An unlikely good ski.

In the first week of May we found ourselves faced with the last available weekend for a downhill ski. The snow conditions were deteriorating rapidly and so had the weather of late. Sunday morning Markus woke determined, as always. We were going for a ski and we were going to enjoy it! The last one of the season.

The weather was, well, rather miserable I have to say. I always have a difficult time admitting miserable weather because Markus is always so keen and I find it difficult to determine what exactly is a bad weather day when he's smiling so much. We drove the snowmachine into the hills behind our home just enough to have a decent start to the ski. When we were strapping on our skis the day was grey and the snow falling horizontally. I was not impressed.

As always, Markus was raring to go.

We started up slowly, me bringing up the rear. Within moments the wet snow was accumulating on the bottoms of our skis making for a very heavy load. I have to admit that I complained most of the way up. In my defense, I rarely complain and usually am keen for most of Markus' adventures. Truthfully, in these conditions I would have rather been curled up on the sofa with a blanket, hot tea and a good book! You would be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn't feel the same.

We trudged and with every stop to catch our breath Markus negotiated my continuing on another little bit. And I continued. Before I knew it, were were as far as we could get. I guess the top was closer than it seemed with all my objections to reach it. Getting there so quickly made me feel better about the day and about being outside. The snow was scant and the boulders abundant. We surveyed our route down and removed our ski skins.

The descent was actually fantastic, much to my surprise and pleasure! Yes, I was smiling and once again grateful for the crazy man who always pushes me to my limits. The one who can find the joy in every type of weather and condition, as long as he is outside! It was a good last ski after all, and our hot tea at home tasted soooo good.


We were on Mt. We Were on the Mountain.

Mt. Angiuqqa (or Angiuqqaaq), also known as Boss Mountain, is a 1000 m peak located close to Pangnirtung. It's been our plan for a while to tackle it on skis and see what kinds of slopes it offers.

There is a little bit of confusion as to which mountain Angiuqqa actually is. It is the peak you can see very well when you approach town from on the fiord ("the boss of other mountains"). The problem is that there are a couple of peaks that are prominent and would easily qualify. We have heard a couple different interpretations of who the Boss is but we picked the one that one of Delia's colleagues had insisted was Angiuqqa.

Whatever mountain we were, that's the mountain I'm writing about. If it wasn't the mountain we were supposed to be on, I could call it Mt. We Were on the Mountain in which case we were on the Mt. We Were on the Mountain.

The approach looked easy from a distance but the peak itself looked quite steep. It looked like a great project.

We drove by skidoo to the base of the mountain and started ascending The day was a little foggy and first I lead us up the wrong ridge. We had to come down and drive another few clicks to the correct slope. Meanwhile, the fog cleared up and we could start seeing the peak.

Views from the ridge and from the top:

The descent was straightforward, nothing to report. The coolest part was the final slope which was quite steep but technically quite easy to get up on the skis. I did snap my ski pole in two in a low speed skiing accident. The best part was skiing past the skidoos all the way down to the valley below. We had to climb up a bit to get back to the vehicles.

The triangular peak is the peak of Angiuqqa/Mt. We Were on the Mountain.

While maybe not the greats ski of all times, it was a good practice run and aerobic exercise. Getting ready for the bigger peaks!


Skiing and fishing at Lake Five

My headache was getting worse. I was scavenging through the bags to check again whether we had actually left the dry food bag home. Yup, no doubt about it. No coffee this morning. Epic fail.

It's especially bad when you are on the land because you are typically a little groggier than normal in the mornings. I was groggier than normal that morning. Typical. Everybody who drinks coffee says they need their coffee in the mornings and they're absolutely right. It has nothing to do with coffee addiction: a human being is designed to have a large cup of dark roasted coffee in order to function.

Lake Five is just another quite unremarkable lake. It doesn't even have a real name but for this story's sake I will call it Lake Five. It's roughly the fifth lake when counting all the lakes up from Kuulik. We had returned to the area due to its above-average snowfall which we had discovered one week before on a trip to Iqalukjuak.

Our overnight trip plan included a day for skiing and a day for fishing. Next to the lake there were several moderate peaks to ascend on skis. There were exposed rocks but the snow was soft, light and of high quality, overall. As our skiing peak we chose one to the east of the lake. We started the ascent directly from the tent, slowly heaving ourselves up the mountain. I wasn't feeling quite as strong as last year because we hadn't done as much skiing. The snow just hadn't been there this winter. Also, normally we ski up on hard snow.

After some arguments on route selection (that's how our relationship started several years back), I got my way (she was grumpy at me, though) and we traversed through some gullies and moderately steep faces up towards the top slopes. The day was sunny and brilliant, warm. Closer to the top, however, temperatures started cooling down because of higher altitude and winds. Our turnaround point was maybe 600-700 m up from the lake, which gave us a nice long run.

Generally speaking, the conditions were possibly the best I've skied in close to Pangnirtung. I had found good snow here and there, but at Lake Five, everywhere was good. I could have hoped for a little more snow higher up but lower down there were some "movie moments". And all the way down the snow remained consistent.

(Remember that we are not talking in Revelstoke terms here. It's Baffin. You still scratch your skis on rocks.)

The night was cozy at the tent. We heated up Kauko-Lämpö, our wood stove from Sweden that we bought from our friend Kauko. I had forgotten half of our food home but at least I had packed some pork sirloin. We slept like little pigs after eating.

After a well-slept night and a coffeeless morning, we drilled a few holes in a random spot at the lake. We had no idea whether there were fish or whether they were going to bite. All we knew was that if there were fish, they would be land-locked char (i.e. do not migrate to the ocean in the summers). You don't need to use the yanking technique with them when fishing; all you need to do is bait your lure and move it around until somebody comes and swallows the goods. And that's exactly what happened after 15 minutes of fishing: up came a skinny three-pounder. It was quite brown and not very pretty. But it was a fish. And hungry.

Soon after Delia got the first one, I lost my lure to another fish. The fish was not that big but my line had a weak spot in it. The fish in that lake seemed to be starving: this guy swam directly to Delia's hole, wearing my lure on its mouth, and gulped hers. Up came our second fish with two lures in the mouth! This one was another skinny char.

We were content. Clearly the lake had fish, that's all we wanted to know. We headed home where I promptly made coffee.

The (very happy) End.

Syndicate content