Three Pass Traverse (Easter)


Briony Williamson , Monday 1st April, 2024 9:35AM

We spent Easter out on the Three Pass Traverse along with 1 other group. Departed the visitor centre on Friday 29 March in heavy snow. Snow cleared by lunchtime to ascend Balu Pass. Descended from Balu and saw a bit of skier triggered storm snow movement on the crust in steeper terrain but nothing stepping down or noteworthy. Snow returned at Cougar Brook camp that evening for another few CM. Day 2 headed up to Catamount Pass. Snow had cleared for a cloudy day. Other group set the skin track up to the pass and transitioned to boot pack the last 50m with some evidence of wind slab cracking just below the col. Waited around for a window to head up Catamount but it never came and was windy & cold so headed down the glacier. A few obvious holes in the guts but looked like good coverage overall, didn’t probe but had a lovely powder ski down along the west side of the glacier. Made our way down to camp and had a nice clear but cold evening in Ursus Creek (-20C). Early start on day 3 to be out of the valley to McGill pass before the sun hit the south facing slopes and cornices off Bagheera & McGill. Stunning bluebird day and in the shade it remained cold skinning up the valley. Warming quickly in the sun though. A few whumps felt setting the track up the last 400m to the pass but no cracking or movement. Enjoyed a sunbake at McGill pass before a not so fun descent. Would maybe recommend traversing across & skinning up to catch the McGill shoulder furthest line and down to the “summer trail” that’s looking very summery. Descending from McGill pass and traversing we found heavy sun affected snow. A few very small wet loose skier triggered movements in steeper terrain on solar affected areas in the trees. The first gully down from McGill Pass directly was not a great choice with many open sections in the creek and not enough snowpack to make it easier. Lots of steep side slipping to get down. When we made it to the summer trail, it is indeed almost back to a summer trail. Unless there’s anymore snow this low down this season it’s close to done. To summarise: the snow is really aspect and elevation dependent but everyone already knows that. The snow up high is excellent esp north aspect, below ~1800m it’s a mixed bag and below ~1000m it’s almost summer

Source: Avalanche Canada MIN