This is a beginner friendly relaxed pace early season leg stretcher ski-tour to Rae Glacer in the high country of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. The highway there closes on December 1, so lets explore the area while we can.
Total touring distance is only about 4.7 km in and 750 m up, on mostly simple terrain, becoming more challenging as we get higher up.
The glacier is a very small one on the steep north aspect just WSW below the peak of Mt. Rae, so there will be no actual glacier travel. Depending upon snow conditions, we may not even reach the glacier, but we'll explore as high as we can and hopefully get some fine early season turns in.
The trailhead is the Elbow Lake trailhead and parking lot, starting at about 2,000 m elevation. We skin up from there to the picturesque Elbow Lake backcountry campsites, then along the right (south) shore of the lake, following the drainage up towards climber's right to Rae Glacier. The trip posting photo is from October 10, 2014 and shows the part of the tour well above Elbow Lake. There is a small chance that there may be some walking, so be prepared, but there is usually sufficient snow even down at the parking lot and the wide summer trail helps provide a "base" for skiing down on, and this year looks good, too.
The trailhead location and terrain can be seen at the following link:
Depart Time & Carpooling:
At 7:00 am folk from Calgary can meet up at Wayne's home in west Calgary (off of Old Banff Coach Road east of the Canada Olympic Park).
At 8:30 am we meet up with Canmore/Banff folk at Beamers Coffee shop on Hwy 1A (A - 1702 Bow Valley Trail, between the DQ and the Subway shop).
From Canmore its 95 km to the trailhead.
When you register for this trip, please email to the trip coordinator where you want to meet in the morning of the trip (Canmore or Calgary) and if you have a car that you can take and how many it can hold. Thank you.
It is a straightforward route so a large party of about 10 should be no problem, then if there is sufficient interest we won't have to leave anyone behind. : - ).
Emails to the group will follow, prior to the trip, so everyone knows how many are in the party, where we meet and how many cars we take.
Safety first: When you register for this trip, please email to the trip coordinator a little information on your backcountry ski touring experience (# days ski touring so far, biggest vertical day so far, and your safety training, if any (AST-1, AST-2, etc)); then we can just get a feel for the experience of the group as a whole. Thank you.
Your trip coordinator will bring waivers to sign. Please ensure you have read and properly complete and sign the waiver when we meet in the morning. Copies can be found at the "Download Waiver" link which becomes available above when you are logged in as a member.
Bring the usual gear; touring skis or splitboard, skins, poles, beacon, probe, shovel, warm clothes, water, lunch ... and that big beautiful smile.
Lets go ski touring.
- 1-2 - Simple to Challenging