The most reliable option in Castle Ravine.

Statistics

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hrs

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m

214

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40

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Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Difficult

Description

Castle Ravine holds a high spot on many bucket lists.

However, a number of logistical challenges make it a hard one to check off.

It's northern aspect is often scoured by the prevailing NW winds in the Whites, keeping conditions thin and crusty.

It also only sees almost no sun in winter and just a few hours in spring, not to mention access requires a slog monster approach, no matter which direction you come from.

With that being said, if you catch it in the right conditions, Castle Ravine offers some of the longest and most sustained steep couloirs in the range. A number of approaches are possible, the shortest is to go from Castle Ravine Trail, however, this is hard to follow in the winter and crosses the river multiple times.

A more reliable but taxing approach is to climb The Cog, then take Gulfside Path to Cornice Trail.

Castle can also be combined with King Ravine for a lengthy linkup tour. South Sister tends to be the most reliable option in Castle Ravine.

It lacks the talus and ice bulge cruxes that the other Sisters present, and being bush lined instead of rock lined makes it overall more friendly.

It's also visible from the road, so if you’re wondering if it’s in, a quick park with a pair of binoculars will tell you.

Despite being a more reliable option, it's north aspect makes it prone to scouring, meaning what looked like snow from far away could be month old rain crust.

As is the theme with Castle, you'll never know until you go.

The line begins with a few blind turns through sparse vegetation.

Soon the line comes into view.

Enter the wide gully, which offers great turns with a few rocks to dodge to keep things interesting.

At the base of the gully, a cluster of rocks and bushes suddenly obstruct the gully, skirt these by cutting through to skiers left or picking your way around to skiers right, then join the run out of Middle/North Sister for more great skiing all the way to the brook.

From here, cross the brook to Castle Ravine Trail or put crampons on and reverse your approach.

Despite being an easier option, South Sister is still a steep and extremely remote line that deserves a high degree of respect.

Skiers should be well prepared to self rescue in the event of an incident.