The Alpine Club of Canada

Wapta Traverse

One of the Iconic Ski Tours of North America

Crossing frozen lakes, high passes and a vast glacial expanse, the Wapta Traverse is a journey in the truest sense of the word. This Adventure gives you the opportunity to travel hut-to-hut across the length of the Wapta and Waputik Icefields with the opportunity to climb ski mountaineering summits and cut deep powder turns along the way.

Conditions on the Wapta are notoriously changeable. Our knowledgeable ACMG ski guides will ensure you get the most of your six days on the Icefield whilst maximizing safety. Our team of porters will also carry in food tailored for backcountry adventures so that you are properly fueled for the journey and able to focus your efforts on bagging lines and summits rather than a heavy load. 

Let us take care of everything from the huts, to the guiding, to the catering 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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MARCH: 1ST-6TH, 2024 
MARCH: 18TH-23RD, 2024 

Price: $2700+ TAX

Before registering, please review our Waivers and Liability page.


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

Within the overall objective of completing the famous Wapta Traverse there is great deal of flexibility in the itinerary.

Specific ski-mountaineering objectives include Mounts Rhondda (3015 m), Mt Thompson (3084 m), Mt. Hable (3073 m), St. Nicholas (2822 m), Mt. Olive (3130 m), Mt. Gordon (3203 m), Lilliput (2908) and Mt. Balfour (3270 m) and many more. Depending on the conditions the traverse can even offer fantastic powder skiing, for example on the Diableret Glacier close to Mount Balfour.

Although not primarily a skills camp, our guides will also be open to teaching or reviewing important skills – whether it be on roping up for glacier travel, crevasse rescue practice or tips and tricks on hydration and layering.

  • Our traverse will follow the classic Wapta itinerary, from north to south with visits to four ACC alpine huts (two nights at Peyto, one night at Bow, two nights at Balfour and one night at Duncan). Starting at Peyto Lake, you will ascend to Peyto Hut before making your way across both the Wapta and the Waputik Icefields before descending to the highway near West Louise Lodge. At 45km, the Wapta can easily be completed in 3-4 days by a strong party, however, our itinerary gives you the chance to climb and ski multiple spectacular summits without which no Wapta traverse would be complete. 

    • Day 1: Meet at 7 AM (MST) at the Canadian Alpine Centre in Lake Louise, where you will go over paperwork and gear, organize your car shuttle, and start the trip.  Your traverse will start at Peyto Lake which you will cross before ascending the moraines, traveling up the glacier with a final climb to Peyto Hut; overnight at Peyto Hut.
    • Day 2: Explore the northern end of the Wapta Icefields, if conditions allow, potential summits include Mt Haberl or Mt. Rhonda; a second overnight at Peyto Hut.
    • Day 3: Travel to Balfour Hut via the Olive or Vulture Cols depending on the conditions and ambitions of the group. Either way, you are guaranteed a beautiful descent down to Balfour Hut and the possibility of more turns from summits such as Vulture Peak, overnight at Balfour Hut.
    • Day 4: Explore the spectacular skiing and mountains in the Balfour area, overnight at Balfour Hut.
    • Day 5: The most adventurous day of the trip over the infamous Balfour High Col, this is the highest and most exposed point of the traverse. We’ll need the right conditions to negotiate the crevasse and serac hazard safely; a new vista opens up as you pass over the col and a beautiful descent down to the Scott Duncan hut when you will overnight.
    • Day 6: Descend back to civilization via Sherbrooke Lake to the Great Divide Lodge on Highway 1, shuttle cars back to Lake Louise.
  • 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. 


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. 


Completing the Wapta wouldn’t be the same without also getting the full ACC hut experience at 3 of our most iconic alpine huts – Peyto, Rob Ritchie (Balfour) and Scott Duncan huts. 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 and cooking and washing up. 


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!

Guides (ACMG). Visit the ACMG website to learn more about what they do!

Gear and Rentals

Don’t have everything on the gear list (found on the right hand side of this webpage)? We recommend heading to Gear Up in Canmore to grab any items your might be missing. To ensure availability of items call ahead to book. ACC members get a 10% discount.


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:


  • 6 days of professional guiding at max 6:1 ratios by certified ACMG ski guides
  • 5 nights accommodation at the Peyto, Balfour and Scott Duncan Huts
  • Breakfast and Lunch for Day 1, as well as personal drinks like coffees, tea, juice, etc.
  • Food portering services (to reduce pack weight)
  • Parks Canada Wilderness Pass
  • Group equipment (InReach, emergency equipment, ropes etc.)


  • Transportation to and from Peyto Lake (participants will be expected to use their own vehicles and carpool to Peyto Lake)
  • Breakfast and lunch on day 1, dinner on day 6
  • Pre and post-camp accommodation
  • Personal gear (see gear list)


  • 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