Backcountry skiing (Alpine touring) 4:00:00  11.0 km (21:49 / km) +1200m 14:07 / km
Hero Loop with Peter and Laura. Start early, finish early this time of year; met in town at 7 am.
Sheep on the drive up Spray Lakes Road, then saw two bald eagles circling low overhead and chasing each other, but the real prize was having 4 mountain goats descend in front of us, lead us up the ridge to Hero Col and then watch them continue to head up a mountain wall up to I don't know where. So impressive and great to see them somewhat close. Was surprised how shallow their tracks sunk into the snow.
Had a really good run down the main bowl from Hero's (didn't bother with Peter's secret line higher up to the left). Was surprised how nice the snow was, very wintery, cold, dry and some decent depth, Fresh tracks. Two groups of two were climbing up from this side; exchanged some friendly words to make sure they were okay with us coming down where we intended, a bit away from their uptrack, and also assured them that I would spoon my friends' tracks so that there would be good fresh fun for everyone. Plenty of friendly thank you's and have a great day. Toward the bottom we cut right to pop over into one of the first lines over the shoulder. This time you could feel a layer about 10 cm down and just a few little debris chunks. Saw another group come out of a nice main gulley above the finishing slope. Went up their uptrack to check it out (man, it felt like a long way up. It wasn't that much vert but a bit steep and a bunch of switchbacks) and soon started spotting other gullies that hadn't been skied. Did our own variation and had a really fun long run down with a cool slight choke point. Then exchanged lots of fun banter and ski reviews with the couple at the bottom. Started our ski out at 1 pm even though the snow wasn't feeling warm or moist.
Just as we were climbing in the car, I heard the loud crack and brief rumble of a cornice fall.