Welcome!

Hi everyone. Welcome to our Wapta Traverse trip! 

Please read the following information carefully. It should answer most of the questions you may have. There is a gear list at the end. If you have any questions the best way to get hold of me is by email.

If you get nothing else from this information package, please do the following:

  • Click on this link to fill out the Guest Information Form – do it right now and I won’t have to hassle you about it again!

  • Read and understand the guide waiver carefully ahead of time. You don’t need to sign the waiver now, you will do that once you arrive for the trip.

  • Have a look at the gear list and make sure you are able to bring everything on the list.

  • Let me know if you need me to provide any equipment for you.

Important dates and times – all times are Mountain Time

April 13, 7.30 am – We meet at the Lake Louise Alpine Centre (hostel) to have a look through your gear and sign the waivers. Google Maps location is here. We should try to be heading out of town by about 8.30. We will be on the trail by mid-morning for the ski to the Whyte (Peyto) Hut.

April 14 – We will spend the day around the Whyte Hut. We can either work on skills (EG crevasse rescue) or ski up one of the nearby peaks. 

April 15 - From the Whyte Hut we travel across the Wapta Icefield, over the Olive-St Nicholas Col, to the Balfour Hut. There is a possibility of an ascent of Mt Olive if time and weather permits.

April 16 - This is the crux day, where we traverse the Balfour High Col to the Scott Duncan Hut. There is also a possibility of a peak ascent this day.

April 17 - On the last day we ski over the Niles-Daly Col and then down the Sherbrooke Valley to the Trans-Canada Highway at the Great Divide Lodge.

Trip Information

The Wapta Traverse travels across various icefields, glaciers and cols to link Peyto Lake with the Kicking Horse Pass. Each day involves 300-700 m elevation gains and 6-15 km horizontal travel. The huts are comfortable but basic. They have all the cooking equipment that will be required and mattresses but we need to bring our own food and sleeping bags. 

If you are interested in doing some research about the trip beforehand you can order a map of the Wapta Icefield here. Or you can buy Chic Scott's and my ski touring guidebook of the area here.

Delays

Although very unusual on this trip, there is always the chance that conditions will force us to spend an extra day out. We should be prepared for this - I will bring a bit of extra food.

Logistics

We will need to do a car shuttle and we can organize this by email a few days before the trip starts.

Check the gear list for what you need to bring. I supply the group gear for glacier travel (ropes) and food. We will share cooking and cleaning duties. 

Safety

Safety is our number one priority, from the time we start to the moment we all head our separate ways at the end of the trip. There are a variety of ways you can help me make this a safe trip:

  • Listen to the guides’ instructions and if you are uncertain of what is expected of you please ask!

  • Take an avalanche course with me! Click here.

  • Take the online avalanche course at the Avalanche Canada website. Click here.

  • Practice with your avalanche beacon prior to the trip – at the very least understand all of its functions and how to use them.

  • Bring hand sanitizer along and use it often – this will help keep any bugs we bring into the huts at bay!

RISK

It is important to understand that no matter how well prepared we are there is still an element of risk to backcountry skiing. To lower that risk, do the prep work I’ve outlined in the safety section.

You will all need to sign a waiver that will make you well aware of that risk. Please have a look at the waiver at the link above so you understand what the risks are and what you will be signing when you get here.

MEDICAL ISSUES

If any of you have allergies or medical conditions I need to know about, please let me know as soon as possible by filling out the guest information form

MOUNTAIN RESCUE

In nearly thirty years of guiding I have only had three evacuations from the field for minor injuries or illness. 

There is a professional mountain rescue team on call in Banff National Park. If you have national park permits for your vehicles you will not be charged if you require a rescue or an evacuation.

Communications

I have a radio that can be used to contact rescue crews in an emergency only.

I will also be carrying a SPOT device, which links to satellites and sends a simple message showing that all is “OK”. This message and a link to Google Maps showing our location are posted to my Facebook page at facebook.com/alpinism. Your friends and family can keep track of us there; you can access that Facebook page without having an account or password. There is also an SOS function where we can call for help on the SPOT device.

The Bottom Line

  • Click on this link to fill out the Guest Information Form – do it right now and I won’t have to hassle you about it again!

  • Read and understand the guide waiver carefully ahead of time. You don’t need to sign the waiver now, you will do that once you arrive for the trip.

  • Have a look at the gear list and make sure you are able to bring everything on the list.

  • Let me know if you need me to provide any equipment for you.

Questions?

If you have any questions let me know!

Gear List