Mount Waddington NW Summit

May 2023



Group Size
3 Guests per Guides
Skill Level

Mount Waddington NW Summit

This remote and demanding peak is a classic Canadian ski summit...

A ski peak like no others! Mount Waddington, 4019m above see level, is the highest peak in the Coast mountain range of British Columbia. While the main summit is technical and only accessible in summer by advanced mountaineers, the North West summit (4000m high) provides one of the most interesting and aesthetic ski mountaineering challenge in the coast mountains. It is a Canadian Classic!

While Waddington is the main goal on this trip, the area offers many other interesting peak ascents/descents including; Mount Munday, Jester, Cavalier & Finality Mountains. Join us and discover the massive scale of the Waddington Icecap area while ski-mountaineering on some of the largest glaciers & peaks in British Columbia. This 7 day trip is offered by Summit Mountain Guides from mid April to late May.

If you are interested in a mountaineering ascent to the main summit of Mount Waddington click here.

The weather and conditions will have a direct effect on our exact itinerary, please note we can not guarantee specific timing and objectives due to the unpredictability of weather and flying into the mountains. Here is a sample itinerary:

  • Day 1 Participants will meet the guide(s) at 4pm at the White Saddle B&B in Bluff Lake for a relaxing dinner followed by a final gear check. We will go over last minute changes (weather & avalanche conditions) and logistic for the following day(s). We will also sign a liability waiver.
  • Day 2 We will fly to the Dias Glacier, establish our base camp, do an avalanche beacon exercise and go for a short ski-tour.
  • Days 3-7 Depending on the weather, conditions and participants, we will use the best possible window of opportunity to ascent to the Northwest summit of Mount Waddington. Ideally we will work ourselves up to it by acclimatizing and ski touring some of the nearby summits depending on conditions and participants, we will consider: Mt Munday, Jester, Cavalier & Finality Mountains.
  • Day 8 Our last day in the field, we will fly back to Bluff Lake in the afternoon and enjoy a refreshing homemade meal and last night at the White Saddle B&B.
  • After a luxurious breakfast next morning, participants will start individual travels back home.

This is an intermediate to advance ski mountaineering program. You must have prior overnight winter camping experience and be an advanced intermediate downhill skier. Guests are responsible to self evaluate their skills as groups need to be matched together based on prior experience and ability. Prior experience with Summit Mountain Guides helps you anticipate the difficulty and style of our program. It is an asset. Please contact us to discuss your background.

Mount Waddington and the Waddington Icecap are located in the Coast Mountains of South-Western British Columbia. We will access this pristine and remote mountain wilderness area by helicopter from Bluff Lake, B.C.

To drive to Bluff Lake, you will go through the central Chilcotin plateau, via Williams Lake, to White saddle Air Services at Bluff Lake, where the helicopter is stationed. We will help you team up with another guest, good to ride share if possible as there is no bus service available. Driving from Vancouver or Calgary, this trip could take up to 10 hours. There is an airstrip at Anahim Lake via Pacific Coastal airlines, from there it is a 1.5 hour drive to Bluff Lake, transportation can be arranged depending on group size.

The Coast mountain weather can vary drastically in winter, it tends to be drier and more stable in the Spring. In April and May, you expect alpine temperatures to be from -15C to 0C in the day while in early morning and at night temperatures could fall well below that. Statistically, advanced Spring offers the best possible weather for ski mountaineering in the Waddington area. The longer days, warmer temperatures, more stable snowpack & typically drier conditions all contribute to this.

Despite the weather trends, visibility may be poor or whiteout conditions when snowing heavily or clear on bluebird days. Ensure you are dressed for all variations as temperatures, wind and precipitation can change within the day.

  • Pre-trip planning support
  • Fully certified IFMGA guide service
  • All helicopter access fees to the Dias Glacier(in and out)
  • Winter camping equipment (tents, stoves and cooking supplies)
  • All Breakfast and Dinners while on trip
  • Group safety equipment (satellite phone, ropes, rescue kit, first aid, GPS, maps)
  • avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel)
  • Alternative plan based on current conditions

Not included in price:

  • Your lunches, snacks
  • 2 nights & breakfast at the White Saddle B & B in Bluff Lake
  • pre & post trip dinners at the White Saddle B & B in Bluff Lake
  • Personal equipment (personal ski & safety gear, sleeping bag, overnight gear, etc.)
  • Transportation to and from Bluff Lake
  • additional costs for accommodation, transportation etc.. due to itinerary change due to weather
  • Trip cancellation insurance, adventure travel insurance, medical insurance

Alpine Ski-touring or Telemark gear? 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 should you use Telemark gear.

Spring skiing the high alpine environment offers variable snow conditions. On one particular run things may go from perfect powder to challenging breakable crust and or variable wind affected snow. When compounded, the variable snow conditions, the long ski touring days and the large day packs all call towards the use of an easier skiing set up like alpine touring.

The Waddington icecap provide a fantastic mountain travel experience. The skis become a traveling medium in the greater goal of getting from A to B. Alpine touring makes for fast and efficient travel hence contributing to a safer and more successful experience.

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