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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 01:18 PM
High on the Mountain Top
vern.dewit's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Posts: 1,166

quote:Originally posted by CHWKHIKER

Has anyone done the Wapta Traverse unguided? Is route finding an issue?
Is this trip possible during the Christmas Holidays or is it best left to spring?
I'm really interested in doing this trip, I just don't want to spend two grand on a guided trip...thoughts...opinions...?
Agree with everything everyone's said so far. I've been on the Wapta numerous times (usually after January to allow the snow cover to build) and am in the Bow Hut next Friday night so I can report conditions but this will be too late for you. We booked 6 hut spots for the 21st late last week but that may be your biggest challenge, no matter when you're going!

If you're planning to do this trip with people who haven't even day tripped the Wapta in variable conditions from various approaches here are the areas of most navigation problems (assuming no tracks because it's pretty dumb to assume you're going to have them - I've seen the tracks of the guy 30 feet in front of me disappear before I get to them!!);
  • Peyto Glacier - finding a route over the moraine is tricky for first-timers and downright dangerous if you get in the alternate drainage in almost any avy conditions. This is true even if the weather is clear and sunny
  • Finding Peyto Hut without going over (or into!) the crevasse field guarding it's north flank - don't cut climber's left too fast after getting up the headwall!
  • Finding the Bow Hut with whiteout conditions
  • Getting up the St. Nick / Olive col in a whiteout
  • Finding Balfour Hut (hey - it's pretty small in a whiteout!!
  • Getting up to the Balfour High Col - in clear or whiteout conditions it can be tricky deciding whether to brave avy hazard off the east face or crevasse hazard.
  • Getting to the Scott Duncan Hut in a whiteout could be tricky.

Not trying to sound ominous but there's a reason it's a 2k guided trip - those of us who are lucky to live close by have spent well over 2k in gasoline and hut fees over the years to learn the routes!
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