The Adventure

The misunderstood world of Bugaboos glacier hiking

Posted by Topher Donahue on Wed, Feb 29, 2012

We can thank the world-famous and notoriously dangerous Khumbu Icefall on Mt. Everest for giving us the impression that hiking on a glacier is an extreme sport where you take your life in your hands and at any moment a crevasse might open up beneath your feet. 

In reality, many glaciers have vast areas where it is safe to explore without ropes or technical training.  The Bugaboos in British Columbia, a sub range of the greater Canadian Rockies, is one of the best and most accessible places in North America to experience user-friendly glacier hiking.  

While we think of ice as being slippery, quite often glacier ice is a mix of rock, sand and ice that provides excellent friction and makes for easy walking.  Below, hikers cross the otherworldly beauty of the Malloy Glacier.

glacier hike rock

The small lakes that form below glaciers are called tarns, and the water in tarns is often coloured grey or blue by the glacial silt that forms from the grinding of stone deep within the ice.  Here, a hiker walks between two tarns below the Crescent Glacier.

bugaboos crescent tarn

Being on a glacier feels a little like a voyage at sea; the patterns that form in the snow under the hot alpine summer sun take on the patterns of open water.  Here, a hiker enjoys lunch on a rock floating on the Crescent Glacier.

glacier hike lunch
Besides having a professional watching out for your safety, the best thing about traveling with a mountain guide is that everything is more fun.  Here, on a small, safe snowfield near the Vowell Glacier, two families take the advice of their guide to enjoy a bit of bum sliding on their rain jackets while surrounded by the splendors of the Bugaboo Spires.  

sliding glaicer fun
Hiking on glaciers is one of the lesser known, but most unique aspects of CMH Summer Adventures.  In fact, CMH Lodges may be the only place in the world where North Americans can go, in just a long weekend of adventure travel, and experience hiking on remote glaciers by day - and by night relax in a comfortable, remote lodge eating gourmet food and luxuriating in a spa.

Tags: Adventure Travel, Bugaboos, Canadian Rockies, CMH Summer Adventures, hiking