Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wapta Traverse, Part 2

Ok, so I have been a slacker with part 2, but that is because I got to the coast of BC and the weather went splitter for 36 hours...so I rallied a crew and we punched the Garibaldi Neve Traverse in a day. Oh well, like any good mountain person, responsibilities get thrown out the window for fun. But here is part two, with another post to come about the Neve Traverse!

The next day dawned cold with an arctic haze. When it gets to be below zero farenheit, any moisture in the air tends to freeze pretty quickly, and today was no exception. With a low of around -30 celsius there was no rush on getting out the door. At those temps your skins and ski wax don't really work that well.

We spent the morning brushing up on the essential skills for the terrain we were travelling in. Avalanche and crevasse rescue in and near the Peyto Hut was definitely in order. Everyone needs to review their rope systems and knots from time to time, and there was no better excuse to wait for it to warm up then practicing essential skills!

Knot Practice at Peyto Hut

Finally, around midday we mustered up the courage to brave the cold and headed for a day trip up the north summit of Mt. Rhondda. Sitting across the glacier from the hut, it is an easy day trip, with about 2,000' of elevation gain up glaciers all the way to the summit ridge. The cool thing about the summit ridge is that it is the continental divide, at roughly 10,500', as well as the border of BC and Alberta, and on a good day the views are amazing.

Up and Down Mount Rhondda

We retreated back to the warmth of the hut, and got ready for the 8km traverse over to the Bow Hut for the next 2 days. This is a pretty simple leg that takes you up about 600 vertical feet to the broad col between 2 summits and then down the Bow Glacier to the Bow Hut. You spend virtually your entire time on the glacier, just getting off to basically go to the hut. The nice thing about the Bow Hut is that it is fairly popular (meaning social) and stocked with fire wood, so you actually have quite the warm and cozy atmosphere there.

Skiing down to the Bow Hut

We settled in for 2 nights, with the plan for the next day being a day trip to the summits of Mt. Gordon and possibly St. Nicolas. Things were starting to warm up, and overnight the temps only dipped down to the mid -20s celsius. Inspired by our new found warmth we got ready for a great day of ski mountaineering...

Part 3 on Monday!

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