White Pyramid

elevation: 3,275 m. height gain: 1,650 m.
area: Icefields Parkway,AB map 82 N/15
2011-Mar-27


Ref: Chic Scott's Summits and Icefields
epaulette lake


Epaulette Lake.
Ski mountaineering: RT 11.0; 6.5 up. This was an extraordinary trip. We possibly had the best conditions; a stable snowpack, no previous wind events and great weather. Our very good friend Ev was in town after a while abroad; this was her first outing this season. We met in Lake Louise at 5 AM and drove out in her truck. We parked in a plowed slot a little past the recommended grid reference, 216482. Prepared with knowledge of recent trips, we walked down the highway looking for the up-track. Once near the suggested start, we decided to head in, confident we would soon find it; we did. The good up-track led us to Epaulette Lake nicely. Although we had to drop down to the lake, the advantage of the track outweighed the height loss. The route to the col is awesome. We had good snow coverage that progressively got deeper (mid boot) and remained light. The narrow north facing draw is sheltered and receives little sun at this time of the year. However, we were mindful of some big overhanging cornices. After leaving our skis and kicking steps to the col, we were greeted by superb views to the south. We proceeded on the ridge taking turns at breaking trail. By now we were quite tired. On the false summit, we felt optimistic. The pyramid was within reach! We pushed on to the top in good spirits. We were able to enjoy the lofty viewpoint despite the clouds that occasionally engulfed us. Very thrilled about the accomplishment, we savored the moment. Coming down was fast. Unfortunately, as we went, so did the good light. Once on our skis, we readied ourselves for a very long run. The skiing was excellent all the way down to the moraines, even with flat light. That was such a treat. At the lake, we decided to go past the up-track and follow Epaulette Creek down. That turned out great (thanks to Rocky Mountain Ramblers for their recent trip report). The rollercoaster run was continuous and delivered us all the way down to the frozen river. Ev and I had great fun skiing down with burning legs, nearly out of control and yelling like banshees! I have to say, this was the cherry on top of the cake. I'm very thankful for this memorable trip with my best friend Ev.
epaulette creek

Following Epaulette Creek.

nearing the moraines

Nearing the moraines.

access to upper draw

This steep slope gives way to the upper draw.

upper draw

The upper draw.

looking back

Looking back, Mount Murchison in the background.

back of the draw


Nearing the back of the draw.


gaining height quickly


Looking back again, gaining height quickly.


switchbacks begin


The grade steepens.


steep


Last bit before we take our skis off.


excellent ski down


This sheltered draw will provide an excellent ski down.


reaching the col


Kicking steps to the col.


impressive slope


Impressive slope.


ascent ridge


The ascent ridge from the col.


ridge


Travel is manageable and pleasant.


spectacular sights


Spectacular sights to the west with Mount Forbes in the distance.


howse peak


Howse Peak.


summit in sight


The sub peak and true summit come into view.


sub peak ahead


Nearing the sub peak.


ascending the sub peak


Ascending the sub peak.


the notch


The notch interrupts the summit ridge.


up the notch


Up the notch easily.


summit ahead


The true summit is within reach!


last bit


Final pitch to the top of the pyramid.


bff on pyramid


Ev and I at the top, yahooooooooooo.


egyptians at the top


Just like an Egyptian...


alpine route


The alpine route down to the Chephren/White Pyramid Col.


chephren


Mount Chephren.


ascent ridge


The ascent ridge from the top.


heading down


After a fine half hour break, we head back down.


occasional high clouds


Occasionally, high clouds obscure the view.


at the notch


Down the notch.


sub peak


Retracing our steps to the sub peak.


nearing the col


Nearing the col and our skis.


from the road


Mount Chephren and White Pyramid from the highway.
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