Bugaboos to Rogers Pass

Katherine Johnston - Bugs to Rogers 2014

April 20-29, 2014

If you are interested in this trip, visit our 2021 Bugs to Rogers trip info page and book your spot now!

We completed a ski traverse from the Bugaboos to Rogers Pass yesterday under clear skies and with cool temperatures. We had very unsettled weather on the trip with about 30-60cm of storm snow in the alpine, but temperatures remained cool and travel conditions were good throughout the traverse. The snowpack was more of a settled winter snowpack than a true spring snowpack. North aspects still had dry snow as low as 2000m yesterday. Valley bottom travel was supportive even late in the day and only very thin solar aspects had gone completely isothermal. Early morning travel was very good the last couple days with the crust breaking down by early afternoon. Glaciers had more than 3.5m of snow and glacier travel was straight forward with the exception of a couple wind scoured areas.

We saw very little avalanche activity on the traverse. Solar triggered slides to size 2 out of steep solar slopes were becoming more common on the last two days, and several cornice failures and small wind loaded slabs to size 2 on North aspects were observed mid traverse following a storm. The one anomaly was a size 3.5 off the SW face of Mt Macoun failing on a deep weak layer in the last several days.
Our avalanche concerns consisted of cornice failures, loose wet sluffs, and deep slabs if things stayed warm.
The traverse was in very good shape. Here are a few specific comments:
  • We ascended the Bugaboo – Snowpatch col using the narrow climber’s left gully under Snowpatch which avoids the larger slopes of the main col.
  • The crevasses on the Vowel Glacier descent were more open than we have seen before.
  • Gaining the Malloy Glacier and the Conrad Icefield was straightforward with very good coverage.
  • All the descent routes around Mt Syphax seemed to be in good shape. We used the descent of the “Action Direct” ski run to Malachite Creek.
  • The Carbonate Glacier was well covered with the exception of the final 50 meters to gain the descent ridge at about 2800m where the snowpack was quite shallow. Bare ice and open crevasses were showing just above this elevation making the higher bench access hazardous.
  • The steep S slopes leading up through the rock bands to the Beaver Overlook were thin and becoming isothermal but provided good step kicking before sunrise.
  • The route down the Grand Glacier from Mt Sugarloaf appears to be skiable but is quite broken. We avoided this area due to very poor visibility and only observed it from the Deville Glacier ascent.
  • The Deville and Illecillewaet Glaciers had very good coverage and minimal crevasse concerns.
A great spring ski tour!
Tom Wolfe & Conrad Janzen
ACMG / IFMGA Mountain Guides

Here’s a collection of photos from the trip, courtesy of Nial Gleeson (c) 2014