Finally the weather, our schedules, and back country avalanche conditions lined up over a weekend, allowing Ben, Steven and I to plan a 2 day excursion to the northern end of the Wapta Icefield. I am rapidly closing in on a long-sought summit list of all the Wapta peaks and only one peak remained for me on the hard-to-access northern end - Peyto Peak. As is usual for us, original plans varied widely and finally we settled last minute on the Peyto Hut area. The plan was to leave Calgary around 04:30 and hopefully arrive at Peyto Hut with enough day light for Ben and Steven to bag Mount Baker on Saturday. Sunday we would ascend Peyto Peak before heading out. For the most part, this plan executed flawlessly.
The drive to the Peyto Lake winter access parking spot along hwy 93 went quickly due to the lack of traffic. A skiff of new snow threatened to make our approach a bit more work, but we could still follow old ski tracks through the confusing forested ridges before arriving at Peyto Lake. The temperature and snow pack was decent on the lake and we made good time. Crossing the Peyto Lake input stream through the narrows was no problem either and soon we were staring up at the depressing sight that is the moraine energy sucker that must be ascended and then descended to access the Peyto Glacier. I have taken the canyon route on descent before but you need lots of snow and low avy conditions to make this route viable and safe. This was my 5th or 6th time up that dang moraine, and it never ceases to amaze me how much bloody work it is. I found a 'new' route for accessing the lower moraine which avoids ascending really steep avy slopes directly beneath it. I followed what must be the summer access up a ledge (old road) on climber's... To see the full trip report you must login as a paid member. Use the Login Page. (message p3)
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