Nirvana Pass March 9-15, 2018

Septentrion Spires

Owen Short, looking out towards the Septentrion Spires. April 12, 2010. Photo: Conrad Janzen

Nirvana Pass Ski Camp
March 9-15, 2018

In the centre of the legendary Pantheon Range, Nirvana Pass is home to mountains as awesome as their mythical namesakes: Osiris, Thor, Siva, Vishnu, and many others. What is most incredible about this area is the number of skiable lines to be found amongst the tumbling glaciers. We will spend a week in March based out of a comfortable tent camp at the apex of the pass, exploring a few of the many incredible ski runs and mountaineering objectives out our front door.

We will have a heated kitchen/cook tent and a drying/shower tent. Access is by helicopter. If you need a tent we can provide you with one.

What’s included: Heli flights in and out of Nirvana Pass,  ALL meals from dinner on March 9 to breakfast on March 15, Guide and Cook fees.

What’s not included: Equipment, transportation, alcoholic beverages, trip cancellation and evacuation insurance.

Price: $2500 CAD + GST

Payment, Booking Conditions

Fee for the week is $2500 CAD + 5% GST. A 50% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. Balance of payment is due 9 January, 2018. You will be invoiced for your payments after you have confirmed your interest in the trip. Please note that deposits are absolutely non-refundable, and final payments (the remainder) are non-refundable after the final payment date (2 months in advance of the trip start date).

Credit Card payments are welcome and of course very easy. Charges are made in CAD which is converted to your local currency at your card company’s rate. We charge an additional 3.5% fee for card transactions. If your credit card provides you with cancellation insurance for this trip let us know and we will lower the convenience fee to 2%. This is because cancelled trips that have cancellation insurance are much less of a headache for everyone, including us. Please consider this option, it could be a very affordable way to protect yourself. But look carefully into your credit card’s fine print to make sure this trip is covered.

Non Credit Card Payments from Canadian clients: If you do not wish to pay by credit card we prefer you pay by E-transfer if possible, sent to twolfe@sawback.com. If electronic banking doesn’t appeal to you, cheques are fine too. There is no additional fee for Canadian E-transfers and cheques.

Non Credit Card Payments from outside Canada (US, Europe, other countries):

  1. Third party electronic transfer: This is the payment method we recommend to foreign clients as it’s easy, inexpensive, and makes our bookkeeping very clean. You will need to fill out an agreement with our currency broker, Ken Fukami from Payline in Canmore, that includes your banking information to coordinate an electronic transfer (SEPA, EFT, etc.) There is no charge for this service, it usually takes about 5 minutes to complete the forms, and is typically around $50-100 cheaper than a wire draft or credit card payment. Contact us, or visit Payline’s website for details. All of our clients have nothing but good things to say about Ken and this method of payment.
  2. Wire draft (bank to bank): Your bank wires our bank the money in CAD. We charge a $20 CAD fee for receiving these payments.
  3. Cheque: in either CAD or in your local currency (e.g. EUR or USD) at a rate that we agree on (see Royal Bank of Canada’s Currency Conversion for current rates used). No additional fee for cheque payments.

Mailing address: Please send cheques to Thomas Wolfe, 234 Grizzly Cr, Canmore, AB, T1W1B5, Canada.

Trip Registration

Please complete our online Waiver and Trip Registration Form. Upon registration you will receive an invoice for your deposit.

Insurance

All fees paid are 100% non-refundable. We cannot be held liable for cancellations of any kind. Therefore we strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation and evacuation insurance to protect you in the event that you need to cancel or there is an emergency during your trip. For the first time, we are offering trip cancellation and evacuation insurance coverage ourselves for a fee of $250+GST per person. Third party insurance is available via Lifestyle Financial, and while we do highly recommend them you still need to ensure that the plan suits your specific needs. Finally, you may find that your credit card offers satisfactory insurance coverage, and so paying with a credit card might be in your best interest. We charge a 3.5% fee for credit card payments, but otherwise this might be the best way to square your bill and cover yourself at the same time — caveat being that you should contact your credit card company to verify they offer insurance for this kind of trip.

Waiver

There will be a waiver of liability and medical form that you will need to sign in order to participate in the ski trip. We will have these ready for you to sign when you arrive. You can view the waiver here: English Waiver. If you have any questions about the waiver please talk to your lawyer or let us know prior to arrival so that we can either answer your questions or put you in touch with someone who can answer them. You will notice there is also a Medical Information Form for emergency contact and medical information. If you wish you can print the Medical portion of the form and fill it out prior to arrival. The waiver will have to be filled out and signed upon arrival.

Legally, you need to be provided with an opportunity to read through it ahead of time so that if you disagree or have difficulty with its contents, you can cancel your ski touring trip prior to traveling. You must read the waiver, understand the waiver, and have any questions you might have about this waiver answered BEFORE showing up for the trip. Warning — we’ll quiz you to make sure!

Guide

Tom Wolfe (Mountain Guide ACMG/IFMGA) has been guiding since moving to Canmore in 1995, the place he calls home with wife, son and daughter. He guides year around, with winters being a mix of ski guiding at lodges, heli-ski operations, and remote backcountry destinations throughout western Canada. Email: twolfe@sawback.com, Cell: (403) 707-9996

Itinerary

Details may change, we will notify as far in advance as possible if this is the case. For example, in an extreme case the venue may need to change (e.g. to the Interior or Rockies) due to conditions.

March 9: Evening, meet for pre-trip briefing and gear check, location TBA

Day 1 (March 9): 7 a.m. Meet at the staging area, about 3.5 hours west of Williams’ Lake. Exact location TBA. Fly in to Nirvana Pass. Camp setup.

Days 2-6: Ski tours and mountaineering objectives around Nirvana Pass.

Day 7 (March 15): a.m. trip finishes, fly out of Nirvana Pass

Equipment & Clothing

You need to bring all of the following personal equipment. Please don’t bring extra equipment. If you have any questions at all about gear please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ski crampons are a must for spring ski touring, and they can make a big difference even on a powder skiing week at times. If you have any difficulty obtaining these please let me know. We have some spares and can likely set you up with a pair. If you have telemark bindings, G3 crampons have an attachment system that works well for most tele bindings.

Clothing

  • 1 – Long underwear top – synthetic or wool (light colors are good)
  • 1 – Light fleece or wool sweater
  • 1 – Lightweight wind jacket – nylon or ‘Schoeller’
  • 1 – Waterproof -breathable shell jacket
  • 1 – Warm insulated jacket – down or synthetic
  • 2-3 Pair of wool or synthetic socks and liner socks
  • 2-3 Pair wool or synthetic underwear
  • 1 – Long underwear bottoms – synthetic or wool
  • 1 – Multipurpose stretch nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type pants
  • 1 – Waterproof breathable shell pants (full zip is best)
  • 1 – Warm hat – wool or synthetic
  • 1 – Brimmed cap  for sun protection
  • 1 – Handkerchief
  • 1 – Face warmer – scarf, neck tube or balaclava
  • 1 – Light gloves – wool, synthetic or leather
  • 1 – Insulated gloves or mitts with waterproof outer shell
  • 1 – Spare warm gloves or mitts
  • 1 – Down or synthetic camp booties (optional)

Travel Equipment

  • Skis or splitboard
  • Ski boots or snowboard boots
  • Ski poles
  • Climbing skins
  • Skin wax (or a candle)
  • Ski crampons (for spring tours)
  • Specific binding repair items to fix your personal travel setup

Glacier Gear

  • Harness – fitted for over your ski clothing (Cilao and Camp make the best lightweight ski touring harnesses)
  • 3 – Light weight locking carabiners
  • 3 – Light weight non-locking carabiners
  • 2 – 6mm by 5m prusik cord (7mm cord is generally too thick!)
  • 1 – 120cm sewn climbing sling (Dyneema or Spectra blends)
  • Crampons – fitted to your ski boots (Aluminium crampons are recommended) • Lightweight ice axe without a leash

Snow Safety Equipment

  • Avalanche beacon with spare batteries
  • Shovel
  • Probe 2-3m in length

Personal Equipment

  • Ski pack (40 litres)
  • Garbage bag to line your pack
  • Duffel Bag
  • Sunglasses (Having both orange and dark lenses is a real benefit for uphill travel in all conditions)
  • Goggles (orange lenses)
  • Sunscreen (60 spf+) and lip cream (30 spf+)
  • Head lamp with good batteries
  • Insulated water bottle(s) 1.5-2L
  • Lunch bag/container (optional)
  • Personal blister kit and/or tape
  • Pocket knife
  • Camera (optional)
  • Sleeping foamy (Ensolite 5-10mm)
  • Sleeping pad (Inflatable style)
  • Sleeping bag (-15 to -25’C rating)
  • 4-season tent — if you do not have your own please contact us and we’ll set you up
  • Plastic eating cup (500 to 750ml)
  • Spoon
  • Personal mug (optional)
  • Hygiene kit – “Wet Wipes”, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hand lotion
  • 1 roll of toilet paper and lighter in a Ziplock bag
  • Pee bottle – 1L (optional)
  • Personal medications
  • Lighter
  • Personal liquor or treats
  • Large stuff sack for carrying food

Group Gear (Provided)

  • Altimeter
  • Map(s) and compass
  • GPS
  • Stoves, Fuel, etc.
  • Pots & pans
  • Stove repair kit
  • Snow and/or bush saw
  • Snow study kit
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency tarp
  • Emergency toboggan
  • Group repair kit
  • Radio
  • Satellite phone
  • Rope for glacier travel
  • Guide book/Route description

 

Bow-Yoho Traverse March 16-22, 2018

Des Poilus Glacier

THIS TRIP IS FULLY BOOKED

The Wapta Icefield is an incredible destination for ski mountaineering. Really, it has it all: an excellent hut system, perfect terrain for traverses, and easy access to excellent ski mountaineering objectives. The best time of the year is late March to late April when the snowpack is settled and you can still count on dry powder runs; this trip is right in that perfect window.

    The classic Wapta Traverse runs roughly north-south across the expanse of the Wapta and Waputik Icefields passing by four ACC huts. The east-west crossing, from Bow Lake to Takkakaw Falls and the #1 Highway near Field, BC is a classic traverse in its own right, but a much more serious one due to the 20-km crossing between the Bow and Stanley Mitchell huts. The new Louise and Richard Guy Hut at Mont des Poilus breaks up this crossing, making the trip safer and more comfortable and accessible.
    The first documented crossing of the Bow-Yoho Traverse was made in summer, 1910 by the renowned Austrian guide, Conrad Kain. Kain guided the route in six days from Laggan (present day Lake Louise) with pack horses to Bow Lake and included a first ascent of Mont des Poilus on July 31, his 27th birthday. (ACC)

The new hut also provides a staging point for objectives around the Des Poilus Glacier zone: Mt. Collie, Mt. Des Poilus, and the exciting steep descent directly to the lower Yoho Glacier are a few of the options that previously required either very long days from huts, or a high camp. Now you’ve got the state-of-the-art Guy Hut to return to at the end of the day! We will spend two nights at the Bow Hut, two nights at the Guy Hut, and a final two nights at Stanley Mitchell Hut.

Bow-Yoho Traverse Dec 28-Jan 1, 2017

Richard and Louise Guy Hut

THIS TRIP IS FULLY BOOKED

The Wapta Icefield is an incredible destination for ski mountaineering. Really, it has it all: an excellent hut system, perfect terrain for traverses, and easy access to excellent ski mountaineering objectives.

    The classic Wapta Traverse runs roughly north-south across the expanse of the Wapta and Waputik Icefields passing by four ACC huts. The east-west crossing, from Bow Lake to Takkakaw Falls and the #1 Highway near Field, BC is a classic traverse in its own right, but a much more serious one due to the 20-km crossing between the Bow and Stanley Mitchell huts. The new Louise and Richard Guy Hut at Mont des Poilus breaks up this crossing, making the trip safer and more comfortable and accessible.
    The first documented crossing of the Bow-Yoho Traverse was made in summer, 1910 by the renowned Austrian guide, Conrad Kain. Kain guided the route in six days from Laggan (present day Lake Louise) with pack horses to Bow Lake and included a first ascent of Mont des Poilus on July 31, his 27th birthday. (ACC)

The new hut also provides a staging point for objectives around the Des Poilus Glacier zone: Mt. Collie, Mt. Des Poilus, and the exciting steep descent directly to the lower Yoho Glacier are a few of the options that previously required either very long days from huts, or a high camp. Now you’ve got the state-of-the-art Guy Hut to return to at the end of the day! We will spend two nights at the Bow Hut, two nights at the Guy Hut, and a final two nights at Stanley Mitchell Hut.