My adventure on the Little Yoho Traverse didn’t begin as I slid into my harness and clipped myself onto the three-person rope team. It began weeks earlier, in a Calgary city park. Spring hung in the air and I couldn’t help but feel a touch silly as I practiced crevasse rescue on the grass, while people went jogging past. I’d dreamt of the Wapta traverse for nearly a decade. I’d twice booked the alpine club of Canada huts required for the trip, but poor snow stability and illness led to last-minute cancelations. I was determined to make the third attempt successful, so I continued practicing my drop loop and z-pully techniques beneath the warm spring sun.
Kate Ryan, a Parks Canada avalanche technician in Rogers Pass, pitched me the idea of a spring traverse and we immediately settled on the Bow to Yoho, which is a longer variation of the traditional Wapta Traverse. James Walter, a sunshine village ski patroller and ACMG guide hopeful, rounded out our three-person rope team.
With our group dialled, we booked the huts and waited for the April dates to arrive. Unsettled spring weather, producing endless convective storms, threatened to derail the trip. While looking for alternative options, James made our decision easy.
“I think we should just stick to the program” he said, ” and turn around if the weather forces us to.”
We quit looking at our options and committed to the trip. I downloaded the gpx files, bought the map and began packing the night before departure.
Skiing the Little Yoho Traverse, In Pictures
Bow Lake to Bow Hut + Mt Olive North
On day one, we skied from Bow Lake to the Bow Hut, unloaded our overnight gear, and headed out onto the Wapta Icefield to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather. In the afternoon, we summited Mt Olive North, skied the col, and climbed back over the St Nicholas – Mt Olive col for a last descent to the Bow hut.
Bow Hut to Louise and Richard Guy Hut
Louise and Richard Guy Hut to Stanley Mitchell Hut
Stanley Mitchell Hut to Field, BC, via the Takakkaw Falls Road
Little Yoho Traverse Packing list
I was pretty jealous that James managed to carry everything in a 45L pack, but I opted for a 60L Gregory Triconi backpack. Here’s a look at what I carried with me.
Skis, poles, boots, skins, ski crampons, skin wax, ice axe, avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe, mountaineering helmet, harness, crevasse rescue equipment, googles, sunglasses
Eddie Bauer Gear:
First Ascent Beanie | Guide Gloves | Neoteric Shell | Alpine Guide Softshell Pants | MicroTherm Stormdown Hooded Jacket | Uplift Windshell
Midlayer merino wool sweater | Baselayers X 2 | Ski Socks X 2 | Underwear X 2 | Hut Booties
Sony a7rii mirrorless camera |16-35mm f/4 Ziess lens | 70-200mm f/4 G lens | 8 batteries | 4 32 gb memory cards
Sleeping bag, GPS | headlamp | leatherman wave | water bottle | chapstick | food for 3.5 days