Snowshoeing Guide is here

Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies by Andrew Nugara. Published by Rocky Mountain Books

Nugara-snowshoe-coverWow!  This book should really up  the  ante on what is possible with snowshoes. No longer will anyone  think of snowshoeing as a flat walk through the woods. As Andrew says: “the world of snowshoeing seems to be undergoing rapid changes and shifts in focus,” largely owing to technological advances in snowshoe design. And that snowshoers can now set their sights on more lofty  objectives previously the domain of mountaineers and ski mountaineers. And that really is what 53 of the routes described in this book are about : routes up ridges and peaks you’ve never even thought of climbing in winter. i.e snowshoe mountaineering. Some of the routes cross glaciers and most require avalanche knowhow. And you had better be fit because some like Mt. Jellicoe are incredibly long

So while  this book on the one hand is a trend-setter and great  for the adventurous wanting to go higher and steeper, on the other hand  it’s not quite so useful for the plodders who are quite content to continue plodding through the woods to lakes and viewpoints without running the risk of avalanche danger. The number of easy routes (which Andrew calls beginner routes) is 16  and  includes many  Kananaskis Country favorites like Rummel, Chester and Rawson lakes. The easy classification is a broad one ranging from Hogarth Lakes to the north ridge of Mount Buller, which, though free of avalanche danger, is a strenuous bushwhack. The number of true beginner routes is actually quite low and many official snowshoe trails that novices might flock to have been omitted, including those at West Bragg, which means that a segment of the snowshoeing public are going to  have to look elsewhere for that information. (Check out snowshoe trails on this site.) Andrew readily admits all this and agrees that this first edition is biased towards the hard stuff! But he plans to even things out in the next edition by including the whole raft of easy to moderate trips listed in appendix D—which he has yet to snowshoe. Regarding the easy routes, kudos to Andrew for adding on more difficult extensions. A good example of this is Warspite Lake. Depending on your level of expertise, you can stay put (easy), or continue up into the cirque (moderate) from where you can climb Warspite Ridge (difficult).

To sum up, this is an attractive looking book with excellent writing and colour photos, some with the routes marked on, and good topo maps at the back of book with routes marked on in red. There is a section at the beginning on equipment, technique, etiquette  and avalanche hazard and an appendix on snowshoeing on the Wapta and Columbia Icefields. Routes are described by highway starting in Waterton National Park and range up through the Rockies to the north edge of Banff National Park.

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