Onion, The

Summit Elevation (m): 2682
Elevation Gain (m): 710
Trip Date: April 22 2011
Round Trip Time (hr): 6
Total Trip Distance (km): 16.5
Quick ‘n Easy Rating: Class 2 – You fall you sprain something. Unless you’re caught in an avalanche or fall into a crevasse. Then you could die.
Difficulty Notes:  Glacier route includes crevasse issues and steep snow slopes. Don’t minimize these risks and learn how to manage them before attempting this trip.
Technical Rating: MN6; YDS (I)
GPS Track: Gaia
Map: Google Maps

On Good Friday, April 22, 2011 I took my brother in law, Mike up his very first Rockies peak. He chose to attempt his first peak on alpine touring gear, which I thought was very admirable considering you can’t really find a more physically challenging way to climb a mountain than with huge skis and boots attached to your feet.

The Onion Route Map

The route for this diminutive summit is obvious. We worked our way slowly to the Bow Hut. From there we followed tracks heading up the headwall and towards Rhondda. When it made sense, we veered climber’s right and skied almost right to the summit of The Onion.

The wind was very chilly for late April and the amount of snow made it seem like January or February up there. I’ve been on the Wapta many times and this was the most snow I’ve ever seen and pretty much the coldest (except for Gordon – THAT was chilly!).

Mike gets ready to come over to the summit. Collie, Rhondda, Habel, Baker and Trapper peak behind him.
A group of skiers heads out across the Wapta Icefield.

Mike was blown away by the great views – that’s why I love taking newbs to the mountains, they get such a huge kick out of the scenery, it reminds me how much I love it too. After snapping some pictures we skied back down to the parking lot on amazingly solid snow, it only warmed up to about 3 degrees in the parking lot. I wonder if summer will ever come this year?

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