Bonnington Traverse

Kootenay Boundary

emaculberson , Thursday 11th April, 2024 7:10PM

Bonnington Traverse MIN report April 3-6th. 4 friends completed the Bonnington traverse over 4 days and 3 nights. Very excited to write my first MIN report with the help and observations from my team! Day 1 We began the first leg of our journey late morning on the 3rd of april. There was still ample snow at the trailhead of Bombi summit (1220m), however, it was quite wet and sticky due to the warmth. However, compaction on the road from the snowmobiling made for decent travel. The wet and sticky snow persisted as we climbed up towards the hut, until the evening cooling which hardened the snowpack, making for challenging turns on the crusty snow. Day 2 We began our second day of the traverse at 1910m, the snow was still crusty in the morning with slight dust on top. Around mid-day, we had the opportunity to transition and make some turns, the snow was still pretty firm around 2000m, however, the snow became heavier around 1800m. The spring warming cycle and strong surface crust seems to have bridged the weak layers in the snowpack. We crossed a south aspect slope which was being abused by the wind around 1990m, it was steep and icy, ski crampons were life savers! At the end of the day we could spot Steed Hut before descending the last pitch of the day. Day 3 Similar to previous days, snow up high was decent, with 5cm of new snow sitting on a crust. It was warmer at lower elevation bands, so skiing was challenging. However, no signs of instability were noted during the day. There were still places to cross the creek at the bottom of the valley where the rivers meet (~1400m). Day 4 We were pleasantly surprised with a bit of a pow day as a result of the overnight snow and ridgetop winds. We left Copper Hut with ~10cm of new snow and we did not see any signs of instability. As it was a ridgetop walk day, we saw firsthand the spatial variability of the snowpack. Some wind loading was observed on the North/East aspects. Then the snow on the South/West aspects were wind affected, we occasionally observed shooting cracks underfoot and some steeper pockets (10m x 10m) popped in obvious sections that had been hammered by the wind - however nothing for us to be concerned about as we stayed on top of the ridge and out of harm's way. We found the ridge cornices were well managed by the heli-skiing operations, but in places there were still small wind-lips. On the way down, above 1800m (barrett lake) was lovely fluffy snow sitting atop a hard crust, which made for surprisingly pleasant skiing. Below 1800m it turned into soggy mashed potatoes but that did not matter as we were on the road out. Some parts of the road required us to take our skis off, but generally a quick ski out. We had to walk the last 1km to the porto rico trailhead.

Source: Avalanche Canada MIN