Ski Conditions

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Wapta Traverse

Wapta Icefields

Ski Conditions

I returned yesterday from a 5 day "Reverse" Wapta Traverse South to North from the Great Divide Lodge to Peyto Lake.

Unsettled spring weather with various amounts of snowfall every day, bad visibility and only short periods of clearing skies Monday and Tuesday afternoon. The new snow accumulated to a max of 40 cm in wind protected locations and seemed to bond well to previous interfaces. Strong south-westerly winds that died down Thursday morning in combination with the low density new snow probably created wind slabs in lee features. The skiing quality was good throughout the entire trip, even skiing down Peyto Glacier yesterday afternoon after the wind event the previous day and night. The snow got moist around 2100 meters yesterday afternoon.

The main concern for us continued to be overhead hazard, namely cornices and wind slabs at ridge line. The cornices on Mt. Niles are huge and threaten the exit route when using the Schiesser / Lomas route coming out of the Scott Duncan Hut. Limiting exposure and sticking with the route recommended on Mark Klassen's Wapta Map is a good idea.

The only recent avalanche activity we observed was a size 1.5 cornice triggered below the lower part of the common ascent route (north ridge) to Mount Olive, which probably happened on Tuesday morning when the sun hit the east slope during one of the rare sunny periods.

Coverage on the glaciers was generally good. We skied down the crux between Balfour Hut and Balfour High Col in good visibility and excellent snow in the late afternoon on Tuesday. We were grateful for some well set ascending tracks that navigated around the half a dozen open crevasses and larger sags in the crevasse zone below the cliff half way up the glacier.

Coverage on the exit via Peyto Glacier is relatively good and we only had to remove our skis for 20 meters descending the moraine above Peyto Creek and for the creek crossing before hitting the lake. All in all great conditions, more reminiscent of winter than spring currently.

Jorg Wilz
Mountain Guide ACMG / VDBS / IFMGA

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.