2 - 3
FATMAP difficulty grade
From any point of the canyon, it is easy to navigate this route.
Although some areas may be possible to boot pack or skin up, the area is relatively steep, hence this route makes it easier even if a little longer distance-wise, yet may be shorter time wise in the end.
In a good snow year you will be able to skin all the way along the canyon floor (obviously depending what altitude you drop to) and you can skin following the creek due south, towards Lake Albina.
Once you get to the lake (which will most likely be frozen over) keep to the right of it, don't ski over it as it may be frozen solid in deep winter, but can crack surprisingly early in the spring.
Once you pass the lake you will see a number of spurs with a ridgeline heading up towards Townsend, from here you can take your pick for which one to take back up, this area is skinnable.
Time-wise, this is totally dependent on where you drop to, but from Lake Albina to Townsend takes about an hour of skinning.