5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
If you asked me what is my favourite line to quickly get into the Crystal Mountain Backcountry, it is without a doubt East Peak.
With almost 3,000 feet of vert this line give you the best bang for you buck and a fast ski tourer can be at the summit in less then 2 hours (as long as the snow isn’t waist deep) Starting at the Crystal Mountain base you can make your way up a groomer trail on the lookers left of Gold Hills.
Follow it up until you reach the Bullion Basin Summer trail on the lookers left.
Once at the first flats you can follow the standard trail which is easy but longer than the lookers right way.
If you follow the lookers right way then follow a semi cleared out run that wraps around before crossing the creek and with a few well placed switchbacks you are back on the Summer trail. Before long you will reach the lower basin of Bullions Basin but keep following the trail past yet another switchback.
Before long you will notice a semi dense treed slope on the lookers left that you need to start climbing.
While the first few switchbacks are steep, soon enough the slopes will start mellowing out.
While you will find open slopes on both the left and the right it is important to stay in the trees as this is a safest section to ascend.
After quite a few switchbacks you will make it to the summit of East Peak and need to decide how you want to descend. There are numerous routes down but I will write what I consider to make the most out of the day.
First off I descend skiers left of my skin track through the open trees until arriving at the base of the ascent route.
After a quick break I make my way back up to the summit where I make my way skiers left of the skin track riding through the open trees until arriving at the skin track just below the final switchback you climbed on the summer trail.
After another quick break it is time for the final ascent making your way back up to the final ridge but instead of going to the true summit I make my way North to the west protruding ridge where you can ride down the Northern side but be careful as this spot is a massive wind loading spot.
Once below the ridge the trees start to get dense so make a hard traverse skiers left and before long you will be back on the summer trail and riding all the way down to the base. For a ski tour on this route with additional photos check out this link https://www.whereiskylemiller.com/crystal-mountain/east-peak/