Bonnington Traverse: Day 4

Copper Mountain Hut to Huckleberry Hut

Ski Touring Difficult

Distance
11 km
Ascent
867 m
Descent
1.2 km
Duration
4-5 hrs
Low Point
1.6 km
High Point
2.2 km
Gradient
42˚
Bonnington Traverse: Day 4 Map

From the Copper Hut, ascend 110m in an east-south-easterly direction to a low point along the south ridge extending from Copper Mountain. From here, follow the height of land between Hall Creek and Erie Creek in a southerly direction for almost 5km along an exposed ridge system connecting Territory Peak, Colony Peak and Empire Peak. This section is beautifully exposed, offers some of the best views of the whole tour and is certainly the highlight of the traverse. There is a sharp and exposed ridge section that is best boot packed between Colony Peak and Empire Peak. Although not ideal, it is possible to bypass this section. To do so, ski down the southwest side of the ridge from the Territory-Colony Col for a few hundred meters and then traverse across a steep west-facing basin towards Empire Peak. The best way back up to Empire Peak is then to ascend steeply up its west face aiming for a 2130m point along its southwest ridge (grid 738-663, NAD 83). From Empire peak, ski down beautifully spaced trees on a steep southeast-facing slope to Barrett Lake. From here, locate the old access road on the northeast side of the lake and ski down it for 9km to the Porto Rico parking area located about 5km north of Ymir. The Barrett lake area is very popular with snowmobilers and the access road is quite often packed down making for fast travel on the way out. This access road travels from west to east on the north side of Barrett creek. The first 3km are quite exposed by the avalanche terrain from the south face of Commonwealth Peak. Travel here is not recommended when the avalanche hazard is high or when it’s late in the day on a warm and sunny spring day. If you have more time, it is possible to extend this trip and spend a worthwhile 4th night at the Huckleberry Hut. This is a great side trip option or an interesting venue on its own. This hut is located at 1600m up the south fork of Barrett creek on the downhill side of the access road (grid 768-636, NAD83). The easiest way to get there from Barrett Lake is to ski down valley along the main Barrett creek access road for 3km. At about 1400m you will arrive at a road junction. From here, cross Barrett creek and ascend the right hand rising road on the south side of the creek in a southeasterly direction. Follow this road for nearly 2km, passing through a few avalanche slopes, and you will arrive at the hut. Depending on the avalanche hazard, it is also possible to get to the Huckleberry hut via a more committing route. From Barrett Lake ascend a steep north facing broad gully to a 2050m saddle along the ridge between Dominion Peak and Cabin Peak (grid 750-650, NAD83). Then follow the undulating ridge in a southeasterly direction for 1.2km to Cabin Peak. Ski down the south ridge of Cabin peak and eventually down the east-facing basin through open bowl and nicely spaced trees to the Huckleberry Hut.

Difficulty

Difficult

Serious gradient of 30-38 degrees where a real risk of slipping exists.