Surprise Pass, Lake Louise Alberta

~ By Jonny


Over the past few years, we’ve been working to up our ski touring game, exploring new zones, finding secret stashes and also revisiting some of the classic lines of the Rockies. Surprise Pass, near Lake Louise Alberta is one of those iconic backcountry lines that deserves a revisit at least once per year.

This classic ski tour requires a solid couple of hours to complete, and travels through some complex avalanche terrain, so knowledge, experience, and good conditions are an absolute must.

Skiing across the big slopes of Mt. Fairview

We started from the car park sometime around 9am, and by noon we had finished the bootpack to the pass. Greeting us was a solid 800m ski run to the valley bottom with near perfect snow on the top 2/3rd’s of the run.

Skiing up the bowl towards the pass

We found fairly stable conditions across the entire route, with no recent signs of instability. The bootpack to the col was also pretty benign, with some nice solid snow near the top making the final few meters a piece of cake.

The final bootpack to the pass

For anyone looking for a quick day tour with a near perfect run, this is an ideal choice.

Starting the run from the top of Surprise Pass
Perfect snow for miles
Perfect snow, and the excellent dog leg couloir on lookers right
@alpinebettie getting some amazing turns
Near the bottom
Go Pro shot from the col.

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