Stanley Glacier Valley

With an unsettled weather forecast for 29 January 2017, Zosia Zgolak and I stuck to a conservative ski tour up to Stanley Glacier in British Columbia's Kootenay National Park.  As described in Chic Scott's Ski Trails In The Canadian Rockies, we crossed Vermilion River and climbed steadily up through a burned slope before leveling out at the entrance to the hanging valley north of Stanley Peak.  From there, we ascended more gradually until we cleared the last trees near trail's end.  While another group of skiers climbed further up toward the Stanley Glacier, we were content to go only as far as a sign marking the end of the official summer trail.  After taking a short break, we removed our climbing skins and enjoyed a few turns on open slopes before returning along the same route.  Unaware of Scott's alternate creek bed descent, we skied back down the trail we came up which proved to be a bit challenging but also quite a lot of fun.  We subsequently made it back to the trailhead safely without much grief.
Like a bridge over troubled waters...I will lay me down... Sonny struggles to get up the bridge over Vermilion River.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

That sub-peak of Whymper to the right is kinda piquing my curiosity... Mount Whymper (left) appears beyond the mist as Sonny skins up the trail.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Although I've already scrambled Vermilion Peak, I think a ski ascent would be grand... Vermilion Peak is visible to the southwest from the burned slope.
There are some serious icicles on that cliff face!

The northern outlier of Stanley Peak rises dramatically above Stanley Creek.

The flat part of the ski tour...almost too flat! Zosia continues up the valley.
Watch for rock hazards while skiing back this way... The trees thin out near the head of the valley.  Stanley Glacier is barely visible and tucked up behind the pinnacle at centre.
Hey, we might even be able to squeeze in a handful of turns here! Zosia finally breaks clear of the trees in the valley.
Scary ice climb!

Another group of skiers pass under the impressive frozen waterfall known as Nemesis.

Yeah, we could have skied further, but what would be the point? Zosia and Sonny are satisfied with the scenic views at the end of the summer trail.

It's too bad the snow wasn't deeper and the trees shorter...

Zosia skis along the trail down the burned slope.


Nothing extraordinary about this ski tour but a good one to do when the avalanche rating is "Considerable" or higher. Total Distance:  9.1 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  3 hours 9 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  376 metres

GPX Data