I was lucky enough to spend the last four days on the Wapta Icefields with 5 great folks from Canada, Germany, Switzerland and the US. The deep freeze of the previous week was replaced, as we headed to Bow Hut, by the wind and snow that was to stay with us almost to the end of our trip. Our objective was the Wapta Traverse Hut to Hut Ski Tour and we were able to achieve the 1st pass crossing over to Balfour Hut last Friday. Continuous snowfall and winds loaded the slopes above the route to the Balfour High Col, the crux section of the traverse, making the route too dangerous for us too consider this time. Instead we headed to the safer slopes of the nearby Diableret Glacier to enjoy 3 runs of pristine powder. The adjacent cliffs of Mt. Balfour allowed us sufficient definition to make the skiing quite enjoyable. Yesterday, March 15th, we headed back up the Vulture Glacier through up to 90cm of new snow. On the St. Nicholas – Olive Col the clouds opened just enough to allow a splendid view to the north west and we were able to appreciate just how much snow had fallen. We then had a great run in deep snow down to Bow Hut before heading back to the highway. The snow cover is starting to increase back to more normal levels and more snow is forecast this week.
We didn’t complete the Traverse this time but that’s the reality of mountain ventures where powers greater than ours dictate events. Despite not achieving our primary objective we had a great time with lots of adventure, laughs and great skiing!
David Begg, March 16, 2009