I take slow strides up a steep, narrow ridge basking in late afternoon golden light. As I look around, I find myself surrounded by a 360 panoramic scene of rugged snow-covered peaks. Below the snowline in the distance streaks of light reveal a vast forest of tall, green coastal trees until it is met by the aquamarine ocean floor below.
It is a mild, spring day, but the 10 cm’s of snow from the night before remain unspoiled as the high altitude kept its surroundings below freezing level throughout the past few hundred meters of ascent. Each step I take produces a soft crunch as I listen to the gentle breeze and a bird of prey screeching while circling high above me.
A flat plateau awaits not far from me at the top of the ridge. There, I will make camp for the evening and unload my overnight gear before claiming some sunset turns on the recently earned vertical gain. Once I finally reach the top, I take a short break and remove my skins, placing them in my pack. My setup is now in ski mode as I make the final adjustments, tightening my boot buckles and clicking into my skis. I stand there a moment longer to take in the breathtaking view in front of me, and drop in.