When Catrin Brown told me of her scheme to do a hut to hut ski traverse of the Esplanade range, I was intrigued with the idea. Not only was it like a mini Haute Route but it allowed a taste of the terrain around four different Golden Alpine Holidays Huts in the Selkirks. It also sounded like a good way to round off the season with some spring skiing.
Our plan was to travel from Sentry Lodge southward to Sunrise Lodge staying at Vista and Meadow Lodges along the way, as well as bagging some summits and getting in some turns.
It was a bit of a logistical challenge organizing food and supplies for a dozen people to four huts via helicopter, utilizing empty space on flights that were simultaneously emptying lodges of their occupants. We scrambled at the staging area in the hour before our flight to pull it off using multiple colour coded ribbons, piles of boxes and a lot of duct tape. In the end there were only a few items that ended up in unintended locations. Oh well…
We arrived at Sentry lodge to incredible conditions. We expected spring skiing but we arrived to full on -17 temperatures and powder snow. Fortunately the wind that accompanied the snowfall subsided, the sun came out, and the conditions became more and more stable as time went on. We explored and skied in the area around Sentry for a couple days and then began our journey south. Route finding was relatively simple and we had no major dramas along the way, just spectacular views and fantastic skiing. After we arrived at each day’s destinations we were often able to get out to explore and crank some turns in the area around each hut.
Everyone ended the trip tired, with full bellies and with happy, if not a bit sun-burnt faces. I have to admit it was a bit sad to close the door on Sunrise Lodge behind us for the season knowing there was still so much good skiing left.
In case anyone is interested in what the terrain on our adventure was like, please check out the short video I made on the trip:
Esplanade Traverse ACCVI
Special thanks to Catrin, and the folks at GAH, who worked really hard to organize and make this trip happen.