By Conor Hurley ACMG ski guide Arctos Guides Director/Lead Guide
The Icefall Traverse is one of the only hut to hut traverses in Canada. It starts via helicopter out of Donald, BC and finishes at the Rostrum cabin or Icefall Brook with a helicopter pick up. Icefall Lodge is running this as a seven day six night trip and five nights at different huts.
The backcountry ski traverse travels through some rowdy glaciated terrain with options to ski off of some big peaks of conditions align. However if they don’t, you’ll be faced with big, glaciated alpine terrain in whiteout conditions.
I did two rounds of the Icefall Traverse this spring and the weather gods weren’t totally aligned with my traverse plans. On both occasions, elevated freezing levels, precipitation and moderate winds (Aka high avalanche hazard) kept my group from being able to move through the high col on the Lyell Peaks and descend the Wild West Glacier to the Alexandra cabin.
After the storm passed, Crampon Col was our safest option to get to Icefall lodge. It still meant putting a wallowing bootpack in 70cm of fresh storm snow up a steep slope. Careful group management was exercised and we travelled safely through the terrain.
Managing avalanche hazard on belay in Crampon Col.
A break in the weather made for nice day on the summit of Mt. Kemmel.
Ski touring through the seracs on the Diamond Glacier.
There is no shortage of glaciation on this trip. If you’re interested in a ski traverse or basecamp, Arctos Guides offers an exciting line up of trips every spring.
The Rostrum cabin on a powder day in May!