|Snowboarding and skiing: Wheeler Hut, Rogers Pass; Bow Hut, Wapta Icefields; British Columbia|
Turns All Year: Previous Home Page Galleries
|This is a gallery of Rogers Pass and Wapta Icefields snowboarding and skiing photos which appeared on the Turns All Year home page in the past. Thumbnail images on this page can be clicked to view the full-sized photos, and lead into a slide show sequence for the gallery. The photos are from backcountry snowboarding and skiing trips in British Columbia, Canada. Wheeler Hut and Bow Hut were the base for skiing and snowboarding at Rogers Pass and the Wapta Icefields, including Youngs Peak, the Seven Steps of Paradise, Little Sifton, Dome Glacier, Mount Gordon, Mount Olive, Mount Rhonda, and Mount Nicholas.|
|List Galleries < Older Browse Galleries Newer >|
|from January 10, 2005:|
Backcountry skiing and snowboarding, March and April, 2004
Wheeler Hut, Rogers Pass and Bow Hut, Wapta Icefields, British Columbia, Canada
of Youngs Peak
Ski touring up
to Little Sifton
Skiing from summit
of Little Sifton
Skiing off summit
ridge of Sifton
Skinning up the
Skinning up to the Dome,
with Sir Donald
Good skiing on the Dome
Approaching the summit
of Youngs Peak
Skiing the Seven
Steps of Paradise
with a view
Ski touring off to Mt. Rhonda
Splitboarding up summit
ridge of Mount Rhonda
Touring across the
Wapta Icefields 1
Touring across the
Wapta Icefields 2
with Mount Nicholas
to Bow Hut
Skinning up in storm
Wapta Icefield powder
skiing in April
Skiing out the canyon
Splitboarding across Bow Lake
Father and son on the
summit of Mount Olive
towards Bow Hut
Heading off to the Wapta
Traverse, with Mount Nicholas
Ascending Mount Gordon
Photos by Larry Goldie and Gregg Cronn
|Rogers Pass snowboarding and skiing trip reports:|
March 20-23, 2004, Wheeler Hut, Rogers Pass:
Arrived early Saturday for four days of ski touring out of the Wheeler Hut, Rogers Pass, British Columbia. Over the four days we skied up to Little Sifton, Dome Glacier, Youngs Peak traverse with a descent of the Seven Steps of Paradise, and a day in the mush on the Bonney. Except for Tuesday on the Bonney we found excellent ski touring conditions, boot top powder in north facing slopes, and sunny skies. Made the top of Youngs Peak in five hours from the Wheeler Hut. Perfect snow allowed for a straight drop down the Youngs Peak headwall. Four for four on my trips to Rogers Pass this year. Great skiing and wonderful companions.
April 12-16, 2004, Bow Hut, Wapta Icefields:
Headed out of town on Sunday with my 16 year-old son for another extended ski holiday in the fantastic mountains of western Canada. It felt odd to be loading the car up in Bellingham under blue skies and warm temperatures. It was tempting to blow off our plans but the promise of storms during the week and a waiting friend in Lake Louise motivated us to head off down the trans can.
The plan for this trip was to do a mini traverse of the Wapta Icefields via Bow Hut and Peyto Hut. Over the course of five days we hoped to ascend a number of peaks in the northern part of the Wapta Icefields and enjoy some backcountry skiing and snowboarding near the huts in bad weather. We were more interested in climbing than covering ground on the complete Wapta traverse. The plan was dramatically changed over the week but we made no complaints.
We (Adrian and I and my friend Marni from Canmore) skinned into the Bow Hut on Monday under blue skies and very warm temps (+13). The snow in many sections of the approach had gone isothermal. The headwall section of the route to Bow hut caused us a bit of anxiety because of the heat and the slides on some of the hillsides. After visiting with friends at the hut and having lunch, Marni and I skied up to the upper Neve to check things out and stretch out the legs. Adrian, as is his usual pattern, built a snowboarding kicker at the hut. Back at the hut after a challenging descent of freezing corn, we relaxed in the four star setting of Bow hut. Wood heat, separate sleeping area, enclosed toilets, and propane cooking and lights. The Bow hut is a stellar place to hang out after a day of backcountry skiing or snowboarding in the mountains.
The blue skies held out on Tuesday and we enjoyed great ski touring on Mt. Gordon and Mt. Olive - both 10,000 foot peaks above the neve. We climbed Mount Gordon first and enjoyed the view from the top to the south towards Mt. Balfour and Balfour hut and to the north. One of Marni's skis decided to get an early start to the descent while we were scrambling around setting up for some summit pictures. We watched speechless as the ski glided slowly away on the firm snow, eventually making a perfect line towards the headwall and the LARGE icecliff that cuts across the north face. With the ski gone, we were facing our second bit of misfortune related to the trip. Marni's friend had planned on joining us to make a foursome but she cut her hand down to the bone on a stairwell door that closed too quickly in a strong wind blast on friday. With more anxiety than hope Adrian and I descended down towards the ice cliff searching for the ski on the Neve below. Adrian spotted it first, speared perfectly into the one section of the crevasse accessable from above. With the errant ski in hand we climbed up to meet Marni comically descending on one ski. The rest of the descent was further marred by Adrian managing to knock me over. As we skinned across the neve towards Mount Olive we had a somewhat mock skier vs. snowboarder argument. On a two hundred meter wide slope he managed to run into me from behind! In true snowboarder arrogance he tried to tell me that it was my fault.
We climbed up to the steep sided, snowless summit ridge to the top of Mt. Olive via a steep snow gulley. This is a beautiful walk with views down to Vulture Col and the long descent towards Balfour Hut. Earlier in the day, on the way to Mt. Gordon, I spotted our descent route on Mount Olive. A 200 meter, fifty degree pitch on the north side with a set of perfect tracks down it. From the bottom of this slope, easier angled slopes could be ridden down towards Nickolas and a straight drop to the hut. I went first and mananged to blow the first jump turn. After a twenty foot slide I came to a stop. Adrian came down it clean with good snowboarding style. Marni ski cut the top steep bit and carved nice turns the rest of the way. It was a rush for all of us to ski this pitch and enjoy the remaining run to the hut on two inches of dry powder on crust. The setting was amazing, 9,500 foot elevation with big ice fields below.
The day was quite enjoyable with lots of variety in a beautiful setting. It almost made me forget that I had been hoping for some fresh storm snow. If you go to the Bow Hut, I would highly recommend the tour up Mount Gordon and Mount Olive. If the snow conditions are not perfect you can descend the west ridge of Mount Olive and ski down to the Olive/Nickolas col rather than the slope we chose.
Wednesday morning I got my wish. A BIG storm blew in Tuesday night with fat, moisture laden flakes that would have made a Mount Baker snowboarder feel right at home. With high winds and very little visibility, we ski toured around Nickolas using the steep sided western walls as our handrail. The plan to head to the Peyto hut was canned given the conditions. Navigating in a white out across five kilometers of glacier just didn't seem that appealing. It was a wild day, -5 temps, high winds, 50 meters of visibility and dumping like no tomorrow. The goggles stayed on all day. The snow was so heavy that I didn't really match my hopes but it was quite fun to be out in the eye of the storm. Parties attempting Mount Gordon and Mount Rhonda north bailed because of the winds. From the Olive/Nicholas col we dropped down to the warmth and friendly atmosphere of the hut. After a late lunch, we did some laps on the headwall slope above the hut. The snow had not quite filled in the fozen corn turn ruts so it was a bit challenging to get in a skiing groove.
Thurday was mountain ski touring nirvana. Minus 11 at the hut (7,700 ft.) and six inches of light pow on top of the dense snow from Wednesday. It was a brilliant day to be in the mountains on a pair of skis. The day stayed cold and blustery with frequent snow squalls to add to the depth. We climbed Mt. Rhonda north after a two kilometer approach across the Wapta Icefields. We found whoomping conditions on the lee side to the wind from the day before so we stayed next to the rock ridge on the east side all the way up. The one slope we did have to cross whoomped on me about five times. It was only a twenty degree slope but it did scare the hell out of me when the slope made the initial whoomp. We got lots of the same on the quarter mile flat summit ridge to the 10,050 summit of Mount Rhonda. Definitely not the day to be on the wind-loaded side of slopes. We skied a lovely 35 degree gulley on the south-east side of Mt. Rhonda back to the Neve. Knee deep powder at a consistent angle all the way back to the Neve put 100-watt smiles on all three faces. The two kilometer trudge back towards Nickolas was easy knowing we had the 1,000 foot headwall slope waiting for us. April 15 and it felt like mid-winter with the wind, the cold and the falling snow.
Friday was supposed to be a pack up and go day but eigth inches of light fluff had coated the Wapta Icefields overnight. It was like Wednesday, very little visibility with the snow falling heavily. Like a bunch of kids on a snow day, the hut emptied out on to the headwall slope and loudly ripped it up. The snow conditions were sick, waist deep turns with the occasional face shot. We made three laps on the slope before heading to the hut, packing up and descending back to Num-te-Ja lodge and the partially buried cars. Despite making for a longer day and a 3 am arrival back in Bellingham, there was no way we could leave without making some turns.
If you have not gone to the Wapta Icefields, I would highly recommend an April/early May trip. The ski touring is fantastic on corn days and if a storm blows in you stand a good chance to enjoy some late season powder! Flexibility is the key; three parties heading across for the full Wapta Icefield traverse ended up bailing from the Balfour hut back to the Bow hut because of the conditions. (The Balfour high col is not the place to be during a big storm).
Ok, I think I can handle some corn skiing.........Gregg