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Mt. Gordon (3203m)

Once again, I did this trip with my Dad and my friend Mark. This is the mountain that is right smack dab in the middle of the Waputik Range. It might look like just a high point in the glacial ice, but it is actually the 2nd highest mountain in the Wapta area (Waputik Range). Considering it's great height and that it's almost foolproof (you can ski right to the top), this mountain gets a lot of attention. From the Bow Hut it's a 12 km round trip, with 850 meters of elevation. For more info see Chic Scott's Summits and Icefields.

After you leave the Bow Hut, start skiing up the tongue of the glacier which runs down behind the hut. Make sure you're in the time of the season when adequate snow bridges are formed, as in the summer I've heard that this glacier is very crevassed. Once you gain the icefields, stop in amazement at the expanse of what lays before you. The day that we were up on the Icefields was white sky and not blue, but for some reason the visiblity was high and the weather never socked in! I guess we were lucky as whiteouts are more common than one would think. We shedded layers on the grunt onto the Icefield, but once we arrived here it suddenly got cold, so on came the jackets! Contour around the side of St. Nicholas which is the towering mountain that looms over the hut until Mount Gordon is in view. We were lucky in the fact that a French party of 6 who had left earlier in the morning made a trail up Gordon, but as we travelled we were disturbed by the periodic yellow spots in the snow beside the trail!

We continued up the arm of Gordon running parallel of the outcropping rocks on the west side, until below the huge ice bulge, and more specifically the rock to the side of it. Here we were met by ferocious winds coming out of a natural wind tunnel in a trench by this rock. Soon after, the grade steepens surprisingly for about 15-20 feet, allowing you to crest the ridge. A spectacular phenomenon occurs after you surmount the ridge. If you have a few other members in your party, I can guarantee at least one of them will just start sprinting to the top with a huge boost of energy, as the summit is only 5 minutes away. The problem for us was that the snow was extremely packed by the wind here, and it was just like skating on ice. From the top you are granted extraordinary views of almost everything. Behind Mark, Me and the Summit Register you can recognize many peaks of the Lake Louise range, which is just across the Kicking Horse River Valley from here.

One of the views is of the Little Yoho Valley to the south. On the right is the farthest west extension of the Wapta Icefiels, the Glacier des Poilus, which is the ending point for the East-West Wapta Traverse. In the Little Yoho valley you can notice many things such as the Whaleback and if you look closely enough even Twin Falls which is circled in red.

After a fun descent down the ascent route of Gordon, you finally hit the flats of the Icefield. Here we are taking a breather in the shadow of Mt. St. Nicholas. The trick here is not to sit down in the French party's pee spots, as we must have encountered at least 6 or 7 of them, with 2 spots right on the summit! Enough about that. Let's change the subject. Ski on across the icefields until just north of St. Nicholas at which point the Telemarkers get excited because of the great ski down the tongue of the glacier. Beware though that there are crevasses - I took a breather and my dad came down about 20 feet to the side of me telling me to move because I was lying on a snowbridge! I have no idea how I didn't notice! Maybe I was just getting tired. I'll have to watch out next time. After 1 day up to the Bow Hut and 1 day climbing Mt. Gordon, it was one last night at the hut before heading back to reality in a blizzard the next day. back to ski page