The Waddington Range has some of the most spectacular mountains in Canada, with huge relief, steep faces, and large broken glaciers.
Mt Waddington is the highest peak in the Coast Mountains at 4019m elevation. A ski ascent/descent of the North West Summit (~ 4000m) is achievable for most ski mountaineers in a long day with favourable conditions.
After a beautiful long helicopter flight to these remote mountains over Fury Gap, we will set up our basecamp on the Dais Glacier. From our camp ~ 2000m elevation, we will have access to countless superb ski mountaineering routes including the North West Summit of Mt Waddington. Other objectives may include Brokenhead Mountain, Mt Cavalier, Jester Mountain, Mt Munday, Mt Chris Spencer, Finality Mountain, Whitetip Mountain, or even the Combatant Couloir....
We have allowed for 14 days for this 10 day trip to maximise our chances of being able to line it up with a suitable weather window for flying and skiing.
Photos on this page are from a basecamp on the Dais Glacier, taken by Brian Baker, Mo Rasiah and myself, plus some from a trip to Nirvana Pass in 2022.
April/May 2024 - 14 day window (Dates TBC)
Day 1: Meet at White Saddle Air (Bluff Lake, BC) at 5pm to meet the group and do some final packing.
Day 2: Fly in a helicopter to the Dais Glacier and set up basecamp.
Days 3-10: Ski mountaineering objectives from basecamp including the NW Summit of Mt Waddington.
Day 11: Pack up camp and fly back to Bluff Lake.
Days 12-14: Extra days for weather
(Please note: If weather and conditions are not suitable for the above itinerary, we may have to wait for several days at Bluff Lake, or choose a different destination such as Nirvana Pass. Excellent weather is required for flying into Waddington, so a long weather window is required and the possibility of getting stuck at camp is real.)
- Previous ski mountaineering experience, including the use of ski crampons, boot crampons and an ice axe.
- Ability to safely descend steep and exposed slopes up to 40 degrees in poor condition.
- Good fitness to be able to manage a 2000m climb to the NW Summit of Mt Waddington.
- Able to perform uphill and downhill kick-turns.
- Return helicopter flight to Dais Glacier
- Breakfasts and dinners at basecamp
- Dining/kitchen tent
- 3:1 guiding ratio
- Group gear including ropes
- 10 days of guiding (extra days for flexibility with weather)
- Transceiver and spare batteries
- Ski touring skis or splitboard
- Personal repair kit specific to your equipment
- Skin wax (or a candle)
- Ski touring boots/plastic snowboarding boots
- Boot crampons (compatible with your boots)
- Ski Crampons
- Ice axe
- Ski poles
- Headlamp and spare batteries
- Goggles and/or spare sunglasses
- Personal first aid supplies
- Sun hat
- Lip balm with UV protection
- 2 x 1L wide mouth water bottles or Thermos (NO bladders due to freezing, leaking and filling issues)
- Gore-tex (or equivalent) jacket
- Gore-tex (or equivalent) pants
- Puffy jacket or two depending on thickness
- Puffy pants (recommended for around camp)
- Warm layers for upper and lower body adequate for below freezing temperatures and wind
- Socks x 2-3
- Thick gloves
- Thin gloves
- Spare gloves
- 3 locking carabiners
- 4 non-locking carabiners
- 240cm sewn sling or equivalent
- Personal prussik
- 35-45L backpack
- 4-season tent (let us know if you want to rent one well in advance)
- Stuff sacks (or alternative) to anchor tent in snow
- Guylines for tent
- Sleeping Bag (at least -12 degrees)
- Sleeping Mats (closed cell foam plus air mattress for insulation and redundancy)
- Down/synthetic booties for wearing around camp
- Pee bottle (recommended)
- Lunch/snacks for 9 days of ski mountaineering (Breakfast and dinners provided)
- Large bowl
- Drinking mug with lid
All of your trip gear including the above must fit in your daypack and a 90L duffle bag. Your lunches/snacks/drinks should fit within a 40L rubbermaid or equivalent.
If you're flying to or within Canada, the closest airport is Williams Lake (500km North of Vancouver). From here you can rent a car (or catch a ride with other participants who are driving) and drive 243km West to the helicopter waiting at Bluff Lake. There is no food, cell reception or gas at Bluff Lake, so make sure you arrive prepared. We recommend staying at the White Saddle Country Inn the night before we fly into the mountains (they have wi-fi), although it is also possible to camp on the beach near the hanger if you don't mind wind and rain.