KOKANEE GLACIER – Day 1 – Fly in and Lemon Pass

Words by Lee Lau. Pictures by Lee Lau and Steve Hutchison

Other useful links:

  • British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment official web-page for Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park
  • Kootenay Rockies webpage on Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park with summer routes and activities primarily described.
  • Alpine Club of Canada’s webpage on the Kokanee Glacier chalet.

When the Alpine Club of Canada advertised a Two for One special on places to the Kokanee Glacier cabin for the May 5 – 11 week, I thought immediately of my fellow-thrifty good ski buddy Steve. It took me about 10 minutes to convince him that we could do this in style. After the usual gong show of packing, buying food, trip-planning and looking at maps we were on our way to Nelson. We got to meet our fellow trip – mates at the Nelson heli-port.

They looked like an experienced bunch, familiar with helicopters and more importantly, cognizant of being on time at heli-ports.

Loading up at the High Terrain heliport in Nelson

From Nelson, we then drove to the Kokanee Creek assembly point where subsequent heli-flights would touch down. It sure was warm!

Summer hits Kootenay Lake

Winter still in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park

I knew he had snowed a fair bit just recently at the park so wasn’t too worried. It turned out that even at lower altitudes at the Kokanee Glacier chalet (1960m) there was still a pretty large snowpack. All the lakes and creeks had good coverage at the start of the week. There was still over 3m of snow on the glaciers

Healthy snowpack at the chalet

We had the best part of the afternoon to ourselves after unpacking, setting up, getting oriented and playing in the Beacon Basin. However, it was pretty warm so Steve and I just did a short mellow tour over to Lemon Pass to look at terrain. By late afternoon we were back at the chalet, returning by what would become a familiar route over the week – skinning over Kaslo Lake.

The backside of the chalet is where skis are stored

At Lemon Pass looking south to John Carter, Outlook and Glory Basin from left to right

Steve enjoying some late afternoon berms on the ski down

Rich and Marilyn take in the views looking east to Sawtooth Ridge

Sunset over Kokanee Glacier chalet

Day 1’s map route

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