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Commonwealth Couloir

An Extreme Ski Line in Kananaskis

Ski Touring Severe

9 km
1 km
1 km
4-5 hrs
Low Point
1.8 km
High Point
2.7 km
Commonwealth Couloir Map

This ski line is not to be taken lightly - it's a very steep and narrow couloir which should be only undertaken in good stability by expert skiers. If you want to ski this couloir from the summit you need to ascend the Commonwealth ridge and rappel into it. This is an extreme route and requires anchor building and gear. If you want to just ski a portion you can boot pack up from the bottom starting at the Commonwealth ridge, Pigs Tail Col. This is a very aesthetic but sustained and steep line.


To get to the trailhead for this objective head 3km past Mount Engadine lodge and park on the right hand side of the road. It is the same parking as doing Smuts Pass, Tryst and Superslope. Head into the valley towards Smuts pass and take the skintrack left through the trees until it opens to a small lake. If you are going in from the top you will ascend the big open bowl which has a looming cornice at the top to gain the ridge.

If you are bootpacking from the bottom you will approach the couloir like you are doing the Commonwealth loop. I cannot overemphasise the serious nature of this line and it takes a lot of patience, expert mountaineering and ski skills to execute it safely.

Once you have skied or attempted the Couloir you will exit below the Pigs Tail and continue out the valley back to your car most likely with a great story of an epic adventure to share!



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

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

in April, May and November


  • Cliffs
  • Couloir
  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area