Day 16 – 18
The next three days is a trial by fire…or ice and snow more like. Three days spent hiking up to Hot Dog lake (which is adjacent the ACC Bow Hut at the base of the Wapta Ice fields). The hike into Hot Dog lake is absolutely stunning as it is grueling with a 75 lb bag on your back. Winding our way up the bow valley towards the Wapta we spent most of the day skinning up through a crag and then up the side of the mountain. The sun in the blue-bird sky shining bright, we all sweated our asses off working our way up to the frozen lake. As soon as we made it to camp we spread out and set up our tent pads and dug out our kitchen areas and got situate to spend two nights at the base of the glacier. Occasionally looking across the valley at the warm Bow hut wishing we were comfy in the hut, but also laughing at how hardy we are comparatively to those soft skins over in the hut!
Oh, and we were introduced to a new strategy I can safely say I have not done before. Shitting in a bag. Let me explain; when you are on a glacier or camping near a glacier at popular spots things can get busy. And where there are lots of frequent people there tends to be lots of frequent bowel movements. If every person pooped on the ground every time they had to move, all of the good camping areas would be absolutely covered in piles of crap. And so it is common courtesy to do your business into a ‘Wag Bag’. A large plastic bag which folds open to an almost coffee filter type shape holding a small amount of cat litter to fool you into thinking your shit don’t stink. Then the bag is wrapped around your deposit and sealed into a second Ziploc style bag for extra safety and you haul it out with you and throw it away. And the dual bag is essential because you do not want these things opening up in your pack…… like you really don’t want that.
After a few hours of hiking to Vulture peak and soaking in our first summit, we transitioned to ski mode for our first glacier ski descent
Day Two at Hot Dog Lake we hiked up to Vulture peak, our sort of first summit of the trip! This would also be one of the closest days we got to a powder day! After a few hours of hiking to Vulture peak and soaking in our first summit, we transitioned to ski mode for our first glacier ski descent. It was mind blowing. We hit the snow at the exact right moment when the crust had softened and became a snice/corn type snow.
Carving lines like a paint brush gliding across the surface of a blank canvas
So good we got half way down, assessed the time and walked back up for another run at it! Carving lines through fresh, untouched snow in the back country is not comparable to resort skiing. And there can be some brilliant resort days, but to ski down a back country mountain with a few friends carving lines like a paint brush gliding across the surface of a blank canvas we drew our way back to camp. And during the second run we were blessed by the snow gods with a few extra inches of new snow to make the entire journey even more exhilarating.
The last day of our trial run to Hot Dog lake was simply packing, cleaning and taking one last mountain wag to carry on our backs back out of the valley passed Bow Lake to our waiting van. The entire group was pumped about our very successful trip up to the base of the Wapta Glacier!
Skins: G3 Alpinist Climbing Skins
Skis: Volkl 100Eight
Bindings: Marker Kingpin 13
Boots: Solomon Mtn Lab