Ursus Minor Mountain

elevation: 2,749 m. height gain: 1,435 m.
area: Rogers Pass,BC map 82 N/5
2014-Feb-01


Park at the Rogers Pass Discovery Center. Skin up Connaught Drainage. Before the back of the draw, head north-west into the forest, 607826. There's usually an uptrack to Ursus Trees; it initially climbs to the right of a sheltered gully. Further up, near the top of "Hospital Gully", 606828, Hospital/Ursus Minor Bowl divides Bruin's Ridge (left) and Ursus Trees (right). Make your way towards Ursus Trees and continue along Ursus Minor's south-east ridge. The broad ridge leads to a high col on Ursus, bootpacking to the col may be required depending on snow coverage and conditions. Class 3 scrambling is necessary to reach the summits. connaught drainage
Connaught Drainage.
grizzly slide path
The uptrack left of the drainage at Grizzly's slide path was in disuse.
Ski touring: RT 8.0; 5.5 up. Well, we're back in Rogers Pass taking advantage of the stable snowpack and high-pressure ridge. I've been skiing Ursus Trees since the early 90's and have skied to the high col before but never stepped on the summit. Fabrice and I love this place; it's our "go to" area for turns. In the last couple of years, I've been compelled to investigate the summit block. Last weekend on Grizzly Mountain, I noticed an uptrack high on Ursus, this prompted us to plan a trip to the true summit. Charles was keen to discover Rogers Pass, add some miles on his new equipment and gain experience as a skier. We met at the Discovery Center and started skinning up Connaught Drainage by dawn; very cold temperatures enveloped the Rockies but it was a bit milder here. Our ascent up the valley to treeline was nice; it was sunny and it felt a lot warmer than it was. The uptrack was pleasant, it seemed so much more casual after climbing the Teddy Bear Trees the week previous... The boys waited for me at treeline, we paused before continuing towards the high col. Near the col, the terrain gets steeper; with minimal snow on the firm snowpack, it was difficult to keep an edge without ski-crampons. We ditched our skis and joined an existing bootpack. The steps in the snow were very firm and easy to follow; we we're now engulfed in cloud... The scrambling begins from the col; class 3 scrambling leads to the first summit and is followed by another short scramble up the final buttress. It was both thrilling and awkward with the ski boots. Once on the summit, we were greeted with a view towards Mount Rogers. Standing at the edge of the cloud layer, only the northern view was revealed; Cheops Mountain and Sir Donald weren't visible. Our stay was brief, we carefully scrambled back down to col and glissaded to our skis. We started to feel the cold as we prepared for the ski down; we were looking forward to that part of the trip! The fluff on crust in the alpine was consistent and the amount of soft snow augmented in the trees, granting some good skiing. We aimed for "Hospital Gully" for a nice exit onto the main uptrack. Kudos to Charles, he did an awesome job skiing down safely and with style. lower ursus
Lower Ursus Trees, stepping into the sun offers relief from the cold.
ursus trees
Ursus Trees.
treeline
Treeline, with the objective in sight.
balu and video peaks
Balu Peak (8812) on the left and Video Peak to the right.
looking back
Looking back towards Illecillewaet Glacier.
visibility varies
Continuing in a cloud layer, visibility comes and goes.
nearing the high col
Nearing the high col.
ascent ridge
Looking down the ascent ridge with Hospital/Ursus Minor Bowl climber's left.
skinning up
Skinning up the sun affected snow.
bootpack
Electing for the bootpack's firm steps.
reaching the col
Reaching the col.
scrambling
Scrambling to the first summit.
steep blocky terrain
Steep blocky terrain.
hands-on
A bit of hands-on.
looking down
Looking down.
final buttress
Final buttress to the top.
at the top
Happy, happy, joy, joy!
view north
View north.
leaving the top
Bye, bye, Jo...
descending the buttress
Descending the summit buttress.
back to the col
Backtracking to the col.
glissading to our skis
Glissading to our skis; Fab, you're such a buffoon!
okay skiing
Fluff on crust is not that bad!
ursus trees
Some soft snow in Ursus Trees.
hospital gully
Exiting from Hospital Gully.
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