This trip was a little bit of work, and lot of play. For those who don’t know this area, the photos will hopefully entice you to visit. From trail head of Edith Cavell, you get the Astoria river entrance. This year the snowfall has been light, so the travel on the river itself was not really an option, however we still manage to cross some snow bridges.
Snow was deeper in Amethyst Lake area where the cabins reside, so some digging down to the cabins were in order. We had an early start in getting the chores done before a little tour at Surprise Point, pretty close to the ACC hut “Wates Gibson”. Since that aspect was north facing, the snow was pretty light on our tour.
Getting away with only waxing the skis for the 34km tour out was a treat, glide plus kick. The day took about 7 hours, but photo opportunities and generous breaks was well worth the time out. The last time we went in and out of the Tonquin Valley, the temperature was -30 some odd degrees. This trip was pleasant hovering above zero degrees Celsius.
A second ski tour to the Columbia Icefield, when I got the call to do this trip, I did not hesitate to say heck ya! The approach to Mt. Kitchener starts at the toe of Athabasca glacier, the same goes for the Snow Dome tour. We took two days to reach the summit of Mt. Kitchener, we built an authentic Igloo for our ultimate winter camping experience.
We hit some exceptional days, so our tour was quite spectacular and breathtaking. Doug Latimer needed to film some footage for his documentary “360 Degrees of Inspiration”, we were lucky to be the recipients of his guiding skills.
While we were building the Igloo, an electrical storm halted our progress for what seem like an hour, sitting on non metallic items and feet on our rope to separate us from the ground. It passed us with no issues.
After the night in the Igloo, I happened to be the last one up, luckily I left the Igloo just before it collapsed. The day was inspirational and breathtaking with amazing views 360 degrees worth. We summit Mt. Kitchener with plenty of day light and get some footage before the decent.
Camping does not stop when the snow falls. The back and front country campsites are still open if you care to brave the weather. This authentic Canadian pastime is fun when you are prepared to cozy up to a nice down filled sleeping bag or build an Igloo, yes people down south of the border, we Canadians do sleep in Igloos.
A trip like this does not come so often, so when a friend invited me on this trip to the top of the world (in my mind), I could not pass it up. The Snow Dome sits high in the Rockies, part of the Columbia Icefield covered in (you guess it) snow! An experience guide is a must for this trip and I was fortunate to tag along a guide training trip conducted by Doug Latimer , and when they said it was skiing, well I was tickled pink! The Snow Coaches can take you part way up this Athabasca Glacier, but not pass the huge ice falls and crevasses.