Emerald South Peak ***

Lake Louise and Emerald Lake backcountry ski touring.

Via Emerald’s South Ridge. A fun, safe variation to the classic slide-path route.



Park at Emerald Lake parking lot in Yoho National Park.

Trip Report


The South Ridge route begins up towards Hamilton Lake, along the hiking/snowshoe route for approximately 600 vertical meters. At approximately 1920m, veer right off the trail to climb steeply through the trees to a flat bench beneath Emerald Peak’s south ridge.


Looking back towards the group after gaining the bench beneath Emerald’s South Ridge.


Looking ahead towards Emerald South Peak, from the bench. Approximate route up along the ridge shown in red above. Descent route marked by an arrow. This face was relatively low-angle, ranging between 15 and 30 degrees in steepness.


Looking back towards the group after gaining the South Ridge. Mount Burgess on left, lower slopes of Carnarvon above Hamilton Lake on right.


Nearly topped-out on the South Ridge. Route up to the South peak shown in red above. Alternative descents marked by yellow arrows. Taking the left descent will bring you back down to Hamilton Lake via a steep slope (~40 degrees). Yellow arrow leading right between Emerald South Peak and Emerald’s True summit would bring you down towards the main slide path via a steep slope. Both alternate routes would require low avalanche hazard.


Walking the last few meters to the top of Emerald South, before strapping on the skis for an excellent run down. You can ski right from the top of Emerald South.


Skiing down the face of Emerald South. Great ski quality!


There are a few options for entering the main slide path from the South Ridge. Above is our chosen entrance, at approximately 2200m. It is possible to enter the main slide path from higher up, but that would require a descent down a steep, cornice-lined slope.


One of the best-value ski tours in the Rockies, with a relatively safe 1300m ascent/descent in approximately 4.5 hours. Ski quality did, however, begin to deteriorate below 1700m due to the presence of a breakable sun crust.



Actual GPS track in blue above, with red arrows indicating direction of travel. Yellow arrows mark the alternate descents.


Distances and times are round-trip.


Author: SeeThenSki


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