6h 34min: New speed record on the full Wapta Traverse by 1 hour!

Back in 2012 my two good friends and Canadian Skimo Team members, Melanie Bernier and Ian Gale, partnered together for what at the end happened to be a new record for the full Wapta Traverse. They set it down to 7 h 35 min for this 43 km long and 2200 m of gain famous ski traverse in the Canadian Rockies.

By skiing down from Balfor Col guys were realizing a great time is in sight.

By skiing down from Balfor Col guys were realizing a great time is in sight.

Last Sunday, May 11th, a duo of another two skimo friends (that were still “novices” back in 2012) consisting of Peter Knight and Travis Brown took advantage of some fine weather and hit the traverse in what looks like stellar speed conditions. At the end, Peter and Travis shaved 1h of the old record and set the bar to 6 h 34 min!

When we got onto the glacier, there was 1-2cms of new snow on top of a very supportive crust and it was actually faster to ditch the old drifted in skintrack and make our own. – from Travis’ blog post

I like to think that the recent interview for Skintrack gave them the final boost of motivation that pushed them towards such a great performance – they had to match the hype with performance :)

And here is what Peter had to say about their effort in his usual style:

We weren’t feeling too bad afterwards and we contemplated doing a Bow Summit victory lap when picking up Travis’ car.

Wapta Traverse details

Here’s a screen picture after Travis uploaded their day from his Suunto Ambit 2 (watch review here).


And here is a publicly available Wapta ski traverse map on Google maps:

For more info and photos from their day see their Suunto’s Movescount file and Travis’ blog post.

Wapta under 6h?

For over a year now, I have been long convinced the Wapta traverse can go under 6h, perhaps even close to 5h. However, everything would have to line up perfectly – conditions, people in shape in the right time, and sufficient snow pack that season.

What do you think? Can be Wapta done in 5h?

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  1. Hi Bryon, yes he did so with Melanie Bernier last year. I don’t have an article about that specific performance but they yes the current FKT on Wapta is just around 5h 30min.

  2. Bryon Howard says:

    Hey … I think Travis has done this in under 5 hours 30min? Any updated links?

  3. James, will need to leave that up to him :)

  4. Travis, agreed!

  5. James Minifie says:

    Maybe we could clone him???

  6. It’s definitely doable in 5 hours with the right conditions. Pete and I took a lot of breaks (20 minutes alone of poop breaks haha). It’s just a matter of having perfect snow conditions and lots of skintracks line up with the right party. With the Wapta it’s impossible to know what conditions will be the whole way, and because of the huge distance and elevation changes, conditions are completely different on each section.

  7. We got quite a bit faster over the last 2 years James but yes, not up to Euro speeds yet.

    However, I believe there is one NA animal capable of doing Wapta in 5, the trouble is, he would have to go solo as no one could keep up. You know him ;)

  8. Sure. Wapta could be done in 5 hours. But not by any current North Americans. We are getting faster but not there yet. The Euros would have to come over and do it.

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