Summit Elevation (m): 2560
Latest Trip Date: Saturday, February 27, 2021
Elevation Gain (m): 1700 (3 laps upper section)
Round Trip Time (hr): 7
Total Trip Distance (km): 21
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: A very easy backcountry ski or snowshoe trip with minimal exposure to avalanche terrain.
Technical Rating: OT2; YDS (Skiing)
Map: Google Maps
The avalanche ratings were “considerable” for the alpine as the last weekend of February 2021 approached. Wietse and I wanted to get out skiing so we settled on something with low avalanche risk and plenty of skiing potential – Helena Ridge. By the time the dust settled we had a fairly large number of people interested in joining us. It was Chantal’s birthday and her and Lito would start up earlier than the rest of us from the parking lot. Scott and his son Liam were another team and Kelly also agreed to make the trip. Thanks to Covid and various other factors we were a fairly loosely joined group and left the parking lot at very different times. Normally with a ski tour you want to ensure that the group sticks close for obvious safety reasons. Helena East Ridge is a little anomalous as a winter ski objective in the sense that I’ve skied it completely solo and would do so again. If you are careful with route finding you can avoid avalanche terrain even to the summit. Obviously there is always risk with backcountry skiing including small sloughs, injury and health issues stranding you by yourself in winter temperatures but considering we were all using the same route the risks were reasonably low. I am going to let the video and some photos do the rest of this trip report since I’ve documented it a few times already on this blog.
We had a fantastic day with a total of around 17oo meters of height gain for the crazy Dutchman and myself with our 3 summit laps. We were slow and lazy compared to the Skimo racer who lapped us a few times on the summit slopes. She was insanely fast and fit! I highly recommend this tour for those days when you just want a low key, safe day in the hills with some good fitness training.