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Observation Subpeak (2950 m) south ridge and north glacier

Banff National Park

A fine ski peak with lots of variety and good skiing

Ski Touring Moderate

13 km
1.3 km
1.3 km
6-7 hrs
Low Point
2 km
High Point
2.9 km
Observation Subpeak (2950 m) south ridge and north glacier Map

Observation Subpeak (2950 m) is a fine ski peak with a good of variety of skiing. Several routes exist, the one described here combines a nice ridge ascent with powder turns down the north glacier - probably the best turns on the peak.


Park your car at a suitable spot along the Icefield Parkway. The initial stretch goes through trees near the creek - and the trees here are tight! As you get higher, stay right of the creek drainage. As you exit the trees, the terrain gets wider and easier to follow.

Cross the creek to reach the base of the south ridge. The first section of the ridge is a broad slope - it is not steep, but choose your route wisely, using benches to find a safe and easy route. Higher up, the ridge becomes narrow, and you will have to put the skis on your back. The ridge is exposed in places, with steep slopes on the side and cornice hazard.

From the summit, you can ski down the north glacier, an excellent fall-line run! It stops above a cliff at about 2500 m, so you will have to re-ascend back up.

The ridge you came up is not very enjoyable as a ski run. You can, instead, wrap around the NE side of the peak, and ski down a SE-facing bowl. The entry to the bowl is a little hard to find - look for it skiers left. As you reach the bottom of the run, backtrack to the car, roughly following the ascent route but seeking out some fun turns through the trees where you can find them.



Slopes become slightly steeper at around 25-30 degrees.

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between January and April


  • Bowl
  • Alpine

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area