Great Divide Traverse
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Planning and Preparation

Food Preparation
Food Caches

"Great trip, great adventure. Great cleanup? You will get no respect from me unless you leave no trace in the form of food cache pails." - Paul from Fernie

Plan to carry all your garbage with you, including food cache setups (dry bags, cables, etc.). Alternatively, plan in extra time to clean up caches after the traverse.
Remember to preserve the unique mountain environment that we all admire so much!

Food preparation
We estimated about 2 pounds of food per person per day. Here are a few guidelines that more or less worked for us.

Breakfast: oatmeal+nuts+sugar+dried fruit mixes, or bacon+eggbeater, coffee, milk and protein powder

On the way: tea with lots of brown sugar, Emergen-C/vitamin powder

Lunch (4 persons): ca. 500g of bread/bagels/tortillas, ca. 400-500g of cheese+meat+peanut butter and butter!

Snacks: about 180g per person per day - Cliff bars (shotblocks, bars), cereal bars, Snickers, trailmix, Ritter Sport, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate, caramel, gums etc.

Dinner: soup (2 Knorr soups per day or instant noodles), dehydrated dinners (don't forget lots of carbo hydrates like rice or pasta), dessert (pudding, chocolate chip cookies, shortcake cookies)

Other: AA batteries for GPS and SPOT, AAA batteries for beacons and headlamps, toilette paper, stove gas (ca. 500ml per day for four persons), hand/feet warmers, matches, gourmet chocolate, alcohol, fresh socks and underwear, tooth paste

Pack in some extra food for rest days at the cache: yoghurt with dates, extra breakfast, extra pack of pasta with butter, spices and oil etc.

Food caches
Storing: we used two dry bags per cache and hung them into the trees + white gas containers (that we carried with us during the trip)

Fortress Lake: west side (40km/3-4 days ski in), Fortress Creek Campground (28km/3 days ski in) or east side (24km from Sunwapta Falls/highway)

Alexandra River: right where the trail leaves the river valley and ascents towards the Warden Cabin. Ski in can be done in a very long day or two.
Hint: This is a good meeting point for friends to join you for a night: supply extra food, replace broken equipment, carry out your garbage.
Also, meeting friends will provide you with the necessary motivation for the difficult ascent of the Alexandra glacier.

Blaeberry River: at the junction with Wildcat Creek, or at Mistaya Lodge

Depending on the time of year, plan for full winter conditions. On glacier camps it gets very cold (-25 Celcius).
Here are some guidelines that more or less worked for us:
stoves:2 MSR with extra stove pump (plastic)
tents:two Hubba Hubba 3 seasons - gets very cold on glacier camps, poles are fragile
mattress:recommended exped down mat
sleeping bag:Warm! A -9 bag gets you by but you will have bad nights. Recommended: -15 to -20 bag with enough room for drying cloth. You will appreciate that extra warmth after the first week.
layers:down jacket, additional wool sweater for evenings, fleece pants, gore/softshell and other layers
gloves:Warm and at least two pairs! Keep in mind that glacier camp temperatures are -25 Celcius even in mid April.
socks:You can get by with as few as two pairs, one for skiing that you dry out in your sleeping bag at night and the other for sleeping, but it is nicer to have two dry pairs for sleeping. Take expedition/hut booties, ideally with a second insole for isolation.
bindings:Pack a repair kid for your ski bindings (particular Telemark) and a knife for frozen bindings.
first aid:lots of sun screen, anti-inflamatories (frostbite), moleskin (blisters), cream for wounds/dry skin, scissors, heat packs, normal first aid
beacons:Start with fresh batteries. Batteries last for about one week, longer if you sleep with them. Test your beacon before - some consume more than others (by quite a margin).
climbing:one 60m (half-)rope for rappels and glacier travel, each glacier travel equipment (harness, carabiners, prusiks and slings for crevasse rescue that fit your rope), at least one ice axe/tool
optionally (we took but did not need it): two ice screws, two sets of crampons
bottles:Take an extra Nalgen or fill the alcohol of your cache into one.
utensils:one big spoon for cooking, a bowl (double sided metal for isolation is best) + cup + spoon each
other:lots of duc tape, knife, note book, other tools

Skiing and climbing is dangerous, take responsibility, ski and climb at your own risk. login