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Bell Couloir

Banff National Park

A classic Rockies ski line - this is a huge couloir!

Ski Touring Severe

9.2 km
1.4 km
85 m
5-6 hrs
Low Point
1.5 km
High Point
2.8 km
Bell Couloir Map

This is a classic Rockies line that primarily gets skied in the fall or spring.


The trail begins at the Taylor Lake Parking lot and ascends on the heavily trafficked, double wide Taylor Lake Trail. About 100 meters from Taylor Lake you will see a skin track off to your right. Do not take this skin track as it leads to Panorama ridge, continue instead on the wider path right to Taylor Lake.

Once you are at the lake make sure to make conservative choices as to crossing this lake especially in the spring or fall. If you are in doubt of the lakes freeze, skirt the edge and stay off the lake.

Once at the opposite end of the lake a few very sporty switchbacks or boot packing will get you onto a 200 meter fan-like slope with sparse trees. This slope is where your exposure to avalanche terrain ramps up and you will want to carefully assess as you go. Once you gain the shoulder at the top of the 200 meter fan you will be at the base of the huge couloir. You can skin up as long as the angle and snow allows and then switch to boot packing. About 3/4 of the way up this line is a huge convex roll. A lot of people get turned around right before this feature as it takes good stability to go over this and top out on the line. Don't be discouraged if you don't top out on this one, it sometimes takes patience to get just the right conditions and you will still have a great ski from part way up.

Once you rip your skins you are rewarded with a long, unobstructed and sustained pitch of skiing right to the bottom of the couloir. This tour is deceptively long being over 20 kms and over 1500 meters of elevation gain - make sure you don't underestimate it. Once you top out on the couloir - with the exception of the flat lake - it is all fun downhill to your car! This is a great line and one that you will probably want to repeat a few times.



Steep skiing at 38-45 degrees. This requires very good technique and the risk of falling has serious consequences.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between November and May


  • Alpine
  • Couloir
  • Single Descent

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area