Rogers Pass, in Canada’s Glacier National Park, offers the combination of deep powder skiing with easy access. Although the pass is only 4300 feet in elevation, many of the surrounding peaks are well over 10000 feet give big vertical relief and long ski runs.
The big vertical also make for big snowfall as storms track over the height of the Selkirks, giving lots of deep powder skiing. When the weather is bad, there is trees, avalanche paths and open glades. When the weather is good the open alpine bowl and large glaciers offer the best combination of untracked snow, good skiing and spectacular scenery.
Many of the high peaks in the area can be climbed on skis or with a minimal amount of mountaineering, offering the thrill of getting to a summit.
Rogers Pass, Ski Destination For All
Although this area has become more popular in recent years, it is still backcountry skiing and demands a healthy amount of respect for mountain hazards, especially avalanches and crevasses.
The steep skiing, while exciting in good conditions, can be dangerous with new snow and must be treated with caution. A qualified mountain guide will help you reduce the risks while still being able to enjoy skiing. Your guide will also know where to find the best-untracked lines when it hasn’t snowed in a while.
The steep terrain and deep snow offer an excellent place to learn more about avalanches and how to travel safely. Avalanche courses can be tailored to meet your needs.
Rogers Pass Offers Hiking & Rock Climbing too!
Although mainly known as a winter ski destination, Rogers Pass was the scene of the first mountaineering in Canada and offers some excellent climbs with few people.
The best know is Mount Sir Donald, which is featured as one of the 50 classic climbs in North America. Its popularity is well deserved, steep and exposed, yet relatively easy, the North West ridge offers excellent Quartzite on one of the highest summits in the Pass.
Don’t let the easy grade of 5.3 fool you, it is a long climb and many parties have spent the night out on it. Other peaks such as Mt Tupper, the Hermit, Mount Rogers or Youngs Peak offer anything from long ridge climbs to the easy glacier walk up.
Trails & Routes
General: There are 4 main parking areas for skiing at Rogers Pass, the hotel, Asulkan, Loop Brook, and the Bostock. The other areas require a special permit as they may be closed for avalanche control. A Park Pass is also required to stop in the National Park. These can be obtained at the info centre, which also has information on closed areas, avalanche conditions and a weather forecast.
The Best Western hotel offers a winter deal for skiers, $28 per person and there is skiing out the back door up Canaught Creek. The other accommodation at Rogers Pass in the backcountry huts. Wheeler hut is about 20 minutes ski from the Asulkan parking lot. The Asulkan Hut is a bit more of a climb, 4000 feet, and usually takes about 4 hours. The other huts, Saphire Col (cold and small) and Glacier Circle (a long way) aren’t as popular.
Camping: You can dig a hole and winter camp just about anywhere except Canaught Creek
Hiking: Parks Canada maintains an excellent trail system. The info centre will have all the details.
Mountaineering: The NW ridge on Mount Sir Donald is the best know and is popular for a good reason. The W ridge on Mount Tupper is shorter but of similar character. The traverse of the Swiss Peaks is also outstanding.
Rock Climbing: The rock climbing in Rogers Pass tends to be mostly on the ridges with relatively few steep faces climbs.
Skiing: Up the Illecillewaet Glacier, over the Summit of Young’s Peak and down the Asulkan Valley is one of the best day ski tours anywhere n the world. Also world-class is up the Dome Glacier over the pass onto the Lilly Glacier and out Loop Brook. Bruin’s Pass leaving from and skiing back to the hotel is also one that you shouldn’t miss.
At a Glance
Targeted Activities: Camping, Hiking, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Skiing
Season Availability: November to September
Area Size: huge acres
Number of Lifts: none
Rescue Services: Mountain Rescue Services Present with Helicopter Evacuation