Wapta Traverse: Peyto Lake to Sherbrooke Lake (5 days / 40 km)

Ski lines down the from Mount Habel on the Wapta Traverse

The Wapta Traverse is THE classic Canadian ski traverse. Skiers stay at 4 remote mountain huts over 5 days, passing over the glaciated Wapta and Waputik Icefields in Banff and Yoho National Parks. While I don’t recommend going unguided unless you have significant experience in whiteout navigation, crevasse rescue, and avalanche assessment, with guides this trip, is surprisingly accessible to even strong intermediate skiers with some ski touring experience who have a good level of fitness and don’t mind skiing with a pack.

Completed: April 2022

Trip Summary: Wapta Traverse

Start Point: Unlabeled parking pull-off at Peyto Lake (Banff National Park)

End Point: Sherbrooke Lake Parking Lot (Yoho National Park)

Length: 5 days / 4 nights

Huts: Peyto Hut, Bow Hut, Balfour Hut, Scott Duncan Hut (all managed by the Alpine Club of Canada).

Distance: About 40 km without side trips, up to 50-70 km with side trips included (weather and energy-dependent). We averaged about 10 km/day, with elevation gain/loss of about 600-1200m each day.

Difficulty: Intermediate if guided / Expert if unguided

Location

This route for the Wapta Traverse starts in Banff National Park and ends at Yoho National Park, in the Rocky Mountains. Banff is the nearest town and Calgary is the nearest major city.

Traditional Territory: The Wapta Traverse takes place on the traditional territory of the Iyârhe Nakoda Nations (Bearspaw, Wesley, Chiniki), the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina – part of the Dene people, Ktunaxa, Secwépemc, Mountain Cree, and Métis (source and source).

Maps & Resources 

Maps:

Wapta Icefields and Bow Summit Map

Online Map

Permits & Reservations: If not going with a guide, you must book each hut with the ACC. Booking policies during COVID have changed; please check the ACC website for up-to-date information. 

Outfitters & Shuttles

Guides:

It is highly recomm...

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