Sphinx Couloir ***

Banff backcountry ski touring.

Via Healy Pass and Egypt Lake. A scenic day out into a relatively remote area, with a couple great options to ski!



Park at Sunshine Village, in the lot at the far end past the day lodge.

Trip Report


The route begins out of the Sunshine Village parking lot and up the Healy Pass hiking trail. Follow the trail up to Healy Pass. Above is a view looking back towards the Monarch, on right, from Healy Pass early in the morning.


Looking west from Healy Pass. The Sphinx can be seen on left, with Egpyt Lake below. Approximate route above marked by the red line, with the couloirs hidden out of view on its north face. Note the east-facing summit slopes that shed directly into the left couloir. Start early!


Looking up at the 2 Sphinx north couloirs. We chose to ski the left couloir. Each couloir is approximately 400m including the fan. The left couloir averaged 45 degrees in steepness. The right couloir is much steeper and narrower. The fan measured 35-40 degrees steep.


Mid-way up the left couloir looking back towards Egypt Lake and Pharaoh Peak. A firm layer of ice resided below ~40cm of dense, but powdery, snow. Small windslabs higher up.


Almost topping out!


At the top of the left couloir looking back down. Ski conditions were amazing! The top of the couloir was approximately 5m wide and made for some exciting, steep skiing.


A view up the left couloir from the bottom, at Egypt Lake. Time for the slog back up to Healy Pass!


Reaching Healy Pass at around 12pm. You can ski all the way back down to your car from here in 30-60 minutes, conditions permitting.



GPS route above in blue.


A closer view of the GPS track from Healy Pass to the Sphinx.

Screenshot_2016-04-07-14-35-09Times and distances are round trip. Although net elevation gain is ~700m, gross elevation gain is closer to 1400m! Keep this in mind when planning your trip…


Author: SeeThenSki


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