Red Peak GR:214404

elevation: 2,758 m. height gain: 1,035 m.
area: Smith Dorrien/Spray Area,AB map 82 J/14

Ref: Gillean Daffern's Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, 4th Edition, Volume 1

Trailhead to Buller Pass.
Ski touring: RT 8.5; 5.0 up. I've wanted to do this outing as a ski tour the moment I saw Andrew Nugara's trip report. The snowpack was stable and the forecast called for somewhat unsettled, cool weather; that seemed appropriate as there are numerous south facing slide paths off of Mount Buller's east ridge, on the way to North Buller Pass. Charles was keen to do another ski trip, we met him at the Buller Pass trailhead. We followed an uptrack; it appeared some skiers and a person on snowshoes had encountered isothermal snow on their way out, the track was dotted with postholes. The snowpack was rotten lower down but improved drastically as we proceeded further up the drainage. We lost the track at the fork; we aimed for North Buller Pass and followed the path of least resistance. Travel on the firm snow was pleasant; it wasn't cold and the wind came and went. It was impossible for me to drive my poles with skinny baskets through the snowpack, 10 cm of new snow refreshed the terrain. The pass was wind-scoured at the top; as we neared, the angle seemed manageable for a safe ascent. Fab broke trail to the pass, we stayed well spaced. Near the crest the snow got firmer, we opted to bootback the last bit to the pass. We left our skis there and turned our attention to reaching Red Peak's south ridge. Once over the wind-packed snow lip it is a pleasant walk on the connecting ridge to the top. The view was reduced but I've come to appreciate the cloud layers and the mood of the mountains surrounding me. We left the top after a good stay. The sun started to make an appearance. Back at the pass, we hiked down to the snow and strapped on the skis for a quick descent. As we continued down the drainage, the snow transitioned into isothermal snow. Near the valley bottom, we had to stay on the uptrack or we would punch through the shallow snowpack... I liked this outing as a ski trip, we didn't have to put our skins back on for the return; another sweet day in the Canadian Wilderness.
nearing the fork

Approaching the fork that separates North Buller Pass from Buller Pass.

looking back

Looking back.

north buller pass

North Buller Pass ahead.

buller's east ridge

Numerous cross-loaded south facing slopes off Mount Buller's east ridge.

heading up the pass

Heading up the pass.

bootpacking the last bit

Bootpacking the last bit to the pass.

climbing to a highpoint

Climbing to a highpoint to reach the connecting ridge.

snow lip

Negotiating a wind-packed snow lip.

scree slope

Traversing a scree slope beyond the snow lip.

neat cornice

A very neat cornice along the connecting ridge.

looking back

Looking back.

red peak

Red Ridge (left) and Red Peak in the center.

at the top

At the top.


Leaving the summit.

neat cornice again

The neat cornice again.

snow lip

Crossing the snow lip.

back at the pass

Our skis await at the pass.

decent ski down

Decent ski down on firm snow.


Celebrating another good day in the mountains!
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