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Wapta Icefields Hut-to-Hut Ski Traverse – 5 Days

The Wapta Icefields are located near Banff, Alberta, along the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains, and is one of the most easily accessed groups of glaciers for ski touring in Canada. Join Mountain Ascents Canada this spring on a five-day hut-to-hut ski traverse of this magnificent area.

This is ski touring Canada style.The trip begins in the northern section of the Wapta Icefields and continues south towards the town of Lake Louise, AB. On route traverse glaciers, climb summits and ski untracked powder slopes. Look forward to nights spent in cozy alpine huts with delicious meals, entertaining stories, and a place to dry gear ready for the next day. Enjoy this winter wilderness adventure in the heart of the Rockies!

 

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Meet in Canmore; drive to trailhead and ski to Bow Hut.
(A safety talk and avalanche transceiver exercise will be done on route.)

Day 2 –Day-tour in the Bow Hut area. Options include a ski ascent of Mt. Gordon or carving ski turns on the glacier above the hut.

Day 3 – Ski to Balfour Hut (4 hours). Options include ascending
Mt. Olive or powder skiing down the slopes below Mt. Balfour.

Day 4 – Ski over Balfour High Col to the Scott Duncan Hut. Options may include ascending Mt. Balfour (highest peak in the area) or carving turns on the Balfour Glacier.

Day 5 – Ski back down to valley bottom by mid-afternoon. Replenish with a well-deserved beer and late lunch in Lake Louise. Return to Canmore by early evening.

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Dates

By Request

If these dates do not fit your schedule please contact Mountain Ascents Canada about a privately arranged trip. Normal trip length ranges from
3 to 6 days.

Price

$975.00 Cdn (includes food, accommodation, guiding service, and 6% GST).

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Transportation

Car pool from Canmore, AB, to the trailhead at Bow Lake (approximately a two-hour drive).

Meeting Place

We will meet in the morning of the first day of your trip ) at 7:00 am MST at the Rocky Mountain Ski Chalet in Canmore. This hotel is clean and comfortable, and offers competative rates. For your convenience, we recommend you spend the night prior to the trip at this hotel.

Click here for link to Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge.

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Accommodation

We will be staying at alpine huts run by the Alpine Club of Canada. These huts have dorm style bunks, propane lights and propane stoves. Sleeping mattresses and all cookware are provided. These huts are rustic but comfortable (perfect after a day of ski touring Canadian-style).

Difficulty

Participants must be strong intermediate skiers and in good physical condition. You will be carrying overnight packs and can expect to be out skiing at least six hours per day. Previous backcountry skiing experience is required. Mountain Ascents Canada's Rogers Pass Powder Ski Week or the Wapta Lite Trip is better suited for those with minimal or no backcountry skiing experience.

Please talk to us if you have any hesitation about your ability to participate in this program.

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Gear

Ski Equipment

  • skis with climbing skins
  • ski boots
  • poles
  • climbing harness
  • avalanche transceiver*
  • avalanche probe*
  • avalanche shovel*
  • back pack
    • large enough to carry all your gear plus extra room for food

     

Ski Clothes

  • long underwear (tops and bottoms)
  • medium weight pile pants
  • medium weight pile shirt
  • heavy weight pile coat
  • down coat
  • Gor-tex coat
  • Gor-tex pants
  • insulated gloves (two pair)
  • socks (two pair)
  • gaiters
  • sun hat
  • sun glasses


Hut Items

  • hut booties
  • T-shirt
  • small towel
  • toiletries
  • flashlight
  • water bottle
  • camera
  • ear plugs
  • three season sleeping bag
    (rated to 0 C or 32 F)


*Mandatory Safety Gear

The following gear is mandatory. If you do not have these items please contact us about rental or borrowing arrangements.

  • Avalanche transceiver (457 kHz single frequency only
  • Avalanche shovel
  • Avalanche probe
  • Climbing harness (worn when skiing on glaciers)

What Type of Skis Are Best?

The type of terrain that we will ski is termed "ski mountaineering." Although we will not necessarily be skiing really steep slopes, we will be skiing on glaciers and steeper slopes to the top of ski-able mountain runs, and in snow conditions ranging from perfect powder to wind crust (that’s ski touring in Canada). It is important that everyone has appropriate ski equipment. There are two types of skis that are suitable for this trip.

Alpine touring skis with hard-shelled ski touring boots. These are essentially downhill skis with a special touring binding that allows you to walk uphill, and then lock your heel in place for downhill turns.

Backcountry telemark skis with a sturdy (either leather or hard-shelled) boot. If you have not telemarked before but are an intermediate-level downhill skier, then the alpine touring skis would be best for you.

With either type of ski you require climbing skins that will allow you to walk up hill – ski grip wax will not work in this type of terrain. If you require rental equipment (skis, boots, skins), Mountain Ascents Canada will help arrange this in Canmore.

Gear Rental Shops

Click here for link to recommended gear rental shop in the Canmore area.

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For more information or to register: click here

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