Saturday, 13 April 2013

A look at the last 4 weeks - Part 2: No time for rest - The Bow-Yoho Traverse!

On the way into the Bow Hut
Part 2: No time for rest!

The day after the races Igor, Bob and I were off to spend 3 days skiing the Bow-Yoho traverse. After dropping a car at Emerald Lake we continued on to Num-ti-jah lodge and the start of our trip into the Bow Hut.

Just over the Whale's Back
We left the parking lot at about 3pm and dropped our packs at the Bow Hut 1 hour and 45 minutes later. After a snack, we headed out for a quick ski on the headwall above the hut. It wasn't as nice as we'd hoped and ended up being in flat light on breakable wind slab. Not the best ski quality, but fun nonetheless. We had a quick dinner and tucked ourselves into bed for the big day ahead.

A nice cold day. I'm wearing all the clothing I have with me.
The weather report was only calling for one day of relatively clear weather and this was the day we planed to make the 20km dash over the glaciers of the Wapta Icefield to the Stanley Mitchell hut. The early start and cold weather had us wearing every item of clothing we had with us as we climbed up onto the ice of the Wapta. Because we had limited time for planning, we had no beta about the coverage on the glacier at one of the cruxes of the route. Rather than taking our chances and possibly eating up valuable time navigating through thinly bridged crevasses, we opted for a route variation that would take us over a moraine called the Whale's Back.

After climbing a few steep slopes and emerging into the sun, we stopped at the location of a proposed new ACC hut for a snack. From here we could see that our detour was unnecessary, but I guess I will just have to go back another time if I want to complete the missing part of this classic traverse.

Up to Isolated col
We still had lots of ground to cover to make it to the Stanley Mitchell Hut, including climbing the steep slopes to Isolated Col and descending the south face on the other side of the col into the Little Yoho Valley. By the time we made it up Isolated col it was getting warm, and we all had the south aspect on the other side of the col in the back of our minds. In the end it was not too soft and ended up being one of the best ski runs of the trip.

Six hours after leaving the Bow Hut, we arrived at the Stanley Mitchell Hut - which we had to ourselves for the night!
Some R&R at the Stanley Mitchell Hut
As forecasted, the weather the next day took a turn for the worse. This forced us to abandon our plans of skiing out to Field over the tops of the President and Vice President. We didn't want to ski out on the Yoho Valley Road as it is 23 kms long and involves 13 kms of travel on a snow covered road.  Instead we skied out the Skyline trail. This turned out to be a great exit. Staying high above the valley gave us amazing views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers between bouts of whiteout. It was capped off with a steep run down to Emerald Lake from high above Yoho pass.

I was happy to be back at the car, but my Rockies road trip wasn't over yet!

Next up: Part 3 - Redemption!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the write up Brad. Sounds like you guys made record times for each section of the traverse. I just completed it coming out via Iceline trail which sounds like you did as well. My Bow-Yoho Trip report is here if you are interested