Kokanee Glacier Traverse
Aug 3rd and 4th we headed into Kokanee Glacier park which is within spitting distance of Nelson BC. The original plan was to climb the Keyhole and traverse down into Coffee Pass then up Mt. Kain and over to the Woodbury Glacier. Unfortunately Monsoon June put the kibosh on this plan as the access road to Woodbury is closed for the next few weeks. Plan B was less ambitious with a climb up Kokanee Glacier, practice some crevasse rescue skills and then traverse the glacier over to the Keyhole and out that way.
Day one was a gentle walk along the access trail to Kokanee Glacier Cabin which was snow free but full of hoards of hikers. After 3 hours of hiking we reached the cabin and enjoyed the views at Kaslo Lake. After lunch we headed over to the old Slocan Chief Cabin (which is now a museum) to take in some of the local history and past exploits of miners, climbers and even the national ski team. After a brief rest we hit the snow and headed for the toe of the glacier where we geared up with rope, ice axe and crampons. We made camp for the night in the shadow of the 'Battleship' on a nice flat rock outcropping and enjoyed the alpenglow and glacier views. We spent the next morning practicing crevasse rescue techniques with a few scenarios to ensure our Aussie guest was up to the challenge ahead. Kokanee Glacier was completely snow covered and made for easy travel with minimal crevasses exposed. With a little ice axe probing we were able to skirt the few crevasses that were visible near the crest of the glacier and easily reach the height of the glacier at around 8,000ft. We had a quick ascent of Mt. Esmeralda and lunch on Cond Peak and after a brief rest were ready for down mode. We descended the Keyhole on choppy scree and stayed on as much snow as possible to take in some enjoyable boot skiing. We eventually met up with the Keyhole trail which led us to the Kokanee Glacier Cabin Trail and after a few more km we were back at the parking lot.
The total distance was around 20km and elevation gain a modest 4,700ft over two days.
Some pics of the trip (click to enlarge):
Kokanee Glacier Cabin in the far bottom right.
Crampon, rope and ice axe time.
Bluebird day and good snow for travelling.
One of the most stunning spots to set up camp.
The view out the front door was not bad.
Kokanee Glacier fully snow covered.
Some of the gear that helped on this trip was:
Klymit Inertia X Frame Sleeping Pad and Cush Seat Pillow (still reviewing)