

ski touring

skiing india

Valhalla Traverse, BC

April 2013

valhalla ski traverse, valhalla traverse, valhalla ski touring

 

'Perfect weather, excellent stability, mindblowing terrain'. That is how I'd briefly summarise our extraordinary south to north, ski traverse of the Valhalla Range, in the Southern Selkirks of B.C. Having failed to complete any major traverse for the past few years, my brother Stewart and I raced through Valhallas like we had a deadline to meet, but mostly we wanted to be as efficient as possible and exit before conditions worsened. And at the end of 5 wonderful but exhausting days, I did feel a warm glow of success and reinvigorated in my traverse obsession.

 

 

Our original plan was to begin with a climb to the west of Midgard Peak into Valhalla Lake, but at the last minute we changed our route under the assumption that Hoder Creek FSR was clear of snow. Five km up the road we realised our mistake and had to endure the first day spent slogging 15 km up to Drinnon Pass on the outskirts of the park. The following morning we set a blistering pace into the Park, up over Lucifer Col and Urd Pass and down to Icy Creek Lodge for our second night. Snow conditions were perfect, cold, boot-deep powder on the north sides, and shallower, but grippy climbing conditions on the south aspects.

 

 

After departing the luxury of Icy Creek Lodge, we climbed up past Demers Lakes (above) , through a small, high col and found a steep, joyous descent (below) into Upper Beatrice Creek. We then attempted a new, faster route up through a high col into Nemo Creek but became cliffed out and had to retreat to Snow Pass and back onto the standard route. A very steep skin though tight trees led to Nemo Pass and the upper lakes where we set our third nights camp, beneath the towering Mt Meers.

 

 

We packed up camp early and started the ascent up the south face of Mt Meers the next morning. By this stage we were confident in the snow stability and so we set a bold line up to the summit under decent exposure and clear skies. The descent off the north side was superb, dramatic and almost effortless as it plunged towards an unnamed lake. We crossed Wee Sandy Lake further down and traversed high up to our next camp below North Boundary Col for our fourth and final night.

 

 

The following morning, our last day, saw an easy ascent through the col then another steep climb up to Wragge Pass. Once atop Wragge Pass and with warming temps, we chose not to descend into the goop around Wragge Lake, but rather climb higher to Wragge Peak, where we found an incredible, steep, north facing descent leading to an unnamed lake beneath Mt Vingolf. Our final climb was through Vingolf Pass and then a short run led down to Shannon Lake and eventually, Shannon Creek, where a 12 km ski out towards Slocan Lake and our truck, completing the traverse.

 

 

Almost all of our ascents of the trip involved ski crampons and some of the steepest, most technical skiining I have ever accomplished, think gripping tree branches while trying to switchback on steep, fluted terrain. In spring conditions, many of these climbs would be easier kicking steps in boots but in the winter conditions we experienced, skis had to remain on. Every day contained challenging ascents with equally steep descents through ideal avalanche country. A traverse would be impossible in poor visibility or periods of high instability. Be patient and chose that perfect window of opportunity.