Vital Season on Rogers Pass

By Paul Greenwood, FOW

With a promising weather window, Eric Carter and I left the coast and headed to BC’s interior for a quick mission. En route we stopped on the Duffey Lake Road, summiting Mount Matier and skiing the Twin One glacier. 

We arrived in Revelstoke that evening and called up our friend Matt Ruta, who agreed to show us around Rogers Pass. The next morning we saddled up at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre, said a quick hello to Nick Russell, and started skinning up to Mount Cheops. The goal of the day was to ski a couple of laps on the north face. Matt set a quick pace and we were at the top of the shelf route in no time. We found the rappel anchor and worked our way to the start of the skiing. The shelf route works its way left to right above some cliffs and made for a fun warm up with great snow. 

Looking into the top of the Shelf Route. Rogers Pass, BC. FOW: Paul Greenwood // Photo: Matt Ruta (@matt_ruta)

Eric and Paul skin up for a second lap on Cheops before calling it a day. Rogers Pass, BC. Photo: Matt Ruta (@matt_ruta)

Heading back up Cheops we set up for the Chance-Hill route. Starting in an obvious couloir high on the mountain we skied into a large double fallaway snowfield where slightly variable snow led for a few careful turns above exposure. Linking through a series of rock bands we found our way into subsequent couloirs that allowed us to continue down the face. One rappel midline took us into the final slot where we skied back down to the car. Back in Revelstoke we fueled up, dried out and prepared for another big day. 

The next morning we had a casual start, meeting at the Disco Centre at 8. We left a car at the Bostock trailhead as we were going to finish the day west of where we started. Adding Mark Smiley and Tom Peiffer to our crew, we set off for our objective, the north face of Mount Bagheera. 

Skinning to the base of Mount Bagheera. Rogers Pass, BC. Photo: Matt Ruta (@matt_ruta)

The approach took us past Cheops, over Balu pass and into a large valley between Cougar and Bagheera. Going up the south face of Bagheera, our group of 5 made quick work of the 900 m boot pack, reaching the summit just as the earlier than forecasted storm brewed overhead. 

Paul leads Mark Smiley, Eric Carter, and Tom Peiffer up the south face of Bagheera. Rogers Pass, BC. Photo: Matt Ruta (@matt_ruta)

Carefully avoiding the cornice, we spotted the entrance to the face and eyed the long couloir splitting the face leading to our exit. We created a piton anchor and I belayed everyone in one by one before rappelling in over the initial rocky section. Mark yelled out that he measured the initial pitch at 57 degrees before it mellowed out to 50 degrees.

High on the north face of Mount Bagheera. Rogers Pass, BC. FOW: Paul Greenwood // Photo: Matt Ruta (@matt_ruta)

We made cautious turns down chalk and then gingerly worked into the main couloir which had been cleared out in the last storm. Firm, difficult turns led to a slight reprieve in steepness and more forgiving chalk. The storm was really coming in now as the ceiling dropped and we skied down to the valley, 1200 m below where the line started. A long slog out of the valley to McGill pass finished by headlamp with snow coming down all around us. A pretty wild place to be! We now need to ski back down the Bostock hiking trail to where we parked our car. Once again back in Revelstoke, Eric and I decided to head back to the Coast the next day for a well deserved rest day before heading back to work.

- Paul Greenwood, FOW


It’s Vital Season, and that means tall peaks, distant objectives, and anything else you choose to tackle aboard a versatile, 100mm-waisted ski built with unique, stability-enhancing, biobased materials.