GR882573 (South of Brewster Rock)
December 7, 2014
Banff – Sunshine to Assiniboine, AB
With some not-so-bad weather forecast Ben and I originally planed a ski ascent of Fatigue Mountain far into the backcountry accessing from Sunshine Village. However, after a day of resort skiing I was more-or-less exhausted. Failing to wake up at 3:30 am meant we’d have little chance to get Fatigue Mountain so we had to make a choice. Our alternative plan would involve driving all the way back to Kananaskis and post-holing to hell on snowshoes. Considering I just bought a new pair of AT boots I should test them out as soon as possible, so after hesitating and debating for a long time we eventually decided to just ski towards Fatigue Mountain for as far as we’d like.
Skinning up the ski-out to Sunshine Village went uneventful and took us about 2 hours, as usual. We took a short break inside the lodge and weather held quite nicely at this point. Then we skin’d up beneath Strawberry Chairlift and upon reaching the resort boundary we noticed some dark and low clouds rolling in obscuring most of the views towards Assiniboine. So the actual weather wasn’t nearly as good as we thought. The summit of Fatigue Mountain never came in view and it appeared to be miserable if going towards that direction.
So we veered climber’s left skinning up some gentle and sparsely treed slopes on Brewster Rock hoping for some powder skiing. As we slowly gaining height we noticed a small peak to the south. It also appeared that the gentle west-facing slopes could possibly offer some nice skiing, so we immediately decided to go up there.. This is the same ramp-shaped peak that I saw from Quartz Hill last year. I remember doing some research on it but didn’t find a name reference. Because it’s so unofficial here I’m just using its grid reference (GR).
Ascending it was nothing rocket science except for that the slope was foreshortened. It’s longer than you’d think (about 150 m vertical from the base). Other than some perseverance the snow quality was better than expected and we managed to ski all the way to its top. The weather was pretty marginal at this point so we didn’t have much of a view.
On the descent we got some powder runs, but my legs were really giving up thank to all that downhill I did the previous day… I had to take a break for every few turns, but nonetheless we got some good practice. At GR882573/Brewster Rock col we put the skins on and leisurely went back to the resort boundary. From there on it was a nice and fast run all the way back to the parking lot.
Overall this day turned out better than expected. This little unnamed peak proved to be a reasonable objective relatively free of any kind of hazard, and I’d recommend it as a early season ski ascent especially if you’ve done all others peaks by Sunshine area and are looking for some variation.