High Road

Icefall Traverse; Golden, British Columbia

Dec 5, 2011
Outside Magazine
On the Icefall Traverse in British Columbia

On the Icefall Traverse in British Columbia    Photo: Ewan Nicholson

When Larry Dolecki started guiding the Icefall Traverse last season, he billed it as the Canadian Haute Route, with one striking difference: it’s utterly devoid of people. The ten-mile backcountry ski track connects two new huts, Lyell and Mons, some 40 miles outside Golden, and ends at the Icefall Lodge, a simple log affair with a wood-burning sauna. With little more than bunks, propane heat, and solar-powered lighting, the huts are rustic so as not to distract from the feature attraction: the epic backcountry skiing. Along the traverse, there’s something for everybody: couloirs, glaciers, steep tree skiing, and five summits over 11,000 feet, including Ernest Peak, which drops 7,600 vertical feet. The scenery is just as impressive, with views over miles of untracked meadows, frozen blue waterfalls, arches of ice in the Tempest Glacier’s icefall, and Mount Forbes, the highest peak in Banff National Park. From US $1,450 for four days.