Ski Conditions

Ski Conditions

Just finished a Wapta Traverse with the ACC and fellow guide Doug Latimer.

The approach from the Peyto Parking Lot is very firm in the trees if there has been an overnight freeze and we chose to walk sections of the descent to the Lake. This area, Peyto Lake and alluvial fan and the moraine are losing snow quickly with the warm days. Travel up the moraine was similar, requiring several longer sections of walking.

Coverage on the glaciers was decent, with an average of 2m over the whole traverse and 2.5m or more at higher elevations, especially at the Balfour High col. There were many places where I have seen sags or crevasses in the past that weren't visible this time around.

March 26 there was a storm that brought light to moderate winds and on average 10cm of new snow, which was unreactive to ski traffic in low angle terrain, or on aspects where it fell on top of cold snow. Where it fell on top of crusts (especially where steep) it was shedding with solar input later in the week. The skiing on the Diableret glacier was pretty darn good all things considered. This new snow also slowed down the sliding down the Vulture and Daly glaciers

The Balfour High Col was easily accessed along the moraines and the lower glacier ramp. The route beside the nunatak was easy travel until the upper crevasses at the crux. Here it looked like you could cross close to the nunatak, but it would require very careful route placement and diligent rope management. We chose to swing far right near the headwall to cross where the prominent crevasse could be passed with one sweeping low angle uptrack. This increases the exposure from above, but greatly simplifies the travel. We did see several recent icefall events (one that crossed an old uptrack tight to the headwall) as we were ascending.

The approach to the Scott Duncan hut is quite exposed right now. The usual steep, windloaded pillow above the slope that accesses the hut is there but the usual lower route with a lower angle bench isn't there currently. Instead it is a steeper, firm windlaoded surface with exposure from below as you turn the corner thru the exposed rocks. In poorer stability this could be very problematic.

We exited out Sherbrooke Lake down thru the trees, and all of the snow in this area is some form of melt-freeze crust, ranging from breakable to boiler plate. The freeze was still holding as we exited the lake (10am) and into the lower exit route, which was an icy death luge with several tricky spots due to low snowpack conditions. With an isothermal snowpack this area would be heinous slogging.

On The Map

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.