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Ski Conditions

Ski Conditions

I guided six guests across the Wapta from Bow Hut and out Sherbrooke Lake April 3-6.

Bow Lake was frozen with no water on our crossing April 3rd. Skied over several small piles of avalanche debris in the "Canyon".

We crossed the St Nic/Olive Col on the 4th and the Vulture glacier skied fast and efficiently on chaulky snow ribboned with sun glazed crusts. The wind and snow came in from the west on our afternoon trip from Balfour Hut to ski the Diableret Glacier. Moderate to strong westerly winds howled through the night and moved most of the new snow to leeward slopes.

April 5th, windy, white and a slowish wander up the low access to the Nunatack slope/Hourglass and, eventually, Balfour High Col. We skied from the high col on a compass bearing with rope and skins on. The icefields have been wind hammered and presented a series of sastrugi, drifts and blueish icey crusts. After about 1 kilometre we could see some and got rid of the rope and skins and skied broadside to the wind to the Scott Duncan Hut. Constant moderate to strong winds through the night.

April 6th more whiteout and more wind, we faced into it skiing towards Mt Niles. We descended into the gut with wind deposited snow underski and fields of blueish sun crusts on all windward aspects. The Shiesser/Lomas was gained from the gut immediately below the East Face, and true summit, of Mt Niles (read not that far down). I was happy to find less than 25 cms of wind deposited snow that soon gave way to the crust on the steeper part of the climb, not much worry of windslab because the wind had spread the new snow thin as marmite on toast. Variable skiing on drifts and crusts to treeline and then some nice dust on crust to Sherbrooke Lake. The lake skied well with no water and a couple cms of spongy snow on, you guessed it, crust. The lower cat track to Wapta Lake (Great Divide Lodge) has lots of pine needles and boughs and several trees down. Only moist-to-ground snow I saw was there if you stepped off of the track.

Happy trails,

Barry Blanchard
Mountain Guide
Yamnuska Mountain Adventures

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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.