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Helena Ridge East

Summit Elevation (m): 2560
Latest Trip Date: Monday, December 30, 2019
Elevation Gain (m): 1100 Round Trip Time (hr): 5
Total Trip Distance (km): 16
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: A very easy backcountry ski or snowshoe trip with minimal exposure to avalanche terrain.
GPS TrackDownload GPX File
Technical Rating: OT2; YDS (Skiing)
Map: Google Maps


As the year closed out in 2019 the avalanche ratings were still fairly high and the weather was bitterly cold. Wietse and I decided to do a relatively safe and easy outing to get our ski legs going. For me this was a repeat from an earlier trip in 2019 but we varied it a bit on descent as you can see below. Helena Ridge East is a great objective for days when you either don’t have time for a long ski tour, or aren’t sure what to expect from the weather or conditions. Ironically the weather conditions were very similar to the last time I left the Rockbound Lake parking lot – bloody freaking cold!

The better route for skiing Helena Ridge, note the descent track which is further west of the ascent line.

I won’t go into great detail on this particular outing since I’ve already done a write-up on it. The uptrack was slightly climber’s right of the one I took earlier in the year, avoiding the rock garden and any avy terrain. The track was also very steep in places – being a snowshoe track and not a skin track. We weren’t complaining, however, because breaking trail in the unconsolidated powder would have been a nightmare! On ascent we noted tracks further west and decided to check them out for descent as I suspected the run down would be better there.

The summit was slightly warmer than the parking lot, but windy and cool nonetheless. Skiing down further west along a scenic rock garden was definitely preferable to our ascent line and I’ll be doing this run more often. We had ankle deep powder to knee deep in the forest lower down. We should have repeated the upper 1/3 of the run but maybe on a warmer day. The ski down through the trees to Silverton Creek was better than expected but the short traverse back to where we left the Rockbound Lake trail was a bit manky. Next time I think I’ll just stick right to Silverton Creek rather than traverse above it.

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