The Bugs to Roger’s Pass Ski Touring Trip is regarded as one of the grand ski traverses in Canada. Crossing the Purcell and Selkirk Mountains, the traverse travels through the jagged granite spires of the Bugaboos as it works its way north through the large connected path of glaciers and summits. Where conditions and trip progress warrant, we will look to bag some of the many summits along the way. The journey ends in the skiing paradise of Roger’s Pass. It is truly a spectacular trip but one that requires a high level of fitness, winter camping experience, and advanced backcountry skiing skills.
Day 1: We will meet at 9 am at the Yamnuska office to check personal gear and issue group gear for the trip. After we complete our final preparation for the trip we will shuttle vehicles to Rogers Pass; the endpoint of the trip. The night will be spent in Golden.
Day 2: We will make our way to the Bugaboos via helicopter and begin the trip. Depending on timings and conditions we will either spend the night amongst the Bugaboo Spires or start the traverse when we land.
Days 3-11: We will traverse over the many glaciers, Icefields, and summits that weave north first through the Purcell mountains and then into the Selkirk Mountains and Glacier National Park. Long, sometimes technical, ascents lead to north-facing descents and scenic campsites deep in the wilderness. Food caches will be placed in advance by Yamnuska in strategic spots to help decrease pack weights as we travel from day to day. We typically arrange this in advance with helicopter companies and mark the GPS coordinates. We finish the trip by descending the Illecillewaet glacier in Glacier National Park. In total, the trip covers 120 km of wilderness and gains nearly 10,000 meters.
NOTE: This is a challenging program in complex terrain and as with any trip into the mountains neither weather nor avalanche conditions can be guaranteed. Poor weather or avalanche conditions may require a change to the itinerary. This trip may be completed in fewer days or it may take 1-2 days more depending on the conditions. Please note that the cost of this trip will remain the same regardless of the number of days taken to complete it.
Instructors and Group Size
Your guides are certified by the internationally recognized Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. There will be a maximum of 4 participants per guide. There will be a maximum of 8 guests, a minimum of 4.
We will meet the group at 9:00 AM on the first day here at our office in Canmore (Map). Please come prepared with all of your personal gear and clothing, but leave enough room in your pack for some additional group gear and food as well.
To keep prices down participants are responsible for their own transport on the program. This requires a shuttle between Golden and Rogers Pass as well as to and from Canmore. It is possible to have Yamnuska organize this at an additional charge.
Accommodation and Meals
During the trip we will be camping in 2-4 person, 4-season tents and cooking on camp stoves; basic dishes will be required.
All meals, snacks, and drinks are supplied from lunch on the second day to lunch on the last. Meals are prepared by our in-house chef from fresh, nutritious ingredients and then dehydrated to make them suitable for backcountry travel. For guests with dietary restrictions, we are able to modify the program food pack to meet your individual needs. As food pricing and preparation for these diets is more costly, we have implemented the following surcharges. For vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free, nut-free, or any similar type of single restriction menu requests, there will be a $16/day surcharge. For a diet requiring any 2 restrictions a $25/day surcharge will apply. For any 3 restrictions, a $30/day surcharge will apply. Vegetarian meals will not be surcharged. For more complex diets our kitchen staff will assess the restrictions to inform you if the diet can be accommodated and what surcharge would apply.
Accommodation in Canmore and Golden is not included.
Weather and Conditions Note
This is a challenging program in complex terrain and as with any trip into the mountains, neither weather nor avalanche conditions can be guaranteed. Poor visibility or avalanche conditions may require a change to the itinerary. Regardless expect the trip to be a great adventure in a beautiful area. In the unlikely event that we require a helicopter to assist with a non-emergency relocation due to poor avalanche or weather conditions, there will be an additional charge.
A trip like the Bugaboos to Rogers Pass is going to be extremely demanding.
Making smart gear choices, and having a systematic way of packing your bag not only at the start of the trip but each morning, will not only increase efficiency during the days but conserve your much-needed energy for the task at hand. Some of the suggestions may seem excessive but trust us when we say that every ounce we can shave off our packs, and the more compact we can get them will increase the likely hood of a successful trip.
Weight: Avoid bringing doubles and triples of items on the premise that “I might need those” or “I’ll bring them just in case”. That will increase the weight of your bag exponentially.
Bulk: For a trip like this make use of 1 key piece of gear as much as possible. Anything that is soft and compressible should live in a compression stuff sack.
Items like clothing, sleeping bags, a down jacket, socks, even small items like your toothbrush and toothpaste, or a repair and blister kit are best carried in one of these. A backpack that is compact that sits close to the body, takes far less energy to carry than one that is tall and bulky of equal weight.
Lastly, limit yourself to the items shown on this list – if there’s anything you would like to bring but don’t see listed here, we’re happy to chat about it, and discuss the merits of bringing it along.
- AT Skis
- AT Boots
- Climbing Skins
- Ski Crampons
- Boot Crampons – Aluminum, lightweight versions are best.
- Pack – 60 to 65L
- Sunglasses – Dark Lenses with good side coverage are best
- Ski Goggles
- Thermos Flask – 0.5L capacity
- Water Bottle – 1 L capacity
- Sunblock and Lip balm with UV protection – No container bigger than roughly 1 fl. oz. for application to arms and body.
- Personal toiletries including hand sanitizer
- Small Pocket Knife
- Headlamp with fresh batteries
- Small Blister Kit – Compeed or Band-Aid make a medicated blister pad that once applied will stick to your feet longer than just about anything. They come in different sizes and shapes, just make sure you get the larger ones to deal with any potentially big blisters. This combined with a roll of Leukotape or Hypafix (breathable medical adhesive) tape will suffice. Do not bring moleskin.
- Small repair kit for bindings, skis, or splitboard (this may include straps, nuts, bolts, small leatherman)
- Avalanche Transceiver – digital transceiver with a triple antenna with fresh batteries
- Collapsible Avalanche Probe
- Avalanche Shovel – Metal blade shovel designed for companion rescue
Additional gear info:
- Skis/splitboard: There are two viable backcountry systems, Alpine Touring and Splitboard.
- Alpine Touring: Essentially downhill skis with a special touring binding which allows the heel to lift when going uphill and then locks down to become an alpine binding for the downhill.
- Splitboard: Snowboarders sometimes use a splitboard in the backcountry. This system is enjoyable on the descent, but frustrating on the flats. The transitions between uphill and downhill can also be very time-consuming. If using this system, please ensure that you are proficient at switching your bindings.
- Boots: Backcountry boots are different from regular alpine ski boots. In the backcountry, boots need to have an uphill mode that allows a free range of motion in the upper part of the boot. You should not use your regular ski boots for touring and walking uphill.
- Climbing skins: The glue on the base of the skin should be in good condition and the skins need to be properly fitted. Try the skins on your skis/splitboard to make sure they are the right length and width before you arrive.
- Ski poles: Backcountry poles need powder baskets on the tips.
- Avalanche beacon: A three antennae transceiver is required. Yamnuska uses the Backcountry Access Tracker S for all of our winter programs.
- Probe: A minimum of 240 cm in length.
- Shovel: A metal blade shovel is required.
Glacier gear: The key with the glacier travel kit is minimizing weight and bulk
- Harness – Ski Randonee harness is strongly suggested to cut back on both weight and bulk.
- 2 Lightweight Locking Carabineers
- 1 Lightweight Pear Shape Locking Munter Carabiner
- 2 Lightweight Non-Locking Carabineers
- 2 x 6mm x 5 m Cordelette/Accessory Cord – minimum breaking strength 10KN
- 1 x 120cm Sewn Sling (double length sling)
- 1 x 19cm Ice Screw
- Aluminum Ice Axe – The shorter and lighter the better.
- Patch Kit for inflatable sleeping pads
- Binding Parts specific to your particular bindings.
If you prefer to substitute synthetic base layers for wool that’s fine.
- Merino Wool Underwear (top and bottom)
- Insulated Pants – These are key to having a comfortable time in camp at the end of the day. Down or Synthetic insulation is preferred, no fleece please as it’s too bulky.
- Mid-Weight baselayer (synthetic or wool)
- Soft Shell Jacket
- Soft Shell Pants
- Insulated Jacket (either down or synthetic insulation (ie: Primaloft))
- Waterproof/Breathable Jacket with hood (ie: Gore-Tex)
- Waterproof Pants (ie: Gore-Tex)
- Socks – ski socks (wool or synthetic) – 3 pairs
- Underwear 3 pairs
- 1 Wool or Fleece Toque
- 1 pr. Light Gloves (for the way up)
- 1 pr. Heavier Gloves (for the way down)
- Sun Hat – Ball Cap style or with a full brim
- Face Mask
- Winter Sleeping Bag (-15 to -20C down filled – the higher the fill count the better)
- Sleeping Mat
- Bowl – Mug – Fork/Knife/Spoon
- Toiletries – Toothbrush, toothpaste – Try to limit this to these 2 items. Most grocery stores have very convenient travel-size toothpaste tubes.
- Ibuprofen, Advil, Anti-Histamines if required
- Insulated Booties – Also strongly suggested for the end of the day – they allow you to remove your boot liners to aid drying for the following day.
Additional and Optional Items
Yamnuska will provide the following:
- Stove, fuel, and repair kit
- Dirty Dish Kit
- Pot Set + pot grabber
- Maps and Navigation Tools
- Emergency communications devices – Radio, Satellite Phone, and SPOT device
- First Aid Kit
- Ropes for glacier travel
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. We require a 35% deposit on booking.
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident while here. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for a rescue so long as you have a valid National Park Entry Pass which you can obtain on entry to Banff National Park.
We ask that you familiarize yourself with our detailed booking instructions and conditions.
Risk is an inherent part of all mountain activities. We strive to manage and reduce it however, it is impossible to totally eliminate. Learn more about our safety and risk management approach here. Please note that you will be required to sign our waiver before commencing the program. Please view our sample waiver copy.
There are two basic types of insurance that most travellers need to consider: Medical and Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We offer our guests coverage for both and highly recommend you purchase it.
Emergency Medical Expenses Insurance:
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident during your trip. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for rescue in the national and provincial parks, however, costs such as air or ground transportation, long-term care, and other services are not covered.
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:
We recognize that our guests’ schedules may change for many reasons; business, family, flight delays, injuries, and other unplanned events. For these eventualities, Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is a great way to protect your investment.
For all your travel insurance requirements we recommend the Simpson Group. This agency offers a wide range of travel insurance options including Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Travel Medical, and Personal Effect Loss for Canadian Travelers.
Please note that this coverage is for Canadian residents only. For guests who are not from Canada and who are interested in the ‘Visitors to Canada’ insurance package please contact the Simpson Group directly at JSimpson@simpson-group.com and reference your Yamnuska Mountain Adventure trip.
$3995 CDN includes certified guide, meals, helicopter flight into the Bugaboos (with food caches), group camping and cooking equipment, 1 night at Glacier Circle hut, park entry and wilderness passes. You will need to bring adequate clothing and equipment for a backcountry ski traverse. GST is extra.
Not included: transportation to and from heli staging location, accommodation in Golden the night before the trip.
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group
Is it for you?
This is our most challenging trip for skiers who have winter camping experience and are in very good to excellent ski touring shape. Expect expedition weight packs of up to 55 pounds. There will be multiple days of travelling over 10 km with elevation gains of up to 1500 meters. Guests should have advanced downhill ski skills and feel comfortable on non-groomed blue to black runs in any condition at the ski hill. There is significant downhill skiing on this trip and guests should be able to safely descend moderate to steep angled slopes with a pack on. Travel on this trip is limited to guests on alpine touring equipment. This would be a great trip for guests who have completed the Bow/Yoho Traverse and are looking to progress to a more challenging trip. Avalanche course experience is recommended.
Skiers and Splitboarders should be competent with their transitions (switching from ski tour mode to downhill mode). Splitboarders should be comfortable skiing downhill in split mode.
Splitboarders should have their downhill kick turns dialed, as this skill will be used frequently to traverse downhill and across slopes at mellow angles.
We strongly urge skiers and Splitboarders to bring spare parts for their setups. Most of our guides are familiar with splitboarding sets ups, but each system is different, and our expectation is that guests will have basic knowledge on common Splitboard concerns (i.e. replacing toe straps on Splitboard bindings).
Understanding the prerequisites should help with your training throughout the winter. Winter ski tours and walks with a 50lb pack are recommended as the best training, however other activities such as cross country skiing and hiking can also be good training. Please read the full program description to ensure you are both physically and mentally prepared for the trip. If you are uncertain about your experience level, please call us.
Weather & Conditions
This is a challenging program in complex terrain and as with any trip into the mountains, neither weather nor avalanche conditions can be guaranteed. Poor weather or avalanche conditions may require a change to the itinerary. Regardless, expect the trip to be a great adventure in a beautiful area. In the unlikely event that we require a helicopter to assist with a non-emergency relocation due to poor avalanche or weather conditions, there will be an additional charge.