Wapta Traverse: Baker, Olive, Balfour; 14-16 March

Skiing and mountain literature, photos, and innovative media

Wapta Traverse: Baker, Olive, Balfour; 14-16 March

Postby skykilo » Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:49 pm

A whole week with no work!

It's Friday. Cecile is going to arrive on a flight from France via Amsterdam this evening. I demand good weather for a week. And I don't want to see a lot of trees.

I send an email to Jason after seeing a forecast like this. This time, Jason is with the program. (The screenshot was actually taken from the Golden library on Saturday.)

We find a hotel in Banff for Saturday night. Finally, we get a leisurely start from Bow Lake shortly after noon on Sunday. We encounter a neverending procession of people who have bailed from the Wapta Traverse. We also see Erica, the nice guide from Banff whom we met at the Mosquito Creek Hostel in January. There are signs of natural avalanches everywhere, but we plan to take the traverse one step at a time and hope for the best.

Below the Bow Hut, Cecile looks excited.
Image

We arrive at the Bow Hut about 4 pm. We make some soup, play some cards, and enjoy the shelter. The sun is still plenty high two hours later. This is a bit too easy. Let's go to the Payto Hut! Jason, let's take advantage of the evening light.

Cecile and Jason above the Bow Hut
Image

Unexpectedly, there are just as many people at the Peyto Hut as there were at the Bow Hut. NOM DE DIEU, we tried to call the ACC, but there was no answer. No, we do not have a reservation.

Six skiers ski the Peyto Glacier toward Peyto Lake. Above them is Mt Baker, our first summit on the Wapta Traverse.
Image

Cecile and Jason follow me up the Peyto Glacier toward Mt Baker.
Image

Cecile and Jason follow my dangerous tracks below an icefall.
Image

Another scenic touring shot en route to Baker.
Image

We are able to ski along the summit ridge, except for one small step to the true summit. I scramble, brace myself atop the crux, and lower a rope for Jason. It's a nice finish to a long tour.

Jason scrambles for the summit of Baker.
Image

Jason on the summit of Baker
Image

The clouds engulf us during the descent. We traverse past Mt Rhonda in a whiteout. Finally, the clouds open and we can see the way.

Cecile leads the way toward Mt Olive. The true summit of Mt Olive is on the right and appears shorter than the false summit. Jason and I are going to ski the lovely face.
Image

Jason walks the last bit of the ridge to the true summit of Mt Olive. Baker is above the clouds in the distant background. Much pain and suffering occurred before this magic moment.
Image

Skiing the Continental Divide north of 50.
Image

How's the snow?
Image

The snow is great! Jason has much better photos. He's kindly letting me use a few unedited "rejects".
Image

Cecile is happy to have foregone Olive.
Image

Now, another day, the crux, the much-ballyhooed Balfour.
Image

Cecile still looks stoked, even with a threatening crevasse behind her.
Image

Little woman, big ice, Balfour balderdash!
Image

After sliding through the "death zone" on Balfour, we glide toward the col.
Image

Not happy to have narrowly escaped death en route to Balfour Pass, I want the summit!

Jason climbs the summit ridge of Balfour.
Image

Skiing Balfour, Lake Louise Lovelies loom.
Image

Jason, skinless, determined to reach the col between Niles and Daly, Scott Duncan be damned.
Image

The Sherbrook Lake exit is easy. Niles Creek does not seem like a good place to be in sketch avalanche conditions if you're worried about hangfire.
Image

Blissfully ignorant, the trail delivers us to West Lake Louise Lodge. Alberta burgers for all just before the kitchen closes!

After a good night's sleep and a leisurely breakfast, I hit the highway. It takes 48 vehicles for a nice man with a sweet dog to give me a ride to Lake Louise. It only takes 4 vehicles for a kind delivery driver to take me to Bow Lake. It's a 48 km drive through the snow to rejoin Cecile and Jason at West Lake Louise Lodge. I find them in the rec room, where I administer a severe table tennis ass-whooping to Jason.

Another night at the lodge and tomorrow we should be ready for more action... VIVE LES VACANCES!
User avatar
skykilo
olikyks
 
from Santa Fe

Re: Wapta Traverse: Baker, Olive, Balfour; 14-16 March

Postby Diamond Dachshund » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:45 am

Holy incredible. Balfour looks cool. I bet cecile is stoked to get out there. Strong work. Sick fotoz.
User avatar
Diamond Dachshund
 
from The Future

Re: Wapta Traverse: Baker, Olive, Balfour; 14-16 March

Postby ziff » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:35 am

I was wondering where you had gone. nice work.
ziff
 

Re: Wapta Traverse: Baker, Olive, Balfour; 14-16 March

Postby klar » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:05 am

pretty places! appears to be quite the treck.
klar
 


Return to Trip Reports

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron