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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