The real game of the Easter weekend, snowshoeing all the way from parking lot to Bot Hut, to Wapta Icefield, to Mt. Gordon, then to St. Nicolas Peak. If my camera has more space, I could definitely check off Mt. Olive as well. But too bad I took near 500 photos already. The Snowshoeing Book's suggest time is too pessimistic. Considering my mom's age, we still made back in less than 12 hours. If my partner's fitness level is similar to mine, we could probably be back in 10 hours.
The temperature dropped to -21 degrees in the morning, and it was even harder to get everything start. However, the weather was way much better than the previous day. Because we just finished Crowfoot Mountain the day before, we had fresh memory about the approach. It's the same until after the second canyon. For Crowfoot Mountain, you have to venture left into the trees again. If going to Bow Hut, go straight into the alpine bowl and turn right at the very end. The sun started to show up at this stage, a bluebird day was waiting for us! We made a wrong turn and ended up going up an unnecessary steep slope. You probably want to go further into the bowl/cirque before turning right. According to Vern Dewit's trip report, Bow Hut is an energy sucker... So, we didn't venture into the Hut, instead continue straight towards the Wapta Icefield.
The lower section of the glacier is heavily crevassed. However, among all the skiers (more than 20 skiers) I've seen during the day, no one roped up the Icefield, neither did we. The ascent is very straightforward, but yet very foreshortened. It took us forever to get up the big hill behind Bow Hut. We slowly worked our way up the glacier below the north face of St. Nicolas Peak, during which we met a group of skiers coming down. Gordon looked to be very close but actually far away. It has 3203m elevation and St. Nicolas Peak only has elevation of 2970m. You gonna be higher than all the Wapta mountains except for Balfour when you reach the summit, don't be fooled by the foreshortened view. Once thing about the Icefield peaks is, they all look much closer than the reality. I like to trust the map rather than my eyes.
Too bad mom was exhausted after topping out on Wapta Icefield. I slowed down the pace significantly but she still couldn't catch up. I also saw some clouds starting for forming so I needed to be quick. So I let her to wait for me and I started the solo slog up Mount Gordon. Note that you should NEVER solo the glacier unless you know what you're doing. It indeed took me longer than anticipated. The summit offers the best view that I've ever seen in the Rockies. The wintery condition makes the scenery even better. Take a look at my photos and you gonna have an idea. Bring a map and try to identify as many peaks as you can! I didn't stay too long on the summit because I was also planing to do St. Nicolas Peak the same day.
Descending this peak was much faster. It would be much much faster if I was on skis though. Anyway, I soon re-joined mom.