R.J. Ritchie (Balfour) Hut, Wapta Icefield, Banff National Park
Part of the Wapta Icefield Traverse, and a great base for summer and winter mountaineering. 3-5 hours from the Bow Hut. Glacier travel experience and equipment required. Class B+, sleeps 18 (16 in winter).
This is the half-way mark for the Wapta Traverse and is usually used in conjunction with the other huts in this chain while attempting this classic cross-glacier ski trip. Usual approach is from Bow Hut through the Olive/St. Nicholas Col then down the gentle and pleasant Vulture Glacier to Balfour Pass, where the hut sits on a section of moraine beneath the impressive bulk of Mt. Balfour.
Though most people will spend one night at the R.J. Ritchie (Balfour) Hut before continuing on to Scott Duncan, there is potential for good skiing here, especially on the Diableret Glacier which sits northwest of Mt. Balfour and makes for a fantastic run on a clear day! There is also an optional route to the summit of Mt. Gordon from this hut, which would be an excellent loop trip if combined with the normal route back towards Bow Hut. Use your imagination and some neat trip ideas will present themselves!
The R.J. Ritchie (Balfour) Hut is a Class B+ hut with propane stoves and lanterns, cooking supplies and foamies for 18 in summer and 16 in winter. There is quite good summer potential here as well, with the little-known North Ridge of Mt. Balfour being a forgotten gem of the Rockies.
See also Whyte (Peyto), Bow and Scott Duncan Huts.
The most common approach is the scenic one from Bow Lake n the Banff-Jasper highway and it takes most parties about three to six hours to the Bow Hut. Members of the party should have experience travelling through avalanche terrain. Another day of travel will get you to the Balfour hut.
(a) Click Wiki Edit This Page to get placed in edit mode
(b) When finished, your update is available to view as draft (click wiki update pending in trail to see draft)
* note: editors are notified and must approve the change