Miner's Gully has been on my to do list for a while. Why? Because I really like skiing lines where I can point to them from the bar and be like 'yea, I charged that' and then take a slug of beer and act all nonchalant.
Let that be a lesson kids - if you're looking for something cool to ski, go for something that lets you humble brag from the pub.
So, Miner's Gully - what's the deal? Well, Brad, Skyler and I met up at 6am this morning, condensed to two cars for three people (needed a shuttle) and then headed to Canmore. After stopping at the Rocky Mountain Bagel Company for some sweet, sweet Oso Negro coffee, we dumped Brad's car at the dog park by the Canmore Nordic Center and then the three of us piled into the Powder Wagon and finished the drive up to the Ha Ling/EEOR parking lot.
The approach to Miner's Gully is super straightforward - just slog up the Ha Ling trail. you could put your skins on if you really wanted, but the trail is packed down by the year round hikers, so without ski crampons you'd be backsliding and if you're bothering with ski crampons, your efficiency isn't going to be super high anyway.
Shortly after you break into the alpine, you'll find yourself approaching a saddle between Ha Ling and Miner's Peak. Whenever feels right to you, break right and head for Miner's. You can tag the summit as you go by (it's a sub 10 minute detour), or just continue contouring too your right into the open bowl. You want to traverse across the top of the open bowl to the far end. From there, strap on your skis and crush the incredibly obvious line.
Brad led us off cruising down the couloir and through the choke point before hooking into a sheltered area behind some rocks. Skyler had never ridden with Brad before and may have been a touch shocked with just how good he is.
Once we'd all made it through the choke and to the relative safety of Brad's rock sheltered waiting spot, we regrouped and continued skiing the drainage. The bottom fan of the couloir made for some fantastic, wide open spring skiing.
Many trip reports speak of a rappel down near the bottom of the gully. We fully avoided it by just traversing onto the skier's right ridge and skiing the ridge out until it hooked up with the Highline Trail which we then followed back to Brad's car.
Literally could not have been easier. Literally have no clue why I carried a 30m rope, harness, belay device, prussics and all of that.
This has to be the best cost-benefit ratio for back country skiing on the planet. You drive super high, quickly slog to the top of the line with only 700m of total elevation gain (took us about two hours and we weren't moving fast as we were bootpacking and carrying full ski-mountaineering kit), then ski a great line back to your other car and then you're at the pub in time for lunch.
Other than needing just the right conditions stability and snow wise for the route to work, I can't recommend it enough
Grumpy, cantankerous, wildly opinionated and so much more! Getting really tired on skis is what makes me happy.