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Jupiter Traverse

Glacier National Park (Canada)

The ultimate ski-mountaineering classic of the Asulkan Valley

Ski Touring Severe

19 km
1.7 km
1.7 km
1 day +
Low Point
1.2 km
High Point
2.7 km
Jupiter Traverse Map

For a deeper dive into the route and detailed terrain photos, check out the post on Beyond Our Peak: https://beyondourpeak.com/jupiter-traverse-an-exhilarating-ski-mo-epic/


The Jupiter Traverse is known throughout the Canadian ski touring community as the ultimate ski-mountaineering classic of the Asulkan Valley and requires a broad skillset to complete safely.

The traverse crosses the three summits of Mt Jupiter: Castor Peak (2886m), Pollux Peak (2777m), Leda Peak (2701m). Starting at the Illecillewaet parking lot, the route follows the nearly flat Asulkan Trail to the morainal terrain of the Mousetrap. A gentle climb up the crevassed Asulkan Glacier gets you to the Sapphire Col (2590m) where you’ll find the Sapphire Col Hut, basically a steel box. Watch out for the steep roll at the toe of the Asulkan Glacier. It's been known to avalanche relatively frequently. From Sapphire Col, it’s an up-and-down bootpack over the three peaks and down the Thorington Face, a steep, glaciated, 1000m descent to the valley bottom. Most years, it's best to rappel approx. 20m off Pollux Peak. This section can be bootpacked down but adds a tremendous amount of exposure to the route. At the summits, you'll look into the Dawson Range to the south, harbouring Mt Dawson, the second-highest peak of the Selkirks. The views are seriously impressive!

As a more conservative option during times of snowpack uncertainty, you could continue along the ridge towards the Asulkan Pass (2350m) to avoid the large convexity and sometimes open crevasses of the Thorington Face.

All in all, the Jupiter Traverse is a rewarding journey across the Asulkan Basin requiring the full extent of one’s glacier travel and ski-mountaineering skillset. Hands down, I would recommend this epic to anyone with the appropriate mountain skills.



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.


3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

between January and May


  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area