Catching Fresh Pow in the Wapta Traverse
MSAA
Banff / Canmore

Wapta Extreme

Wapta Extreme Skiing Adventures Backcountry

Summary

  • Cost:
  • Adult $1595.00

Location: Rocky Mountains   Duration: 7 Days   Fitness: Good   Ability: Intermediate   Prerequisites: AST 1 - Crevasse Rescue an asset  

This is the ultimate Wapta traverse where you will maximize your downhill skiing. If you would like to do the Wapta Traverse with as much downhill powder skiing and ski mountaineering as possible, then the Wapta Extreme is the trip for you.

 

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Adventure Information

The Wapta Extreme

All Inclusive Trip! Guiding, huts, food & portering all included.

If you would like to do the Wapta Traverse with as much downhill powder skiing and ski mountaineering as possible, then the Wapta Extreme is the trip for you.

The goals are big lines, lots of downhill skiing, standing atop summits, and leaving the hut with a light day pack each day!

7 days of skiing big glacier lines, summiting several peaks, loads of skiing always with both steep and mellow options!

Quick Itinerary:

Day 1 & 2: Peyto Hut

Day 3: Bow Hut

Day 4 & 5: Balfour

Day 6: Scott Duncan

Day 7: Ski out Sherbrooke Lake

How do we do it?

Porters pre-stock the huts with great food and goodies that enable you to carry light packs and therefore have the time and energy to focus on skiing and summits. We stay at two huts for two days thus keeping back packs down to day pack weight and again having more time and energy to focus on skiing and summits.

Is it really Extreme? And what’s the difference between the Traditional Wapta and the Extreme?
No! The ‘Extreme’ designation is only in comparison with the traditional Wapta, which though still does have some ski mountaineering, is mainly a gentle traverse, following glaciated flats. Though the traditional Wapta is definitely still a classic, it must be understood that since participants are loaded with larger packs and stay only one night at each hut, these factors limit ones time, ability (hard to ski with a big pack) and endurance. Thus the main objective on the traditional Wapta is getting hut to hut and completing the traverse.

The Wapta Extreme on the other hand has participants leaving the huts with light packs (as porters brought in the food) and staying at certain huts for more than a day means we can literally empty the packs of anything but the usual daily touring gear. This allows us a couple of benefits: A regular day pack weight – so much more endurance and skiing capability/ability. Much more time to go exploring further afield. All of this translates to summiting peaks more easily, and just plain have the time, energy and capability to do a heck of a lot of super fun skiing. All of this while still accomplishing the full traverse!

What ability do I need?

It should be noted that this trip is suitable for both intermediate and advanced skiers, as both options exist on any ski mountaineering objective. For example if we have the conditions to ski a big steep face from the top of a peak, intermediate skiers may choose to ski off the mountain’s shoulder or even a part of the face that is less steep. We assure that our guests will always be able to ski within their comfort zone. Guests do need to be fit however but not at a super athlete level.

What should I Expect?

Even those guests who have already done the traditional Wapta will be amazed at the high quality of skiing and ski mountaineering available when one has time and a lighter pack! Skiers should have previous backcountry experience. The pace is moderate with a guide laying out an easy to follow efficient track. We sometimes boot-pack to the tip top of a summit. As mentioned there are ski lines of different difficulty and steepness available on any of the peaks we ski. This means whether you are yearning for the big steep face or happy to enjoy a super fun mellow descent and everything in between, you will be satisfied!Â

Besides the amazing scenery and excellent skiing another bonus is the group will hone their ski mountaineering skills and can participate in each day’s trip and navigation planning. The food is awesome as well and one can expect great appetizers, healthy and filling main course with dessert, snacks and warm or cold beverages.

The Goods:

Even if you have already skied the Wapta traverse – ski it like never before! Venture with us on this uniquely amazing tour, discover hidden gems and powder caches that are never even seen on the traditional Wapta.  Summit a vast array of peaks, behold the picturesque Rockies range and of course savor loads of incredible descents!

Day 1 & 2: Peyto Hut
Day 3: Bow Hut
Day 4 & 5: Balfour
Day 6: Scott Duncan
Day 7: Ski out Sherbrooke Lake

Objectives:

Peyto Hut

  • The main objectives are Trapper (2900 M) and the big peak of Mt. Baker (3100 M), two magnificent peaks that offer either excellent and long steep North faces or gentle shoulder, or off the shoulder skiing. Baker Col to Baker Glacier is also a worthy ski. Mt. Habel is yet another possibility with skiing on a fun rib overlooking a small serac. Mt. Ronda and Habel are often objectives on the way to Bow Hut. Rhonda offers a great diversity of faces, ribs and ridge skiing.

Bow Hut

  • St. Nicholas and Mt. Olive present excellent short rope scrambling to their summits. Rocky outcrops on Olive make it a fun challenge while the summit of S. Nicholas is perched above a large vertical rock face overlooking Bow Hut. Mt. Gordon is another major peak at 3100 M and offers an beautiful ridge ski or a very steep north face. It is also possible to go further afield and ski the incomparable Mt. Ayesha who’s approach rib is like none other – a highway in the sky. Mt. Collie also beckons as a longer but worthwhile objective with it gigantic North Ridge and West face. There are numerous easily accessible slopes around Bow hut as well that offer great skiing.

Balfour Hut

  • Accessed either by a very gentle glacier or via a steep couloir known as Vulture Col that descends to the Vulture glaciers and thence the hut. One of our favorite places to ski is the Diableret Glacier which holds great alpine runs and excellent wind protected North facing runs with awesome powder. The big game of this area is Mt. Balfour, king of the Wapta at an elevation of 3272M. An exciting and challenging ski ascent that navigates big terrain and amazing views. The ski run down is equally impressive.

Scott Duncan Hut

  • This is the crux of the Wapta, getting over Balfour High Col. In whiteout conditions a mastery of white out navigation is necessary as the route is complex. Stunning scenery of seracs, nunatak’s, giant crevasses and faces await. From the col it is a long ski down to flats across a massive glacier expanse. The hut sits above the glacier atop the North East ridge of Mt. Daly. Usually this is a full day’s exercise but if time allows there is good glacier skiing to be had on the Daly and Bath glaciers. As well as scrambling atop Mt. Daly above the hut. Great skiing there!

The Ski Out

  • We usually ski out Niles creek which is an early morning affair in order to take advantage of a good overnight freeze when the snowpack is “locked-in” until the warm April temps heat it up again. This is an exciting ski out in a luge run type feature. Big peaks on either side and neat otter slide in the middle. Further down one can traverse to the trees and for well spaced and steeper tree skiing to the lake. Traverse the lake and it’s a quick out of the Shebrooke lake ski track. This is where we would have left a car shuttle. We are usually out to the car by early afternoon.

Porters will be skiing food into the huts early in preparation.

General Equipment

  • Backcountry ski/snowboard boots
  • Backcountry skis/snowboard
  • Skins
  • Ski poles
  • Ski goggles
  • Ski crampons
  • Mountaineering axe
  • Light crampons
  • Avalanche Safetty Kit (transceiver, shovel, probe)
  • Harness
  • Headlamp
  • Spare batteries for beacon and headlamp
  • First Aid Kit with blister kit

Glacier Travel Kit (available for rent)

  • 3 locking carabiners
  • 4 non-locking carabiners
  • 2 x 5m 7mm prussik
  • 1 x 120cm sling
  • 1 ice screw
  • 1.5m prussik

Optional

  • Glop stopper
  • Ski scraper
  • Compass
  • Map
  • GPS

Clothing and sleeping gear

  • Warm top and bottom under layers and socks
  • Mid layer fleece top
  • Optional soft shell top
  • Weatherproof shell jacket and pants
  • Warm hat
  • Optional balaklava or neck tube
  • 2 pairs of gloves. Mittens optional
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Mid-weight (3 season) sleeping bag (you do not require a 4 season sleeping bag as the huts get quite warm at night)
  • Toilet paper
  • Matches/lighter
  • Light toileteries
  • Camera
  • Reading material
  • Medication if applicable

Note: the following group gear will be provided by the Guide

  • Rope
  • Anchor material
  • V-thread
  • Ice screws
  • Lighweight sled rescue kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Radio
  • Maps
  • GPS

Meeting Place

*The following may changed

06:00 Meet at Tim Hortons Canmore
Course intro. Equipment check. Conditions meeting and day plan
Depart for West Louise Lodge to leave a car shuttle and then continue to Peyto Lake parking.
Ski through Peyto Canyon and Peyto Glacier to Peyto Hut or up adjacent morrain depending on conditions.

Accommodation

Hut accommodation costs are inlcuded. Dormitory style accommodation at the following Alpine Club of Canada huts. Comfortable foam pads, cooking and eating amenities, eating table, chairs, lighting and outhouse.

Peyto Hut
Bow Hut
Balfour Hut
Scott Duncan Hut

Food

All meals are included. Please let us know if you have any food intolerance/allergy or preferences. The food is for the most part vacuum packed and dehydrated and meant to be nurtitious and lightweight. Three meals a day are provided on most days including appetizer and beverage.  here is also fresh food included. All garbage must be carried out.

Transport

Transport is not included and usually organized amongst the participants beforehand. Transport is available at an extra cost ($100 divided by passengers for round trip) or car-pooling with other participants can often times be arranged.

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Important Information

We strongly recommend you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance upon booking and Emergency Evacuation insurance.

Emergency Evacuation and Medical

This coverage provides you with emergency air rescue if required and full medical. Parks Canada provides free evacuation within the Parks and if you are a Canadian resident your medical will be covered by National Health.

We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance. Emergency evacuation insurance is also compulsory for all our hut trips, as these typically take place outside of Parks Canada’s jurisdiction.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

To prepare for unforeseen circumstances we strongly recommend purchasing Trip Cancellation Insurance at the time of booking your trip. Trip Cancellation insurance covers many scenarios to reimburse you for cancelled trips outside of your control.

Our recommended insurance provider is Tugo.Com who can be reached via the following:

All course prices are quoted in Canadian Dollars and are exclusive of a 5% Federal GST. Prices are subject to change.

Full payment is required at time of registration. Our preferred method of payment is by Mastercard or VISA through our online payment portal. We also accept Credit Card payment over the phone, bank transfer and cash.

Mountain Skills Academy takes mountain safety very seriously, however there is no way to completely mitigate risk in alpine environments. Prior to undertaking any of our courses or trips we require you to sign a waiver.

Mountain conditions are extremely unpredictable and can change at short notice. Our guides endeavor to undertake the routes and/or peaks that our clients desire, however our decisions will be impacted by conditions. Unfortunately we are not able to offer refunds if conditions are not suitable to undertake a particular route on the day you have booked. We will however make every effort to take you out for the best day possible given the conditions.

Applicable to all tours and courses*: If conditions force us to cancel a course or trip we will do all we can to accommodate you at another date. If this isn’t possible we will offer a full refund. We reserve the right to decline rescheduling dates based on availability. *Does not apply to First Aid and WFR courses.

Adventures Cancellation Policy

Half Day and Full Day Programs

  • Within 24 hours: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, no reschedule.
  • Outside of 24 hours: $25 rescheduling fee per booking or full refund.
Multi Day Programs
  • 2 Day Programs: Within 10 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 10 days: $25 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.
  • 3+ Day Programs: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule or full refund.
  • Customized Trips: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**On all multi day trips pre arranged add-ons are non-refundable (food, accommodation, etc).

Courses Cancellation Policy

1-2 Day Courses

  • Within 10 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 10 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

3+ Day Courses

  • Within 30 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**If you are able to find someone else to take your place on a course, please let us know as we are more than happy to transfer bookings.

Minors (under the age of 18 for our courses based in Alberta and 19 for those based in BC) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where the parents/legal guardian are not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well as must sign a waiver and have their parents or legal guardian sign a waiver. Further, we abide by the Parks Canada Custodial Group winter backcountry policy as outlined here.


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