Trip Dates

April 1-7, 2018

Price

$2395 pp based on a group of 4

Group Size

5 Guests per Guides

Skill Level

Advanced

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Valhalla Traverse

Remote and committing, a rewarding ski traverse through Valhalla Provincial Park...

The Valhalla traverse is the ultimate West Kootenay traverse. This committing, 7 day, tent based ski traverse is a challenging trip with big ascents and descents over rugged and remote alpine terrain in the famous Selkirk mountain.

Our itinerary will take you through the heart of Valhalla Provincial Park from the majestic Mulvey Basin along the height of land all the way to Shannon creek near Hills, BC. It is available in March or April when the days are longer, warmer and the snowpack is more stable.

Itinerary

The weather and conditions will have a direct effect on our exact itinerary. This tour is particularly far from any escape routes and travels through steep exposed terrain. The conditions and weather have to be optimal for this committing trip to unfold as planed. Here is a sample itinerary:

  • Pre-Trip meeting; Participants will meet the guide(s) at 4pm in Nelson, BC before the trip starts. We will go over last minute changes (weather & avalanche conditions) and logistic for the following days. We will also sign a liability waiver and do an avalanche beacon exercise
  • Day 1; We will fly to the South boundary of Valhalla Provincial Park near Gimli Peak at 07:00 AM. Our first day will involved touring up to the Wolf’s Ears Col and skiing down into Mulvey Basin. We will establish camp 1 on a high shelf on the north side of the upper Mulvey Lakes
  • Day 2; We will travel in a Westerly direction over 3 mountain passes from Mulvey Basin to Gwillim lakes where we will establish our camp 2
  • Day 3; From Gwillim Lakes we will start traveling Northward over Lucifer col, Hird Lakes and Urd col to the Ice creek valley where we will pick up our food cache and set up camp 3
  • Day 4; After replenishing with fresh food we will continue North and East by ascending to a high col at the headwaters of Beatrice creek. From the col we will ski down to an alpine basin near Avis Lakes and establish camp 4
  • Day 5; From Avis Lakes, we will follow the top of a ridge system eastward and eventually ski to the North into the headwaters of Snow creek. A short climb Eastward to a col will lead to the headwaters of Nemo creek. A fun ski down to an alpine bench with unnamed lakes leads to camp 5
  • Day 6; A big ascent over Mount Meers leads to a fantastic run down to Wee Sandy Lake. A Northward traverse across the headwaters of Wee Sandy creek will take us to our last camp near an unnamed lake Northeast of Mount Niord
  • Day 7; On our last day we will ascend Northwest to the committing Nerthus-Skadi col. We will then travel Northward along a ridge at the headwaters of Wragge creek and eventually to the Vingolf col. From here we will enjoy our last descent down Shanon creek and eventually the small village of Hills
  • We will travel from Hills back to Nelson by vehicle just in time for a well earned shower and social evening

Prerequisites

This is an advance ski traverse. Prior overnight backcountry ski touring experience, preferably winter camping, and a minimum of advanced downhill skiing skills are required.

Guests are responsible to self evaluate their skills as groups need to be matched together based on prior experience and ability.  Please contact us to discuss your background and options.

Equipment

Click here for Equipment list

Weather

This tour is particularly far from any escape routes and travels through steep exposed terrain. The conditions and weather have to be optimal for this committing trip to unfold as planed. The West Kootenay weather can vary drastically, specially in the Spring time.  In Winter you can expect temperatures to be from -15C to –5C in the day while in Spring daily temperatures could rise well above zero. Overnight temperatures will often dip below 20C, even in the Spring. Visibility may be poor or whiteout conditions when snowing heavily or clear on bluebird days. Ensure you are dressed and equipped for all variations as temperatures, wind and precipitation can change rapidly.

Location

This trip is located in Valhalla Provincial Park in the Southeastern British Columbia. You will be meeting with your guide the evening before the trip starts in Nelson for a final gear check. We will go over last minute changes (weather & avalanche conditions) and logistic for the following days. We will also sign a liability waiver.

Services Included

  • Pre-trip planning support
  • Fully certified IFMGA guide and /or ACMG Ski guide service
  • Transportation from/to Nelson at the start and end of the trip
  • Helicopter Access to our starting point
  • All Breakfasts and Dinners while on the trip
  • Tents and Cooking equipment for winter camping
  • Group safety equipment (communication device, rescue kit, first aid supplies, GPS, maps)

Not included in price:

  • Individual Lunches
  • Personal ski touring & avalanche safety equipment
  • Trip cancellation, adventure travel, rescue & medical insurance. Contact us for more info

FAQ

Where can I rent Ski touring and safety equipment?

Summit Mountain Guides has a limited amount of winter safety equipment available for rental. Contact us for availability. Here are a few outdoor stores in Nelson that supply good service and quality outdoor equipment and gear rental, please ensure you rent gear well in advance.

Rivers Oceans and Mountains 354-2056 www.roamshop.com
Valhalla Pure Outfitters 354-1006 www.shop.vpo.ca
Gericks   354-4622 www.gericks.com

Skis, Telemark or Split Boards?

Which should you use? If you are a downhill skier then you should use Alpine Touring gear. Only if you are already an advanced Telemark skier or Snowboarder should you bring Telemark or Split Board gear. All types of gear can be rented in Nelson prior to your day trip.  There are three types of backcountry systems you can use:

Alpine Touring skis are essentially downhill skis with a special touring binding which allows the heel to lift whilst going uphill or across the flats and then ‘locks down’ to become a regular downhill safety binding. We recommend this system to anyone with a background of downhill skiing who is not already an advanced telemark skier. 

Telemark skis. These should only be used for this program if you are at least an advanced-intermediate telemark skier with some backcountry experience. This system is more difficult and less forgiving than the others.

Snowboarding with a Split Board is the most effective way to snowboard in the back country. We recommend this system to advanced snowboarder over snowshoeing.