wapta Ski Traverse


A classic Wapta traverse is the consummate Canadian high-elevation hut-to-hut ski traverse in Banff National Park, moving through the Wapta Icefields. Spanning more than 40km along the spine of the Continental Divide, the Icefields and Glaciers that compose this incredible and prehistoric expanse, lay home to innumerable blue-ribbon ski mountaineering ascents and descents.
The Traverse relies on a network of high mountain huts, maintained by the Alpine Club of Canada, allowing for lightweight travel and comfortable overnight accommodation while en-route. At the foot of each of these huts, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to the volume of superlative ski mountaineering objectives available to us each day. Summit ascents up to elevations of 3292m (10,800ft), and single (ski runs) descents that provide upwards of 900 vertical meters of beautiful fall line skiing and riding. Your next best days ever await.

We offer 3, 4, or 5-day traverses, that offers a whole range of objectives and experiences passing around some super picturesque peaks from the surrounding mountains on the Wapta Icefields. These peaks include Mount Rhondda, St Nic Peak, Mount Olive, and Mount Gordon to name a few. The attempt of these peaks depends heavily on the conditions at the time.

Most of the days start from Bow Lake, a 1.5hr drive from the town of Banff. It is a fantastic opportunity for those adventurous types to explore the Wapta Icefields under guided supervision. 

Bookings require 4 people minimum for each of the programs. The price for each of the programs includes guiding services, Food, Accommodation, the wilderness pass & all glaciated technical equipment. Please see the equipment section at the bottom of the page for more information. 








 Accommodation included



The Private Backcountry Guiding Venues of Banff and Lake Louise

3-day Traverse: Bow to Peyto

4-Day traverse: Bow to SHERBROOKE LAKE

5-Day Traverse: Bow To Yoho



Mike Trehearne - C9G Director of Operations
Alison Cardinal - Cloud Nine Guides
Robbie Chmelyk - Cloud Nine Guides
Dustin Klatt - Cloud Nine Guides




3-day TRaverse - Bow To Peyto

This 3-Day traverse offers a great long weekend trip that consists of a 2-night hut stay. One night at the Bow Hut, with a secondary night stay at the Peyto Hut. 


Pre-ascent, the day will start off in Lake Louise. Here the guide will run through the days to come, where waivers will be signed, and equipment will be checked.

To assist you in arriving smoothly at Lake Louise: You can find our meeting location here.

Once the equipment has been checked, we will convoy to the Bow Lake car park, where there will be a quick organisation of transport, with a vehicle to be left at the Peyto Lake parking lot for the journey home.

It is approximately a 4-5-hour scenic ascent up to the Bow Hut. Passing over the cold water creeks that stem from the glacier, touring through some beautiful forest, and breaking into the moraines as you commence your final ascent up to the Bow Hut. It is certainly a great way to build some excitement for the next couple of days. 

Once you have reached the hut, the next task is to put your feet up and get yourself accustomed to the living quarters, as your guide fires up supper. After a quick rest, the guide will give you a quick lesson on how to tie into a glacier travel mode for the next day's travel day. 

Depending on how the timings work out this could offer the opportunity for a summit, or to get some fresh turns from the surrounding slopes.


The approach to the Peyto Hut is approximately another 5-6 hr tour on Glaciated terrain, approximately 7km in distance. 

After breakfast is served and your bellies are full, a debrief of Glacier travel will be given by your guide. This is so that you are aware of how to move carefully and efficiently through the terrain. Once your guide has taken you through the basics, you will commence your journey to the Peyto Hut, strolling past iconic peaks, such as St Nic, Mount Rhondda & Mount Habel. 

After a gorgeous scenic walk, the Peyto Hut will await your arrival. As you once again get accustomed to your new surroundings, the guide will fire up the kettle for a warm cuppa, and dinner will be served soon after. 


After a lie-in and a slower morning than the previous one, giving you an opportunity to take in the surrounding peaks, you will begin your descent toward Peyto Lake, your final destination.

This will be a roughly 10.5km descent to the lake, with an elevation loss of 580m. 


4-day Traverse - Bow to ShERBROOKE LAKE

This 4-day traverse takes you from the Bow Hut to Sherbrooke Lake via the Balfour Hut and the Scott Duncan Hut, with 1 night at the Bow Hut, 1 night at the Balfour Hut - with option of adding on another night, and 1 night at the Scott Duncan Hut.

DAY 1 

The first day is the same as the day 1 itinerary for our 3-day traverse, so please see above. 


Bow Hut to Balfour Hut is approximately 7km, with an elevation gain of 580m, and a loss of 430m as you descend to Balfour. This is usually a very simple traverse, with the right conditions/ visibility. If the weather isn't good, then this day can take a little longer.  


The Balfour Hut has a number of skiing options and great options for those who are looking to bag some peaks. This being the full day at the hut, it allows to really get some skiing done. Vulture Peak, Mount Olive, & Mount Gordon, offer viable options to go and ski, should weather and snowpack conditions allow. If you are interested in this option, reach out to our Program Managers for more details!


The way from the Balfour Hut to the Scott Duncan Hut involves gaining the Balfour High Col - the most challenging section of the traverse - thus requiring stable snow conditions, along with good weather. With a distance of 10.8km, elevation gain of 770m, and a loss of 490m to cover, this day is expected to take 4-5 hours in good conditions.


Day 4 is the exit day, where we'll make our way from the Scott Duncan Hut to the Sherbrooke Lake parking lot. Using Mt Daly as a handrail, we will head towards Mount Niles, using its westerly shoulder to descend to Sherbrooke Creek. The creek will lead us to Sherbrooke Lake, which we will cross to its far end, catching the summer trail down to the parking lot. The distance covered will be approximately 13.4km, with 215m of elevation gain and 1290m of elevation loss, taking us between 4-6 hours depending on the conditions.


5-day traverse - Bow to Yoho

This Traverse is the most famous of the traverses, seeing one night at the Bow Hut, two nights at the Guy Hut and one night at the Stanley Mitchell Hut, before descending down to Yoho. 

DAY 1 

The first day is the same as the day 1 itinerary for our 3-day traverse, so please see above. 


The day starts skiing west towards the open pass between Mount Rhondda and Mount Gordon, followed by a gentle descent towards the Collie Icefields. Making our way carefully through the broken Glacier, once at the top, it is a descent onto the western part of the Yoho Glacier. A couple of ascents and descents brings you to the Guy Hut. This will be approximately a 6-hour tour of 11.4km, with an elevation gain of 715m and a loss of 515m.


A day of skiing around the Guy Hut will allow for a fantastic opportunity to take in and complete some of those desirable turns. Options for descent lines include Yoho Peak, Mt Collie, and the Yoho Glacier itself.


The fourth day brings the journey from the Guy Hut to the Stanley Mitchell Hut. Depending on the conditions, our options are to ascend the Isolated Peak Col, with a long fall line descent to the Stanley Mitchell Hut, or to make our way through the scenic Whaleback Pass. Via the latter option, you can expect a 6.5-hour tour, with a distance of 10.5km, elevation gain of +480m and a loss of 1km.


The way from the Stanley Mitchell Hut to the end, depending on the time of the year, may take alternative routes, with the road lower down being condition-dependent. Expect a longer day of 20km spent sliding mostly downhill.





Guide : Guest Ratios

Our ratios are 1:8 for the Wapta Icefields


Travel to the Lake Louise

Our suggestions for your most efficient way to access the program venue from a variety of locations and international ports of entry:

  • Calgary (YYC) to Lake Louise:
    • Those Guests traveling from or arriving by air at Calgary International Airport: Your most efficient route to join us at the Columbia Icefields will be through our base in Canmore, Alberta, then following the Trans Can west to Lake Louise, approximately a 2hr drive. A rental car or personal transportation will be required. 
      Find a travel plan here.

  • Edmonton (YEG) to Lake Louise: 
    • Follow AB-2 S and then the Trans Canada Highway West to Lake Louise, approximately a 4hr 30mins drive. A rental car or personal transportation will be required.
      Find a travel plan here.

  • Travelling from British Columbia: 
    • For our Guests travelling and arriving from locations in British Columbia: Please use the following map link to aid in your planning and arrival at, The plan provided commences in Golden, approximately 1hr from Lake Louise.
      Find the travel plan here



For those looking to arrive early ahead of your program, there are a variety of useful pre-trip amenities and comfortable accommodation options around our base in Canmore, Alberta, the townsite of Banff, a further 20-minute drive inside the East Gates of Banff National Park, and Lake Louise. The following are our suggestions for accommodation as well as gear and equipment retailers to help you prepare post-arrival:


    For those looking to purchase gear and equipment prior to your course, we would suggest the following local Bow Valley retailers:

    • Vertical Addiction
      • Located in Canmore, Vertical Addiction offers a complete selection of technical climbing, mountaineering and ski equipment along with a broad selection of technical clothing. 
    • SkiUphill
      • Located in Canmore, SkiUphill is a collective of experience driven individuals each with their own history, knowledge and stories of getting out there and getting after it. They offer expertise in backcountry skiing, trail running, climbing and any combination of those activities all while offering the best selection of curated equipment. 
    • Monods Sports
      • Located in Banff, Monods is one of the longest operating outdoor equipment and clothing retailers in the Bow Valley. Monods have a large selection of technical clothing and equipment offerings.
    • Ortovox
      • Our Partners at Ortovox are known for their high-quality technical outerwear and are a supporting partner of C9G and our ski guiding programs.
    • Black Diamond Equipment
      • Black Diamond Equipment has been providing skiers and alpinists with technical equipment since 1989, and is a supporting partner of C9G and our guided ski programs.


Your Mountain Guide's Transportation


In addition to your Ascent Package Fee, an additional fee of $150 will be applied to your order. These amounts are paid in full and directly to our Guiding Staff to cover the longer transportation routes required to arrive at the Wapta Icefield. In circumstances where you are able to provide your Guide with Transportation from our hubs in either Canmore or Lake Louise, and where no other factors make prohibit this option, this fee will be waived.



Provided in the meal program is Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, as well as high-energy snacks for the duration of your trip.

Dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Please contact our Program Managers at the office for more information on Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Paleo diets, or any allergy restrictions for your trip.


Required Equipment & Personal Items

  • Ski Boots
  • Skis/ Split Board
  • Ski Poles 
  • Skins - trimmed to specific equipment
  • Avalanche Beacon*
  • Avalanche Probe*
  • Avalanche Shovel* (Metal)
  • Ice Axe*
  • Crampons* 
  • Harness* 
  • Ski Helmet
  • Ski goggles
  • Sunglasses (We suggest Julbo Sun Glasses)
  • 50+ SPF Sunscreen
  • Lip Balm with SPF
  • Headlamp with Fresh Batteries
  • Water Bottle - 2 X Collapsable Nalgene Style Water Bottle
  • Blister Kit
  • Camera
  • Ear Plugs
  • Backpacks - Large Pack (50L-75L) Depending on Program
  • Sleeping bag (-9 minimum)

* means Cloudnine can provide it if needed.

essential clothing

  • Base Layers - Tops and Bottoms (Wool or Synthetic Only) x2
  • Mid Layers - Tops and Bottoms (200 Weight Wool or Synthetic is Ideal)  x2
  • Socks - Wool Blend is best, no cotton x2
  • Light Collared Synthetic Shirt (optional, nice for the really hot sunny days) x2
  • Softshell Jacket and Pants
  • Gore Tex Jacket and Pants
  • Sun Hat
  • Buff Style Neck Tube or Similar x2 
  • Insulated Hat
  • Gloves - Heavyweight and Lightweight Options
  • Underwear + spares
  • Down or Synthetic Insulated Jacket



The best method to protect your investment with us should unforeseen arise, requiring you cancel your booking, is to purchase a Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance Policy. 

Lifestyle Insurance has covered many of Cloud Nine Guests on trips all over the world, and we have first-hand experience seeing these policies activated by our Guests. 

Safeguard your trip costs and investment with us. Request a Quote from Lifestyle Financial.

Is this coverage required?

  • For Canadian Residents, coverage is suggested but not required to register.
  • For Non-Canadian Citizens, coverage is suggested but not required. It is strongly suggested that your policy includes Emergency Medical Coverage, unless you carry an alternative policy which will respond in the event of medical emergency.


WAIVER - Release of Liability & Indemnity Agreement

Prior to booking you will be required to acknowledge that you have been provided a copy of our Waiver of Liability Agreement for your review. All participants, or their legal guardians wishing to participate on any Cloud Nine Programs, must acknowledge that they have been presented this document in advance of booking, have read it in its entirety, and understand the agreement being entered into by signing. While there is no obligation to enter into this agreement with us, it is a condition of our service provision. 



Booking TErms & Conditions

Before you book your course, please review our Booking Terms & Conditions. We do not accept bookings without your voluntary acceptance of these terms. Please read carefully as these terms outline specific policies and guidance for both our staff and clients with respect to refunds, cancellations, rescheduling etc.



Book a free consultation

Book a phone call or video call with either of our Program Managers or with our Director of Operations.

This is an excellent preliminary step towards booking a trip with us. It allows us to better understand your requirements and needs for your desired objective. 

Cloud Nine Mountain Guides are Internationally IFMGA Certified
ORTOVOX - Proud Supporting Partner of the Outdoor Rock Climbing Series Courses
Cloud Nine Guides are ACMG certified