Little Sifton GR:614863 (Traverse)

elevation: 2,725 m. height gain: 1,420 m.
area: Rogers Pass,BC map 82 N/5
2014-Feb-09


Park at the Rogers Pass Discovery Center. Skin up Connaught Drainage for a short distance to the Grizzly Fan, 625832. Ascend climber's right of the slide path, entering into mature forest to climb Grizzly Shoulder; there's usually an uptrack up the ascent rib. Continue to treeline where a cliffband guards the ridge crest, 622846. Head north (left) along the base of the cliffband until it gives way to rolling alpine terrain; it is also possible to scramble up the cliffband at treeline. Aim for the saddle north-east of Little Sifton, the summit itself is easily reached on skis. To traverse to Hermit Basin, ski down to the saddle and pick a safe line down the steep north facing slope; be aware of a probable cornice. Once on the glacier, several options exist depending on where you finish your trip.
**Permits are required for this trip**

area map


Grizzly area map, the Sifton side of Hermit Basin is labeled with a circled number 4.
Ski touring: RT 6.25; 5.0 up. We planned to "make the best" of this extended high pressure ridge before the arrival of forecasted frontal systems. Charles was keen to come for another ski tour in Rogers Pass despite the extremely cold temperature; he arrived in Golden just in time for supper. When we left the following morning, the thermometer read -30 C. Holy moly, I wasn't expecting it to be that cold... It was -24 C at the Discovery Center when we left the truck. We reached the Grizzly Fan quickly and felt instant relief from the sun. Ascending Grizzly Shoulder was as steep as I remembered it; the uptrack was well-used but still manageable. Once at treeline, just below the cliffband, we had some lunch. We were thrilled about the warmth, there was no wind. A couple from Calgary joined us for a short while, they were also heading to Little Sifton. We continued on a fine trail along the cliffband to gain the broad ridge; we had to take our skis off for one step over big blocks just before the crest. The tour above Grizzly Shoulder is sublime, the rolling alpine terrain was very pleasant with the absence of wind and an obvious track. The sun was shining allowing us to enjoy the surrounding majestic scenery without hurrying but as we proceeded towards our objective, clouds started to come in over the Illecillewaet Glacier rather quickly. We skied to the top of Little Sifton and put on layers; this was the only breezy location we encountered... We enjoyed the sights and noticed how the cloud layers were dropping, almost obscuring the adjacent mountains south of us. The couple from Calgary joined us once again; after a brief exchange and more pictures, we started to ski down to the saddle. From there, one by one, we carefully dropped onto the steep slope to reach Hermit Basin below. The light was flat and it became difficult to distinguish features in the convoluted terrain. Fortunately, soft snow on the firm snowpack granted good skiing down the drainage. We skied all the way down the slide path west of the Hermit parking lot; Charles had left his car there this morning, providing a shuttle back to our truck. This is a fantastic loop and a classic ski tour, we loved it!
bloody cold

It's -24 at the start.

grizzly fan

Going up Grizzly Fan for a short distance before we veer right in the forest, Teddy Bear Trees on the left.

grizzly shoulder


Grizzly Shoulder offers readily accessible tree skiing.


cliffband


Reaching the cliffband at treeline, a nice place for lunch; a couple joined us briefly.


grizzly bowl


Looking down into Grizzly Bowl.


track along the cliffband


A nice track continues along the base of the cliffband, Grizzly Mountain on the left.


another option


Looking back at another option up the cliffband (center).


looking back


Looking back.


slight dip


A slight dip before we gain the rolling alpine terrain.


sublime ski tour


Sublime ski tour above Grizzly Shoulder.


asulkan and lily glaciers


The Asulkan and Lily Glaciers in the distance.


cheops mountain


Looking back again, Cheops Mountain on the right.


little sifton ahead


Little Sifton ahead; there's almost no wind at all, it feels like spring despite the cold temperature.


aiming for the saddle


The saddle north-east of the objective is what we aim for.


illecillewaet glacier


Illecillewaet Glacier.


skinning up little sifton


Skinning up Little Sifton.


at the top


At the top.


view south-west


Clouds enveloping the mountains south-west of us.


tupper and swiss glaciers


Tupper and Swiss Glaciers with The Hermit on the right.


mount sifton


The numerous peaks of Mount Rogers are shrouded in cloud, Mount Sifton is predominant today.


ready to ski


Ready to ski all the way down to the highway!


at the saddle


At the saddle, the cornice is easily negotiated this time.


steep slope


Fab shredding the north slope to Hermit Basin.


glimpse back


A glimpse back up the saddle and summit.


very cruisy


Very cruisy but it's now flat light...


straight down to the highway


We head straight down to the highway but if you're parked at the Discovery Center, a traverse skier's right over the shoulder (right of the picture) is the way to go.


good snow


Snow quality is fine despite the lack of recent snowfall.


in the gauntlet


Not the place to be if there's any doubt about snow stability.


long descent


Looking back at the long descent.
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