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Peyto-Bow Huts Ski Traverse

The plan for this trip is to ski the Peyto to Bow hut traverse on the Wapta Icefield over 2 days, summit 1 peak if the weather allows, and do a crevasse rescue practice if time allows.

I have a booking for 6 people at the Bow Hut on Sunday night Feb 17, 2013. A trip option A, B, or C (or a variation of these) will be picked closer to the trip departure based primarily on the weather forecast, and secondly on participants' preference.

Option A (good or fair conditions):

Day 1: ski up to Peyto hut from Hwy 93 (distance: 10 km, elevation gain: 600 m), traverse over the Wapta icefield to Bow hut (distance: 7 km, elevation gain: 200 m), crevasse rescue practice if time allows. This could be a demanding day, though not technically difficult. Expect 8 to 11 hours to cover the 16-17 km distance.

Day 2: early morning ascent of nearby Mount St. Nicholas, Mt Olive further away, or remote Mount Gordon (12-km return trip, elevation gain from Bow hut: 800 m). Ski out to Bow Lake (distance: 8 km elevation lost: 400 m).


Day 2: optional early morning ascent if conditions are good or crevasse rescue practice. Ski out to Bow Lake.

Option B (poor conditions):

Day 1: ski up to Bow hut from Hwy 93 (distance: 8 km, elevation gain: 400 m); crevasse rescue practice or if conditions allow ski towards the high col in the Bow-Peyto traverse or ascent of Mount St. Nicholas.

Day 2: optional early morning ascent if conditions allow or crevasse rescue practice in the morning, then ski out to Bow Lake.

This trip is somewhat flexible due to the uncertainty about the weather forecast and participants level of experience.

The trip involves travel over glaciated terrain. Participants need to possess basic skills and proper equipment for glacier travel and crevasse rescue, be able to handle the distances and elevation gains stated above, and be comfortable on skis while carrying a heavy backpack. That said, the trip may be suitable for people with limited experience on glaciers or alpine ski tours, provided they have a good fitness level.

We may need to navigate in whiteout conditions on or towards the Wapta icefield. We will make sure we have 2 GPS with loaded maps and tracks of the ski traverse and summits ascent routes. We will bring 2 ropes on this trip, a 60 or 70 m long one, and a 30 or 40 m long one. I have a 60 m, 10,5 mm rope convenient for glacier travel, but slightly on the heavy side. Please let me know if you have a suitable rope you are willing to bring along.

The driving distance from Calgary to Bow Lake/Summit (approximately where we start the ski tour) is about 225 km, and takes 3 hours when a quick stop in Lake Louise is included. Since I would like to start skiing around 8:00 AM, this would mean leaving Calgary by 4:30AM, with most of us getting up around 3:00 AM. As an option to circumvent a short night of sleep, and a long drive followed by a long ski tour, I have booked the HI Castle Mountain Wilderness hostel on the Saturday night for 6 people, which brings us just 65 km away from the Bow Lake area. The cost to stay at the HI Castle Mountain is $25. (The LL HI Alpine Center hostel and Mosquito Creek hostel are already fully booked unfortunately.) Participants will still have the possibility to leave Calgary early on Sunday morning, provided they arrange their transportation to Bow Lake.

If you are interested please join the waiting list for now. Once you are on the waiting list, I will contact you personally. CSMC members in good standing (dues paid for 2013) will be moved to the attendees list once they have confirmed their suitability for this trip, AND paid directly to me the $25 fee to stay at the Bow Hut, and the optional $25 fee to stay at HI Castle Mountain Wilderness hostel.

Items to bring

Personal items (weather conditions can quickly change - be prepared for cold and extremely cold weather):
National Park Wilderness Pass to stay overnight in the backcountry (Sunday, Feb 17);

* Down jacket, Gortex jacket or equivalent, synthetic extra layers;

* Winter/snow pants;

* Toque, balaclava;

* Glove liners, gloves and mitts (a total of 3 pairs at least);
* Sunglasses and sunscreen;
* Expedition type backpack (around 60 liters; large enough for your personal gear and some of the group gear).
* Toiletries;
* Small first aid kit;
* Medications, if any
* Head lamp with extra batteries;
* Food and snacks for 2 days;
* Container(s) for 2 liters of water (e.g. a 1-liter thermos bottle and a regular 1-liter bottle)

* Winter sleeping bag (the Bow Hut has foamies);

* Camera

Mountain/Glacier Gear:
* Skis (telemark or alpine touring), ski boots and poles;

* Harness;
* Helmet;

* Avalanche beacon, shovel and probe
* Mountaineering axe (for summit ascents);
* Ice screw (minimum 1 screw; length: 16 to 20 cm);
* 4 locking carabiners (minimum);
* 2 non-locking carabiners
* ATC Belay device;

* Pulley or locking carabiner with pulley included;

* Set of prussic cords (6mm):

5-meter long prussik, 3-meter long prussik, 1-meter long prussik;

* GPS with maps and routes loaded (and extra batteries): optional but recommended

Group Items:

National Park Pass for vehicles

Rope (a 60-m or 40-m 9 mm rope) if you have one:

For further infos, trip reports and reading material, see:

Bow Hut info: (plus PDF file found on that same page). the Bow hut overnight accommodation fee for CSMC members is $25.

Bow-Peyto Traverse Map:

Also refer to Chic Scott’s excellent book “Summits & icefields 1 - Alpine Ski Tours in the Canadian Rockies” for further details on the approach to Peyto hut.

Contact me if you have any questions.


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    February 19, 2013

  • Joad C.

    Great trip with an enthusiast party! The fresh snow helped positively our approach to the Peyto glacier and saved us lots of bootpacking. It was a long day to reach Bow hut, a total of 11 hours that included a 1 h 30 min detour to Peyto hut and pitstop there. Our whiteout navigations skills put to the test on Sunday, but we had a blue sky day on Monday, with gorgeous views from Mount Gordon that we summitted in the morning.

    February 19, 2013

  • Erich

    Hello everybody.
    I had to book a flight to the US for Monday the 18th and therefore will not be able to attent the traverse.
    You guys have fun and play it save.

    February 7, 2013

4 went

Your organizer's refund policy for Peyto-Bow Huts Ski Traverse

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

Membership dues

CAD25.00 Before first outing

This covers: Club gear, subsidize training costs, Event Organizer incentives.

Payment is accepted using:

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Your organizer will refund you if:

  • Refunds will be offered at the discretion of the CSMC Executive and on a case by case basis.

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