Kokanee Glacier Traverse
April 1-5, 2023
Kokanee Glacier Traverse
A modern ski traverse in the heart of the Kootenays...
This little known gem is our local favorite! It is an interesting 5-day trip and a good introduction to tent based ski-traverses. The highlight includes fantastic steep ascents and descent, complex but intriguing alpine terrain and beautiful scenery while traveling through the famous Kokanee Glacier Park.
The itinerary of this exciting trip starts with a heli drop near the Kokanee Provincial park boundary. From there we will travel through Kokanee Provincial Park via the Kokanee & Woodbury Glaciers, the Silver Spray Basin and the Cariboo Ridge all the way to Kalso BC. Like the Valhalla traverse, this trip is best done in March and April.
On this 5 day trip, we will traverse Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park from West to East. We will start with a helicopter drop high on the Western flanks of Kokanee Glacier Park. After 5 days of travel (read; up and down!) along the height of land, we will finish with a long ski descent ending in Kaslo BC. We will return to Nelson with a scheduled shuttle for a final dinner and celebration.
This is an intermediate to 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.
This trip is located in Kokanee Glacier 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 logistics for the following days. We will also sign a liability waiver.
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, especially 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.
- Pre-trip planning support
- 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
Where can I rent Ski touring and safety equipment?
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 phone 250-354-2056
Valhalla Pure Outfitters phone 250-354-1006
Gericks phone 250-354-4622
Sacred Ride phone 250-354-3831
What transceiver should I use?
What kind of transceiver can I use? If you are interested in touring in the back country with friends or take one of our courses, it is very important to get a modern “triple antenna digital beacon” with a marking function. For recreational skiers and boarders, we suggest the following beacons: Mammut-Baryvox “Element”, Ortovox “Zoom” or the Tracker “3” or BD “Recon”. For people that moving towards working in the ski industry a more professional “more advanced” beacons is recommended, such as Mammut-Baryvox “S”, Ortovox “3+” or BD “Guide”.
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.