Rogers Pass Hermit – Rogers and Swiss Col


One thing you don’t see a lot of in WA (with the exception of the volcanos) or UT are big glaciers. With the forecast still predicting the high-pressure to be locked in place, I’d initially suggested doing a traverse of Mt Tupper over the Swiss-Tupper Glacier from Hermit to east. However, it would have been a car-drop, and from experience, the high-glaciers weren’t skiing so well with snow very sensitive to aspect. Instead we elected to take advantage of stable snow, clear skies and good visibility to trek into Rogers, Swiss and Tupper Glaciers and see how close we could get to Mt Rogers. It turned out to be another gorgeous day with good touring and surprisingly good snow. It’s probably because we were so powder-starved in the Coast, but boot top to knee-deep powder counts as good skiing in my book any time.

Trailhead at Hermit

Approaching the Lizard moraine and its confusing maze

Aggressive skin track through the Lizard

Route is pretty simple. Up the glades and mature timber of Hermit just west of the Hermit slidepath then after you punch through to treeline head to the obvious moraine at the head of the Swiss – Tupper Glacier – - also known as the Lizard.After passing a guided group that were heading for the Tupper Traverse, we found that someone had already kindly put a nice track through the Lizard.

Tim trying out my suggestion of stepping lightly.

Lots of other groups had visited this area ~ photo Sharon Bader

Panorama with Fleming – Rogers group to the left and Tupper to the right.

Mist hung around the middle glacier most of the day

View to Little Sifton and Rogers Glacier from Swiss Glacier

Lee takes in the view of Sifton Col and the undulating complex terrain of the Rogers Glacier

~ photo Rob McLachlan

From there on it’s a pretty easy skin up the Swiss Glacier to the Rogers - Swiss col. As we found out yesterday, coverage was very good and the biggest hazard on the glaciers today was sun-burn. Temperatures stayed very pleasant and we were soon cooking on the skin track.

Getting closer to Rogers – Swiss col at about 2850m on the Swiss Glacier

View east to the Rockies from upper Swiss Glacier

Approaching Rogers Peak and Rogers-Swiss col (out of view to picture right) on the Swiss Glacier ~ photo Sharon Bader

It was getting a bit late so Rob and I sprinted up to Rogers – Swiss col to take some pictures and take in what would be a spectacular view. Meanwhile Kendall and Tim went to scratch their couloir itch, booting partway up a south-facing couloir off Rogers Peak while Sharon took it easy.

Lee and Rob making their way to Rogers-Swiss col ~ photo Sharon Bader

Next few pictures are big panoramics, again scratching my itch of looking at big pictures and fantasizing about lines off them. We could see all the way to the Columbia Icefields – more then 100km to the north-east.

Panorama looking north west to north east from Rogers – Swiss Col – elevation 2940m

Mt Iconoclast from Rogers – Swiss col. The peak can be approached from the col to picture right.

The south face of Sir Sanford viewed from Rogers – Swiss col

View of the Columbia Icefield – about 100km away NE from Rogers – Swiss col

Mount Columbia and the Columbia Icefields – viewed from Rogers – Swiss col

Rob and I were up and down in short order. Kendall and Tim skied off their couloir and we proceeded to find good turns all the way down the Swiss Glacier - descending from 2900m or so to 1300m at the trailhead. That’s 1600m or about 5300 ft. The only thing we could have done better was to cut in to either the SE treed slopes of Puff Daddy or head over a bit more east to the Hermit Slidepath as the trees we navigated at the bottom got a bit tight for good turns. Still it was a fantastic day – blessed with all the elements for fun.

Kendall and Tim on a south-facing couloir off Rogers Peak

Kendall on Swiss Glacier

Sharon on Swiss Glacier

Rob drops in on a rock rib near the Swiss Glacier

Tim on the Swiss Glacier – Mt Tupper’s north face are in the background

Lee plays crevasse slalom with glacial ice on the Swiss Glacier

Kendall drops in. Loop Brook and the Asulkan valley are the backdrop

Kendall finds another powder stash

Tim finds soft snow – Swiss and Tupper Glaciers are the backdrop

Our up-track route is marked on this map. Our ski down basically followed this route.

Day 2′s elevation profile

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