Ideas Wanted: Ski Mountaineering in South East Alaska and the Canadian Rockies

Original Post
Will Cohn · · Breckenridge, CO · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 185

Hey everyone, looking for some ideas on locations to check out next May/June for a 14-21 day ski mountaineering trip. Looking for an area that requires one to be flown into and can provide enough ski options for a trip of this length.

I realize this type of post is frowned upon by many but I'm really just looking for general ideas. No specific beta on objectives needed, just looking for areas to check out. If you're willing to share, it'd be much appreciated. Thanks.

christoph benells · · tahoma · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 235

southeast Alaska- as far as I know that time of year can pretty sloppy in terms of snow, no real freeze thaw cycle so its just isothermic mush...maybe alright on higher elevation mountains, like 10,000'+?

I think end of March/April would be much better. Most skiers tend to fly with FLY DRAKE or ULTIMA THULE. Haines area would be my suggestion.

I would do the Alaska Range for better conditions May/June time of year. Even there anything but north facing slopes can be pretty nasty and dangerous with wet slides. Denali has great skiing all around it.

Anyone who lives in SE Alaska maybe can chime in for better reference?

No idea about canadian rockies. Cascade Volcanoes are prime that time of year, but obviously much less of an excursion.

Andy Novak · · Golden, Co · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 305

Selkirks/bugs. Look into Canadian Mountain Holidays. The Chugach would be nice too. Lots of companies up there.

Taylor-B. · · Valdez, AK · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 3,060
christoph benells wrote:ULTIMA THULE
Wrangell St. Elias is a good option:)
christoph benells · · tahoma · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 235

what type of terrain are you after?

big expedition style climb and ski,

or powder spines freeride style?

Dow Williams · · St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 240

Will, May-June is not conducive to good backcountry skiing in the Canadian Rockies. Multi-day back country ski days like the Wapta Icefield are best done in the winter when the glaciers have good coverage. Believe it or not, I have had great waterfall ice days in May, but not on the steeper pieces, they normally fall by early Feb and cannot reform. Global warming. Good Luck on your trip.

I would have guided a trip like this in January for example....hut to hut, no heli...we would have skinned up from the Icefield Parkway

Wapta Icefield

Will Cohn · · Breckenridge, CO · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 185

Thanks to everyone that has left feedback so far, I really appreciate it.

I do realize that May-June isn't the best time of year for backcountry skiing/ski mountaineering. But, unfortunately, my partners and I are limited by our academic schedules. We are also thinking more big expedition style climb and ski opposed to powder spines freeride style.

christoph benells · · tahoma · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 235

I think you should ski denali.

its the place to be, and good skiing around all the camps on down days. fun times, good party.

skiing off the summit is pretty mellow if you follow the west butt, (although it is denali, a huge and unforgiving mountain)

or you can do messner or orient express if you are really good. (and i mean really good, probably only a few descents of those lines per season)

may 28th, 2015, conditions get better further into june...

snowboarding at 20,000 feet

Dow Williams · · St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 240

You will not want your skis for mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies during that time of year. Mount Hector is a good example..we skin up roped up and ski down un-roped in the winter. Late spring/early summer is the absolute worst time to take skis on a mountain like Hector. The snow bridges are wet and heavy....skiing down a glaciated mountain in the winter, risk/reward worth it for most of us....Columbia, Twins...they will all offer the same issue that time of year...not enough coverage to be hauling skis on your back and to dangerous to be skied that time of year. Ski mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies is based on glaciated mountains. BC and/or the coast might offer you some safer options...

Mount Hector Skiing in March

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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