Wapta Peaks or Not

Trip Participants: Rob Denson (leader), Kirk Bishop, Kate Snedeker, Mark Meters, Brandy LeBlanc, Evan Oxland

Written by: Brandy LeBlanc

The weekend of Dec 15 marks my first time on a ski touring trip. We had planned for a moonlight trek up to the Bow hut. With the avalanche risk at high, plans changed. An overnight was booked at the Lake Louise Hostel and tree skiing Lake O’Hara was on the menu for Sat. Did I mention tree skiing is the one thing I 100% do my best to avoid? Well, today – staying out of the trees was not an option, in fact it was our only option. What better way to learn a skill then throwing oneself completely into it, literally. Geared up, skins on and ready to go, we set an up-track, we climbed and climbed and when I thought we were done, we climbed some more. We gained 800m of elevation and a few times during our ascents I questioned my sanity. On the upside, the uphill effort is rewarding work, it is a sense of accomplishment, adventure and comradery. But, what goes up must come down. Finally, the moment we have been working towards: THE DECENT.  Fresh lines with only our party of six in sight –  I worked just as hard skiing down as skinning up.

Sunday’s plan was to ski to the Bow hut and possibly summit St. Nicholas peak. We set off at dawn, crossing Bow lake and made it to the canyon in good time. Skiing through the canyon was magnificent; rock and ice formations, exposed pockets of water combined with ramblings of the creek running beneath me was an incredible experience. Unfortunately, shortly after our climb out of the canyon we tripped a slide from about 20feet away. Which as Rob says, “This, is mother nature telling us to go home”. The weekend was great, I learnt a lot, laughed a lot, worked hard, spent time with fantastic people and really value the knowledge and experience required to successfully play in this terrain. I can’t wait for another trip.