Wapta Traverse: Peyto to Scott Duncan

The famous North to South version of the Wapta traverse is a hut-to-hut, multi-day backcountry skiing or splitboarding adventure, that traverses the glaciers of the Wapta Icefield. Starting at Peyto Lake and finishing at Wapta Lake. Your efforts will be rewarded with spectacular views, great powder skiing. For those who want a little more, try some ski mountaineering on some of the numerous mountain peaks (elevations ranging up to 3300m 10800 ft) along the way.

PeakSTRATAGEMs Wapta Traverse Trip Pricing includes: ACMG guides, hut fees, backcountry access fees, specialized glacier travel equipment (harness, ropes, crampons, etc.) and all meals.

Prerequisites: Strong intermediate skier in good physical condition.

Price: $1,450 based on a group size of 4-8  Contact us for details of our small group or private trips

Dates Available: Scheduled public trips will be listed shortly.  Contact us to arrange custom dates

Sample Itinerary: Contact us to create a custom itinerary

Day 1: Approach to Peyto Hut

The drive to the trailhead starts takes us along the beautiful Icefields Parkway  to Peyto Lake. We then traverse across the ice of Peyto Lake before a simple creek crossing and a steep ascent to the moraine ridge. Here we get are first taste of skiing on the decent from the moraine to the toe of the Peyto Glacier. Donning our harness  for the first time on the trip we start the climb to the bright and comfortable Peyto Hut at 8400 ft or 2560 m.

10 km or 6.2 mi distance, 670 m or 2200 ft ascent, 7 – 8 hours travel time.

Day 2: Traverse  From Peyto Hut to Bow Hut

The day starts with a short decent from Peyto hut onto the Wapta Icefield. While the traverse to Bow Hut can be short and simple a plethora of easily accessible mountain peaks lie in the Peyto – Bow area, the most popular being Mount Ronda and Mount Habel. Energy levels, weather and avalanche conditions will determine which peaks are ascended on route.

Minimum distance 6 km or 3.2 mi, 150 m or 500 ft vertical distance, 300 m or 1000 ft descent. For those who want more, optional ascents of Ronda and Habel take the distance travelled up to 12 km or 7.5 mi horizontal distance, 1200 m or 4000 ft ascent, 1460m or 4800 ft), usually 6 – 7 hours travel time.

Day 3: Traverse to Balfour Hut: Bow Hut – Mt. Gordon – Mt. Olive – Balfour Hut

The direct route to the Balfour Hut traverses the col between Mount Olive and Mount St Nicolas before contouring around Mount Olive and dropping down towards Balfour hut.

When conditions allow, ascents of Mt. Gordon (3200 m, 10505 ft), Mount St Nicolas and Mount Olive are possible, offering a ski descents and stunning views much of the Wapta Icefield and beyond. On stable days an alternative route to the Balfour Hut is via the steep couloir of Vulture Col which leads directly to the Balfour Hut.

There is the option to ski the beautiful Diablerets Glacier: a north facing slope often preserving excellent powder well into May.

Expect anything from 7 km or 4.3 mi horizontal distance, 580 m or 1900 ft ascent, 430 m or 1400 ft descent,  4hrs to  15 km or 9.4 mi horizontal distance, 1100 m or 3600 ft ascent and 1000 m or 3280 ft descent.

Day 4: Crux Day: Balfour Hut – Balfour High Col – Mt. Balfour – Scott Duncan Hut

A steep ascent passing below the spectacular icefall of north face of Mt. Balfour makes for the crux of the trip. Challenging navigation to Balfor high col is threatened on one side by seracs and is heavily crevassed. Let our experiences ACMG guides guide you through this exciting journey. From Blafour high col a mellow descent leads us to the Scott Duncan Hut, pearched on the side of Mount Daly at (2710 m or 8900 ft), the highest, smallest and most rustic of the Wapta Huts.

14 km or 8.75 mi, 1030 m or 3380 ft ascent.

Day 5:  Niles Col – Sherbrook Lake – Kicking Horse Pass on the Transcanada Highway

From Scott Duncan we traverse to the Niles Saddle where a long, adventurous descent leads us to Sherbrook Lake. After crossing the frozen lake, we connect with the hiking trail on the southern end. A narrow and windy forest trail eventually spits us back out into civilization at Great Divide Lodge.


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