Wapta Icefields area
Excellent skiing and fast travel conditions today on a tour up the Ferris Glacier to Little Crowfoot in Banff. 10-15cm of recent soft snow sits over a supportive base with no significant wind effect observed today other than at ridge crests. A couple of wind triggered sluffs out of extreme terrain on Vulture Peak were observed, but no other new avalanches were seen.
The recent avalanche cycle was very impressive and the attached photos show the extend of the debris from an avalanche off the Vulture Peak headwall above the Bow Hut approach on March 22, and another avalanche that hit the approach trail where it first enters the trees after leaving Bow Lake.
Under the current cooler conditions, travel up to the Bow Hut is in good shape and with good route choices and appropriate avalanche precautions, access to the good skiing on the glaciers can be well managed. The avalanche slopes above the trail just before entering the canyon have not slid, but these slopes can be avoided in the trees below. Only a bit of natural activity has occurred above the canyon itself and we spread out and moved quickly through this area. Skiing the higher line above the canyon is not recommended. The access slopes just below Bow Hut have not slid but have seen a lot of skier traffic. It is probably still prudent to move through this area one at a time since surprises have been the theme of the recent weeks.
Conrad Janzen and Aaron Beardmore
ACMG Mountain Guides
Parks Canada Visitor Safety
Banff, Yoho & Kootenay National Parks