Skiing on Mt. Duval

Yet again a good telemark skiing trip up the side of Mt. Duval and then down on hard-packed slopes. For us it was good but for somebody used to skiing in B.C. would probably have described it as "you call this a snowpack?" We were skiing over rocky patches at times, and overall the snow was like concrete. Well, we never skied in B.C. so that's not a concern for us.

That's skiing in Baffin for ya: two powder days a year, if we are lucky. As a skier you need to be a jack of all trades: you have to master hard snow, soft snow, crud, complete-shit-snow, something that's a mixture of all of the previous, and you have to have a keen eye for polar bears. The ability to hang back in order to avoid those nasty slams when you hit that only soft spot on the slope is an asset.

It's all good, though. The great thing is that you can put your skis on at your porch and just go.

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Thousand and one ways to fall

Delia isn't usually prone to brainless ideas but today she definitely got one. And a really good one, too. We were to lure Stephanie with us, skidoo across the fiord, ascend with skis a mountain that is covered in exposed rocks and ridiculously steep sections, then ski down. And she hadn't even mastered the telemark turn yet.

Wait a second. This is awesome, I thought. At least in the big scheme of things. We should all try to be impulsive like that. Live a little. Get a little crazy sometimes. Sometimes it must be not fun to be fun.

This one might require helmets.

She wasn't even planning on taking ascension skins with her. Luckily I managed to convince her otherwise after downing my morning coffee.

As we left the skidoo that we had parked on the edge of the fiord, Stephanie was with us, keen as usual. We started ascending the mountain steadily in strong sidewinds. We were expecting it to get stronger, but suddenly the sun appeared from behind the clouds that had been hanging around all morning and the wind completely died.

What a great start.

It took us 2.5 hours to reach our target peak about 650 m higher up. Going was slow at times due to soft snow and navigation in the rocks. There was also a place where Delia could foresee a potential slab avalanche, and we toured around. Normally we ascend around 300 meters of elevation in an hour but this time a little less.

To our big satisfaction, there was absolutely no wind at the top. The sun was brilliant and bright. Everything was perfect.

As much as going up was fun, going down was tedious. The snow unpredictable, crusty and difficult. Rocks were all over, both visible and invisible. It was difficult. We kept falling like drunkards returning from the bar. Delia probably had the record on falls and she displayed an impressively large number of variations on the way down, showing no lack of imagination!

Definitely not the slope where you want to be skiing down on. We all agreed that on this hill, skiing up was more fun than skiing down. That's a first for me.

All in all, it was a fantastic five-hour trip! Let's see what Crazy comes up with next time.

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