October Snow and Sunshine Provide Ample Outdoor Opportunities

I’ve often said that October is my least favourite month of the year.  In October there’s typically not enough snow for skiing.  The ski resorts don’t open until November and  it’s usually too early for ice climbing.  But most days are too chilly for rock climbing.  I don’t like searching for holds I can use with numb fingers.  I’m also not fond of shivering in a puffy jacket while I’m belaying.  

This year, October delivered.  A huge dump of snow in early October that melted out pretty quick in the city, but stuck around in the mountains.  It was a great opportunity to pull out the backcountry skis and look for a place to make a few turns.  We headed out to nearby Kananaskis Country in search of early season snow.

After checking our Avi gear (my transceiver needed new batteries), we put the skins on our skis and headed up the trail, right out of the parking lot.  We weren’t the first.  There were tracks already set in the snow.  We followed the tracks into the woods, up a valley, for 3 or 4 kilometres until the tracks turned back.  Looking around, we noticed a beautiful, snow covered slope that started above tree line and ended in a meadow of willow bushes.  After determining that there was acceptable avi risk, we zig-zagged up the slope.  There was ample snow coverage and the turns, while challenging in the heavy snow, felt like a special treat.

Kananaskis Country provided its typically diverse weather.  We were treated to cloudy skies with snow, clearing to bright sunshine and then back to clouds and sleet.  There’s something special about skinning through a forest, quiet under a bed of snow, with flakes gently falling through the branches.  I stopped for a moment and held my breath, listening to the silence.

The next week, I was indoor climbing with a new friend.  She was making plans to do a multi pitch climb on a sunny rock face the following day.  She sent me a photo afterwards, taken part way up the climb in beautiful sunshine, climbers in t-shirts.  I have to admit, I was jealous it wasn’t me out there on the rock.  It looked glorious.

Maybe I got October all wrong.  Maybe it’s not a month of indoor activities only, waiting for winter to arrive.  Maybe October is teaching me to flexible – take out the skis but don’t put away the climbing shoes yet!  

Related posts

Lisa grew up on the Alberta prairies. In her younger adult years she discovered her passion in the Rocky Mountains, with backpacking, mountaineering and climbing. Lisa recalls at an early age receiving a treasured gift,  a pair of cross country...

Nipika is a Ktunaxa word meaning a higher power. It is a sacred term for the Ktunaxa, referring specifically referring to the spirit of the grizzly bear. A spirit can not be killed, the grizzly bear can no the pushed...

My partner and I recently completed an epic backpacking trip where we hiked over 130 km and tackled 2 remote big mountains, in 8 days.  We had 2 weeks of vacation and planned to spend the second week climbing.  But...

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop