Bugaboos to Rogers Pass

The high traverse of the Purcell and Selkirk Ranges


The Bugs to Rogers traverse is arguably the most coveted ski traverse in Western Canada. It starts with the spectacular Bugaboos and continues across the beautiful northern section of the Purcells, finishing with a high line through the Selkirk Mountains to Rogers Pass. 

Along the way are numerous great alpine ski descents, big glaciers, limited amounts of valley bottom travel, occasional huts, and opportunities to climb some very remote peaks allow the way if conditions allow.  Mount Conrad, Mount Sugarloaf, Grand Mountain and Mount Wheeler are just some of the peaks that are accessible along the way.

Starting from Golden we will make a long flight into the Bugaboos area, making food cache drops on the way. From our dropoff we will traverse under the Bugaboo Spires and across the Vowell Glacier to the Malloy Glacier with a possible stop at the “Malloy Igloo”.  Then up and over the Conrad Icefield, through the Crystalline Valley to reach Hume Pass and the Snowman Lakes. From here we cross below Mt Syphax into Malachite Creek before a steep climb takes us up onto the International Icefield (with some of the best views of the Rockies I have experienced) and a descent to the International Basin Hut. Traversing out of this valley past Mt David and into the Silent Pass area brings us to the end of week one.

Looking back at Beaver Duncan Col from Sugarloaf
Looking back at Beaver Duncan Col from Sugarloaf

The second half begins with a traverse across Silent Pass to headwaters of the Duncan and Beaver Rivers.  Then a big climb up Butters creek gets us into position for the high traverse across Mt Sugarloaf, Grand Mountain and Wheeler before dropping down onto the Deville Icefield.  A series of rappels off the end of the Deville brings us to the Glacier Circle Hut before a trip over the Illecillewaet Icefield puts us at Rogers Pass and a well deserved beer!

The traverse passes several huts and shelters along the way which can be used for cooking and/or sleeping in depending on group size and weather conditions and has many different options for travelling depending on weather and snow conditions.

This trip is not for the faint of heart and requires fortitude and skill to complete in good style.

The trip costs are outlined below and are based on a minimum of five people and a maximum 4:1 guest to guide ratio.

You might also be interested in our 7-day Northern Selkirks Traverse.

Day 1

Meet in Golden, review equipment, distribute group gear, helicopter safety briefing. Overnight in Golden.

Day 2

Meet at the heliport at 6:30 am, fly in to the Bugaboos. Place 2 – 3 food caches en route to the Bugs. Travel day begins near Crescent Glacier and ascends the Bugaboo-Snowpatch col. Continue on to the Malloy Igloo in the Vowells if conditions permit.

Days 3-13

We make progress as conditions and group fitness allow. There are many variations that allow steady progress in all but the most challenging of conditions. There are many cruxes requiring mountaineering techniques as well as many high passes with steep slopes that must be navigated in good stability at certain times of the day. Alternates are possible but require a solid knowledge of the terrain and route.

Day 14

It could be Day 14; it might be Day 16; it could also be Day 11. We don’t know exactly when we will finish this mighty traverse. It depends largely on conditions, the exact route, and the objectives undertaken along the way. The definition of adventure: an uncertain outcome. We will make it up along the way and with a little luck we’ll find ourselves at the other end skiing our way down the Illecillewaet Glacier to Rogers Pass, the birthplace of Canadian ski mountaineering.

Trip fees include:
  • Flights into Applebee Campground in the Bugaboos and transport back from Rogers Pass at the end of the week
  • At least two food caches along the way to help keep pack weights reasonable (probably three)
  • Guiding fees and permits
  • Food, tents, group gear for camping, ropes and emergency gear
Trip fees do not include:
  • Hotel and food in Golden, BC before and after the trip
  • Transportation to Golden
  • Flight out of the traverse in the event of adverse conditions making completion impossible
  • Gratuities (see Pricing for details)

This is our most challenging trip, exceeding all other trips in difficulty in all ways.

  • Multi-day ski traverse with 50+lb backpacks
  • Winter camping, including camps in exposed alpine
  • Peaks up to 3000 m asl
  • Up to 1500 m climbs / descents, travelling up to 20 km in a day
  • Glaciated terrain
  • Often variable snow conditions
  • Technical ski mountaineering
  • Multi-pitch rappelling

Our Trip Ratings Page outlines more specifically how we rate our trips.

  • For specifics about the clothing and equipment, this illustrated equipment page might be helpful.
  • Quality food is provided for all meals (including the first dinner and breakfast at Truffle Pigs). Traversing meals are provided for an average to above average eater. Special diets may be accommodated for an additional fee, but also may not be possible; contact us for details. If you are an above average eater, or prefer special snacks, or like drink mixes (electrolyte, etc.) then please bring along a bit extra for your lunches. For reference, we provide one sandwich per day. There should be plenty of breakfast and dinner for everyone.
  • Beverages and liquor are not provided. If you want to bring alcohol on the trip then we do not recommened beer or wine as it’s heavy and bulky. One idea that’s popular: bring along a small bottle of Tequila with lime juice powder so you can make margeritas with the snow (we do provide snow in unlimited quantities). Many variations on the cocktail theme work well too! If you are a coffee or tea drinker be sure to bring enough to last you the whole trip. Likewise if you enjoy drink mixes (Gatorade etc.) be sure to bring that too.
  • Snacks are not provided. We do provide one sandwich per day for lunch. If you need more than that for your energy needs throughout the touring day please be sure to bring extras like trail mix, bars, pepperoni sticks, chocolate, candy, etc.


  • 1 – Long underwear top – synthetic or wool (light colors are good)
  • 1 – Light fleece or wool sweater
  • 1 – Light weight wind jacket – nylon or ‘Schoeller’
  • 1 – Waterproof -breathable shell jacket
  • 1 – Warm insulated jacket – down or synthetic
  • 2-3 Pair of wool or synthetic socks and liner socks
  • 2-3 Pair wool or synthetic underwear
  • 1 – Long underwear bottoms – synthetic or wool
  • 1 – Multipurpose stretch nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type pants
  • 1 – Waterproof breathable shell pants (full zip is best)
  • 1 – Warm hat – wool or synthetic
  • 1 – Brimmed cap for sun protection
  • 1 – Handkerchief
  • 1 – Face warmer – scarf, neck tube or balaclava
  • 1 – Light gloves – wool, synthetic or leather
  • 1 – Insulated gloves or mitts with waterproof outer shell
  • 1 – Spare warm gloves or mitts
  • 1 – Down or synthetic camp booties (optional)

Travel Equipment

  • Skis or split board
  • Ski boots or snowboard boots
  • Ski poles
  • Climbing skins
  • Skin wax (or a candle)
  • Ski crampons (for spring tours)
  • Specific binding repair items to fix your personal travel setup

Glacier Gear

  • Harness – fitted for over your ski clothing (Black Diamond, Blue Ice, Cilao and Camp make the best lightweight ski touring harnesses)
  • 3 – Light weight locking carabiners
  • 3 – Light weight non-locking carabiners
  • 2 – 6mm by 5m prussik cord (7mm cord is generally too large!)
  • 1 – 120cm sewn climbing sling (Dyneema or Spectra blends)
  • Crampons – fitted to your ski boots (Aluminium crampons are recommended)
  • Lightweight ice axe without a leash

Snow Safety Equipment

  • Avalanche beacon with spare batteries
  • Shovel
  • Probe 2-3m in length

Personal Equipment

  • Pack (60-80 litres)
  • Garbage bag to line your pack
  • Sunglasses (Having both orange and dark lenses is a real benefit for uphill travel
  • in all conditions)
  • Goggles (orange lenses)
  • Sunscreen (60 spf+) and lip cream (30 spf+)
  • Head lamp with good batteries
  • Insulated water bottle(s) 1.5-2L
  • Lunch bag/container (optional)
  • Personal blister kit and/or tape
  • Pocket knife
  • Camera (optional)
  • Sleeping foamy (Ensolite 5-10mm)
  • Sleeping pad (Inflatable style)
  • Sleeping bag (-15 to -25’C rating)
  • Plastic eating cup (500 to 750ml)
  • Spoon
  • Personal mug (optional)
  • Hygiene kit – “Wet Wipes”, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hand lotion
  • 1 roll of toilet paper and lighter in a Ziplock bag
  • Pee bottle – 1L (optional)
  • Personal medications
  • Lighter
  • Personal liquor or treats
  • Large stuff sac for carrying food

Group Gear

  • Altimeter
  • Map(s) and compass
  • GPS
  • Tent(s)
  • Stove(s) and pump(s)
  • Pot set(s)
  • Fuel – generally 200ml/person/day
  • Stove repair kit
  • Snow and/or bush saw
  • Snow study kit
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency tarp
  • Emergency toboggan
  • Group repair kit
  • Radio, satellite phone or cell phone
  • Rope for glacier travel
  • Guide book/Route description
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This trip has a special payment schedule; otherwise, our standard Payment & Booking Conditions apply. Please read these carefully before booking.

January 20, 2021 – $2000 deposit

March 20, 2021 – $2450 balance due

Q – Am I fit enough for this trip?

A – Contact us for details. This is easily the most demanding trip that we offer. If we have skied with you in the past we’ll  be able to give you a good answer to this question. If not, we will discuss the demands of the trip in detail, your resume of experience, your current fitness level, and will likely ask for references.

Q – Do I need all of the equipment on the equipment list?

A – If you’re missing any equipment contact us. We can likely loan you gear that you need free of charge (e.g. lightweight tents, and all other group gear, are actually included in the trip fees). If you want to bring your own tent or other group gear contact us so that we can make note of the fact.

Q – What if conditions don’t allow us to complete the trip?

A – This does happen on the Great Traverses. There are a number of exit options that allow us to escape if need be. And there’s always the option of calling a helicopter as a worst case scenario, as happened while I was guiding this trip in 2012 at the Beaver-Duncan divide when the temperature rose to 15 C in the Alpine and was forecast to remain that way for days.

DATES: Contact us for details

PRICE: $4750 CAD per person + GST

PAYMENT SCHEDULE: 50% deposit due upon booking; balance due Jan 16

INCLUDED: Flights into Applebee Campground in the Bugaboos and ground transport back from Rogers Pass at the end of the week; at least two food caches along the way to help keep pack weights reasonable (probably three); guiding fees and permits; food, tents, group gear for camping, ropes and emergency gear. See below for more details.