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To discover some of Canada’s best ski touring terrain and longest runs, you don’t have to search beyond the Icefall Traverse. This 6-day adventure is all about traveling through complex glacier terrain past some of the highest peaks in the range. Similar to the Haute Route, but the key difference here is the exclusivity—there’s only our group, no one else in sight. We’ll travel hut-to-hut, have sole access to them, and, with the weather gods on our side, we’ll cruise down three of the longest runs in Canada, all over 7,000 ft vertical! No need to worry about unfavorable weather, either—there’s always a back-up plan.

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  • Highest ski touring hut

    One of the huts we’ll stay at will be the Lyell Hut, the highest elevation ski touring hut in Canada at 9,300 ft

  • Complex terrain & epic runs

    This traverse connects superb ski touring terrain—complex glacier terrain, some of the highest peaks in the range, and loooong runs

  • Decompress in the sauna

    Doctor’s orders! Let the sauna soothe your sore muscles and let it prepare you for another big skiing day

Itinerary

A week of superb ski touring through some of Canada’s best touring terrain is just a few clicks away! The Icefall Traverse is as good as it gets—high peaks, complex glacier terrain, and comfy huts. Each lodge or cabin offers something new, whether it’s the longest run in Canada, dozens of glacier runs out the door, or some terrific tree skiing. An ACMG guide will lead you through BC’s terrain, make sure you don’t miss out on epic descents, and find just the perfect terrain for you. You’ll end each day at the huts, enjoy a hearty warm meal, and enjoy million-dollar views from the living rooms.

  • Kick the adventure off with a heli ride into the Mons Hut, sitting at the toe of the glacier near the base of Mons Peak. Get settled in and ready for untouched backcountry terrain! Stepping out the door, you get a view of the Icefall on the Lyell Glacier—the traverse will pass above this icefall the next day.

    The Mons Hut gives access to many ski peaks and long glacier runs. Possible objectives for today include Mons Peak, Cambrai or the North Glacier on Mount Forbes. At 3,612 m (11,850 ft), Mt Forbes is the highest peak in Banff National Park. The run on the North Glacier takes you right up to the imposing north face. Once you’ve had enough for the day, return to your cozy and warm hut.

    Meals: Lunch and dinner
    Accommodation: Mons Hut

    One skier on the Icefall Traverse
  • Time to move—this morning, you travel to the Lyell Hut. There is a long run down to the edge of the Icefall Canyon, a 2,000′ deep hole ringed with sheer cliffs and filled with frozen waterfalls.

    The Lyell Hut sits on a rock outcropping at 2,835 m (9,300 ft) and is surrounded on all sides by glaciers. This is the highest elevation ski touring hut in Canada. You can watch alpenglow sunsets on the north face of Mt Forbes out the front window! One evening possibility is to ascend Christian Peak, Lyell 5, watch the sunset and ski down to the hut in the evening twilight. It takes about 10 minutes to ski from the summit to the hut.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Accommodation: Lyell Hut

    Lyell Hut on the Icefall Traverse
  • Cross the Continental Divide over into Alberta and ski Rudolf, Edward and Ernest (Lyell 1, 2, and 3). These are some of the highest peaks in the range, and you can normally ski right off of the summits. From the summit of Lyell 3 at 3,448 m (11,312 ft), you have a 2,200-meter (7,218 ft) descent down a run called the Wild West—the longest ski run in Canada! This run was first skied over ten years ago, but it has only been skied a handful of times since. The addition of the Alexandra Cabin has made this run a lot more feasible for the average group.

    An alternative for getting to the Alexandra Cabin is to ski the Deep End. This run skis more directly to the Alexandra Cabin, exits the glacier much sooner and has more trees and rock for reference. If the visibility isn’t good this is a great option for getting to the Alexandra. With over 1,500 m (4,920 ft) of vertical drop, it is still a huge run in a spectacular setting.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Accommodation: Alexandra Cabin

    Icefall Traverse glacier
  • After a comfortable night in the Alexandra Cabin with a wood stove and a sauna, you will head for Icefall Lodge, where you will spend the next two nights. The route to the lodge climbs up out of Lyell Creek by either the portal or the Shark’s Gate. The addition of the Alexandra Cabin means you will do this in the morning when it’s cooler and generally safer.

    Once you reach the lodge, you are treated to a sauna, shower, electricity, wood stove, double rooms, running water, and many other comforts. The Icefall Lodge sits at treeline, and if the weather is snowy, there are many tree skiing possibilities here. It is usually possible to arrive at the lodge earlier in the week if there’s bad weather up at the huts. There are multiple ski objectives, both summits and ski runs from the lodge.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Accommodation: Icefall Lodge

    Long ski run on the Icefall Traverse
  • Climb over Ice Pass and ski down to the Rostrum Cabin. It is also possible to ski to the summit of Mt Kemmel along the way and enjoy a 1,200-meter (3,940 ft) ski down to the hut. The Rostrum Cabin sits at treeline with a view of the blue ice and tumbling glaciers draping Rostrum Peak. While it is smaller than the lodge, it has many of the same comforts.

    The last day is a skin up to the Tempest Glacier and a long run down to the valley bottom for a helicopter pick-up. You will pass through Porcupine Saddle, skiing past blue glacier ice and sometimes through crevasses. In the right conditions, you can climb and ski from the summit of Icefall Peak to the valley floor—another run of over 2,100 m (7,000 feet) vertical. Once you reach the valley floor, a helicopter will come pick you up, marking the end of the trip.

    Meals: Breakfast and lunch

    Happy skiers relaxing at the hut on Icefall Traverse
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Meet your guides

Larry Dolecki
5.00
Larry Dolecki
IFMGA/UIAGM & ACMG
Larry Dolecki is the owner and head guide at Icefall Lodge. He is a fully certified mountain guide (IFMGA/ UIAGM and ACMG) and has skied and climbed in many of the great mountain ranges in the world. Having grown up in Calgary, he spent much of his youth climbing and skiing in the mountains around Banff. After completing a degree in Economics at Queens University, he returned to the mountains to pursue his passion. He regularly leads ski trips to the Alps, guiding classics such as the Haute Route, Berner Oberland, or Ortler Traverse. Other destinations include the Himalayas, New Zealand, and Peru. Larry has also guided trips at many backcountry lodges in BC, and the Icefall Lodge has offered him the opportunity to bring together the best aspects of many different places he has guided.
Jana Poborilova
5.00
Jana Poborilova
ACMG Ski Guide and Assistant Hiking Guide
ACMG Ski Guide and Assistant Hiking Guide
Originally from a small mountain town in the Czech Republic, Jana was once a member of the Czech Nordic skiing junior team, though she always found the deep snow more interesting than the groomed trails. Throughout her student years she spent as much time as possible skiing, climbing and biking in Czech and the French Alps. After graduating from a masters program of Sport and Leisure time Management at Palacky University in the Czech Republic, she came to BC. After tasting Canadian powder, she never went back. She spends the summer backcountry horse wrangling and hiking guiding. In the winter she splits her time between heliskiing and ski touring. Jana can speak with you in English, French, Czech, some German and Spanish as well.
Ryan Smith
5.00
Ryan Smith
ACMG Ski Guide
Ryan began his backcountry career with a ski mountaineering course at Icefall Lodge. The incredible terrain, amazing location, and excellent ski quality instantly inspired him to want to return every year! Today he is an ACMG ski guide who spends his winters ski guiding in the interior mountains of British Columbia. When the temperature rises and the snow starts to melt, he heads up to Wrangell St. Elias National Park in Alaska, where he continues to find good turns, great climbing, and an infinite sea of mountains to explore! Currently based in Albert Canyon at the foot of Roger's Pass, Ryan never feels far from the next great adventure.
Icefall Lodge
5.00
Icefall Lodge
Nestled in the heart of British Columbia, Icefall Lodge both operates backcountry lodges and offers guided trips. All guided trips, hiking or backcountry skiing, are led by certified ski or mountain guides. The certification is through IFMGA or ACMG, the highest level of guiding available. The complex nature of terrain makes the local knowledge of these guides all the more important, so you can rest assured you’re in safe hands with people who know these landscapes.

Accommodation

5.00 (1 reviews)
Ody Loomis (source: Google Reviews)

Thank you for all that you do to make these experiences happen!!! “We like it here” is an understatement… Love the details in the new cabins and the amazing terrain each hut/cabin/lodge access has- the views are beyond beautiful. Easily top favorite place’s on earth! A huge thank you and shout out to Corin Lohmann- he is a fantastic guide. Two full Traverse trips with him, and I hope to have another in my time. Always a grand adventure!!!

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • ACMG certified local guides with extensive experience and knowledge of the area
      • 6-day guided Icefall Traverse
      • Accommodation in 5 different mountain huts and lodge
      • Helicopter transport in and out
      • All meals during the tour (food prepared by either the guide of a chef at the cabins/lodges)
      • Light packs; huts pre-stocked with most food
      • Blankets and duvets provided at huts and lodge

    Some dietary requirements can be accommodated. Vegetarian and gluten free are generally ok, vegan diet cannot be accommodated.

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to the staging area
      • Ski touring equipment
      • Any extra costs regarding rescue or helicopter lifts
      • Accommodations
      • Guide gratuities — optional
      • Travel and medical insurance — optional
  • In order to join skiing the Icefall Traverse, you should be an experienced backcountry skier with expert downhill skiing ability. You should be able to tour 1,800 m (6,000 ft) vertically on recreational days touring. The biggest day of the tour involves 1,500 m (4,920 ft) of climbing and 4 km (2.5 miles) of valley bottom travel. Make sure you’re fit enough to cover these

    Since you’ll be backcountry skiing, there may be variable conditions with anything from powder to frozen crud, breakable crust, moist snow or corn. You must be able to ski in control in any of these conditions to avoid hazards such as crevasses or cliffs.

  • Skiing / riding gear

      • Ski touring skis, telemark or splitboard (snowshoes are not an acceptable option) OR a splitboard
      • Climbing skins
      • Ski crampons — not optional
      • Harness (light mountaineering style)
      • Touring boots (make sure they’re comfortable)
      • Ski poles
      • Avalanche transceiver (digital), probe and shovel
      • Backpack 40-45 liters (has to fit everything you bring plus a small amount of group gear on traverse days)
      • One locking and one non-locking carabiner
      • Helmet (optional)
      • Sunglasses
      • Goggles
      • Repair kit for your bindings & skin wax to prevent snow build-up on skins

    Clothing

      • Wind and waterproof shell jacket (Gore Tex or equivalent)
      • Wind and waterproof pants (Gore Tex or equivalent)
      • Base layer (wool or synthetic)
      • Ski pants
      • Jacket (Soft shell, fleece)
      • Light to medium down or fiber jacket
      • Hat
      • Gloves (2 pairs) (thinner touring gloves and thicker skiing gloves)
      • Ski socks
      • Leisure clothing for the evenings

    Miscellaneous

      • Light silk sleeping bag liner (there are blankets at the huts, but not regular laundry service)
      • Pillow case (no pillows at the Mons, Lyell, and Rostrum—use the pillow case to stuff clothing into)
      • Thermos or water bottle (1-2 liters)
      • Sun and lip cream with SPF protection
      • Small first aid kit with personal medications, blister kit, etc.
      • Camera
      • Headlamp
      • Earplugs
      • Power adaptors and necessary chargers for your devices
  • Group sizes and pricing

      • For the Icefall Traverse, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 8:1.
      • It takes a minimum of 3 people for this tour to operate. The maximum group size is set at 8 participants.

    Skiing the Icefall Traverse can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Golden BC, the staging area and starting point of the Icefall Traverse journey, most people fly into Calgary International Airport (YYC). From there, you can rent a car and drive to Golden. Make sure to reach Golden at least a day prior to the start of the tour, as you have a helicopter flight early in the morning of Day 1.

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance.

    With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more. Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • A non-refundable $600 deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 4 months (120 days) prior to departure. Failure to pay the remaining balance on schedule will result in cancellation of the client’s booking and the deposit will be forfeited. No refunds will be given if the client cannot make the trip, including but not limited to missed, delayed or canceled flights, road closures, Customs and Immigration Canada, personal or business reasons.

    However, if the client wants to cancel, they may have another individual go in their place (provided they have sufficient skills for the trip). Please notify us in writing.

    Icefall Lodge reserves the right to cancel or reschedule a trip, in which case the client will be refunded. It is recommended that the client buys cancellation insurance at the time of the booking.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ, or Talk with us
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