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The Alpine Club of Canada

Bow Yoho Traverse

The Powder, Peaks and Adventure of the Wapta, Without the Crowds

Crossing the Wapta Icefield east to west rather than north to south, the Bow-Yoho traverse is less publicized than the Wapta. But we have no idea why because this adventure offers the same great hut experience, exciting glaciated terrain and spectacular summits in arguably a more peaceful and isolated setting. 

This route will take you over two additional glaciers (Yoho and des Poilus) to the Wapta Icefield, making it perfect for those who have been on the Wapta already and are seeking something new. The Yoho Valley is a particular gem, hosting iconic summits such as the President, Vice President, Mt. McArthur, fairytale log cabin accommodation (the Stanley Mitchell hut) and typically more powder than the Wapta. There’s a reason Chic Scott calls a visit here the “quintessential Canadian Rockies ski experience”. 

Let us take care of everything from the huts, to the guiding, to the catering and and join us on a true ACC Adventure this winter!

Smartwool supports our Powder Program and we thank them for their assistance.
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BOOKING INFORMATION

Dates:
MARCH: 31ST – APRIL 6TH, 2024

APRIL: 15TH – 21ST, 2024

Price: $2950.00+ TAX

Before registering, please review our Waivers and Liability page.

MORE INFORMATION

Please try to register online before calling. If you are having issues please try to have your emergency contact information and course questionnaire filled out before calling.

OR Call: (403)-678-3200 ext 213

Backcountry Skiing Hazards

  • Avalanche
      • Avalanches can occur in the terrain you will be entering. Caused by natural forces, or by people travelling through the terrain  
    What are the risks
      • Anyone caught in a avalanche is at risk of personal injury, death, and or property damage or loss
    Hazard Mitigation
    • Our ACMG certified guides have experience and training to manage this risk
    • Daily risk assessment processes
    • Guest training
  • Terrain
      • Cornices
      • Crevasses
      • Trees, tree wells, and tree stumps
      • Cliffs
      • Creeks
      • Rocks and Boulders
      • Variable and difficult snow conditions
      • Impact or collision with other persons or objects
      • Encounters with domestic or wild animals
      • Loss of balance or control
      • Becoming lost or separated from the group
      • Slips, trips, and falls
    Hazard Mitigation
    • Our ACMG certified guides have experience and training to manage this risk
    • Radios and/or other communication devices
  • Boots and Binding systems
    • Even when set up correctly, a ski binding might not release during every fall or may release unexpectedly. The ski boot/binding system is no guarantee that the skier will not be injured. Non-DIN-certified bindings, such as pin/tech bindings, present a higher risk of pre-release and/or injury as they are not designed to the same safety standards as a DIN-certified alpine binding.
    • Unlike alpine ski boot/binding systems, snowboard and some telemark boot/binding systems are not designed or intended to release and will not release under normal circumstances. Using such a system increases the risk of injury and/or death when caught in an avalanche.
  • Communication, rescue, and medical treatment
      • Communication can be difficult and in the event of an accident rescue and treatment may not be available
      • Adverse weather may also delay the arrival of treatment or transportation out of the field,
      • Alpine weather conditions can be extreme and change rapidly without warning making travel by helicopter, snowmobile, snowcat, dangerous
      • If an injury occurs in challenging terrain movement to an evacuation point may be slow
    Hazard Mitigation
    • Your guide is trained in both backcountry first-aid and rescue techniques
    • Emergency response plans
    • Satellite communication tools
  • Other
      • Slips trips and falls indoor or outdoor
      • Infectious disease contracted via direct or indirect contact, including but not limited to influenza or Covid-19
      • Equipment failure
      • Negligence of other persons, including other guests
      • Negligence of the guide Including failure to to take reasonable steps to safeguard or protect you from or warn you of risk, dangers, hazards, oh participating in ACC activities
    Hazard Mitigation
    • Your guide is trained in both backcountry first-aid and rescue techniques
    • Satellite communication tools

Everyone on your camp will travel across the icefields together, but there is flexibility in the itinerary to accommodate individual objectives such as learning skills in glacial travel, bagging winter summits, completing a first major ski traverse, or even hunting powder.

There will be time and opportunities to summit some coveted peaks. Possible ski-mountaineering objectives include mounts Rhondda (3,055m), St. Nicholas (2,970m), Olive (3,130m), Gordon (3,202m), Collie (3,116m), Yoho (2,760m), Des Poilus (3,166m), McArthur (3,015m), Isolated Peak (2,823m), the President (3,138m) and Vice President (3,066m). Many of these mountains can be skied directly from the summit!

Other highlights of the trip include passing the beautiful Takakkaw Falls frozen in its winter coat, and the potential to ski both President’s Pass and the Iceline Exit from the Stanley Mitchell Hut. 

  • The basic Bow-Yoho route could be completed by a strong party in 3 days, but our extended itinerary allows your group plenty of time for day trips to classic summits, passes and powder bowls, without your heavy pack. We think it’s these experiences which make the Bow-Yoho truly unique. 

    • Day 1: Meet at 7AM (MST) in the Canadian Alpine Centre hostel in Lake Louise. Go over paperwork and gear, organize the car shuttle and begin your trip by skiing across Bow Lake and up to the ACC’s Bow Hut. There will be plenty of time on this day to run over skills such as crevasse rescue and opportunities for your first turns in the glades or slopes close to the hut.  
    • Day 2 :  A day out of the Bow hut, give you plenty of options for classic rookies ski touring. Summits of Rhondda, Gordon, or St Nicolas peaks are all possible.
    • Day 3: Travel to the ACC’s newest and most modern hut, the Louise & Richard Guy. Summiting either Rhondda, Gordon or Collie is possible en route before you drop into the Des Poilus glacier basin. 
    • Day 4: A day out of the comfortable Guy Hut will give you the opportunity to ski some nice turns off Yoho Peak or get more adventurous and try to summit Collie or Des Poilus.
    • Day 5: This is one of the crux days of the traverse as the traditional route takes you over Isolated Col – an exposed and crevassed high pass which is susceptible to avalanches. From the col, a good weather day could see you summiting McArthur. Either way, you are guaranteed some nice turns as you descend into the Yoho Valley and check in to the Stanley Mitchell Hut.
    • Day 6: Chic Scott describes skiing in the Yoho Valley as “the quintessential Canadian Rockies skiing experience”. You will have a full day to explore the region from the convenience of the Stanley Mitchell Hut. If conditions allow, the run off off President Pass is a must! And summiting the Vice-President or President is the icing on the cake for many a Bow-Yoho traverse.
    • Day 7: Return to civilization to Emerald Lake or the Transcanada Highway either by the Iceline exit (a stunning, high elevation route) or down the Yoho Valley road past Takakkaw Falls (the second tallest waterfall in Canada). Debrief with your guides and head home with life long memories. 
  • Intermediate

    No previous mountaineering experience is required, however, you must have backcountry skiing/splitboarding experience and be able to comfortably ski the equivalent of blue/intermediate runs at downhill ski areas in variable conditions (powder, crust, icy etc.) with a heavy pack. Familiarity with touring equipment and the use of avalanche transceivers is also essential as is good all round fitness. You need to be capable of skinning uphill for several hours with a 35-40lb pack.

    If you have any concerns about your suitability for this camp please contact the office before registering. 

Food

Evenings will be spent enjoying great food, socializing in cozy hut surroundings and resetting for the next day’s skiing. Food supplies will be carried in by porter to reduce pack weights and increase the quality and enjoyment of skiing. There will be a mix of lightweight but nutritious backpacking meals and snacks to keep you properly fuelled and hydrated for your adventure. All of our food is provided by specialized backcountry caterers based out of the Bow Valley. Check out our sample menu for full details of catering on ACC Adventures camps and courses.

Accommodation

Completing the Bow-Yoho wouldn’t be the same without also getting the full ACC hut experience. You’ll visit three very different styles of hut – the Bow, Guy and Stanley Mitchell – with two nights at each. The Bow Hut is by far the largest and most accessible of the huts, you can expect day and overnight trippers here and a social vibe. The Guy offers modern comfort in a spectacular location; until 2016, the traverse required camping at this location so this addition has made the traverse more accessible and comfortable for ski tourers. The Stanley Mitchell is a classic log-style, cosy cabin built in 1940.  Staying here is an experience in itself with fantastic views across the mountains and communal and social dining. Guests will be expected to assist the guides with hut duties such as collecting snow for water helping with dishes. 

Guiding

Our ACMG certified ski guides will ensure your journey across the Wapta is both safe and enjoyable. Our guides will be welcome to answering questions about the region as well as everything from ski technique to gear. The maximum ratio of guides to participants will be 6:1 to ensure participants can travel at a pace which is right for them and have the chance to ask questions.

The ACC hires guides certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG). Visit the ACMG website to learn more about what they do!

 

DOUG LATIMER

Doug has 20+ years of guiding experience behind him as an ACMG ski guide and an ACMG apprentice rock guide. As well as his private guiding he has spent a number of years working for the UoC where he taught a range of instructional programs in avalanche training, crevasse rescue and backcountry ski and ski mountaineering. He also somehow finds time to run a multimedia production company! On top of all that, we are lucky to have Doug as our lead winter guide, where he shares his fantastic enthusiasm and extensive knowledge throughout our winter programs.

We sell Tugo® Travel Insurance suitable for both ACC Adventures and personal trips:

INCLUDED WITH YOUR CAMP FEE

  • 6 days of professional guiding at max 6:1 ratios by certified ACMG alpine guides
  • 5 nights accommodation at the Bow and Guy and Stanley Mitchell Hut 
  • All Group Gear

PARTICIPANTS MUST PROVIDE

  • Transportation to and from the trailhead
  • Breakfast and Lunch for Day 1, as well as personal drinks like coffees, tea, juice, etc.
  • Personal gear (see gear list)

ORGANIZING FANTASTIC ACC ADVENTURES FOR OVER 100 YEARS

  • Local Knowledge – based out of Canmore, AB, we know the Rockies region and the best local caterers, guides and porters
  • Dedicated resources – full-time office staff, ACMG guides and group equipment on-hand to ensure your trip runs smoothly
  • Not-for-profit – any money we make on camps and courses is reinvested into providing services for our members and the mountain community