Mt Fisher (Cranbrook) North Couloir

Mount Fisher is a prominent peak visible from Cranbrook, British Columbia and in the summer a frequent scramble from the Cranbrook side of the mountain.

Mount Fisher from Cranbrook side
Mount Fisher from Cranbrook side

On the north side of Mount Fisher, there is great steep skiing but access is usually by snowmobile in the winter. Angelo, Zack and myself were there on Tuesday, 10 April 2018 to ski the north couloir, which starts from just below the summit rocks and leads it’s way to a hanging snowfield and eventually the steep apron into the valley.

North Couloir on Mt Fisher

We rallied our 2wd cars with summer tyres as far up the forest service road as we could get and slept in the cars for an early, 330am, start the next day.

A 2wd rental car with summer tyres doesn't go too far on uncleared forestry roads
A 2wd rental car with summer tyres doesn’t go too far on uncleared forestry roads

The next morning we had to walk a long way around to the base of Mount Fisher on the forestry road but eventually it was in our sights.

Angelo with Mount Fisher visible beyond

We skinned up to the base of the couloir and then steep boot packing up to the base of the hanging snowfield.

Angelo booting up the apron
Zack approaching the crux of the hanging snowfield
Zack working his way through the entrance of the hanging snowfield

Once on the hanging snowfield the boot packing became easier and Angelo raced to the top of the couloir.

Angelo booting up the upper couloir

The top of the couloir had a large cornice, we stayed a reasonable distance back but I couldn’t help but to probe it with my ski pole, which caused a large chunk to drop off. Pretty unstable. Enough of a scare for today, we put our boards and skis on and Zack dropped in first.

180410 Mt Fisher (6 of 12)
180410 Mt Fisher (7 of 12)

The snow was good, about 15cm of ski pen into mostly winter powder with a slight wind-skin on top. There was a lot of sloughing given the steep nature of the slope.

Angelo coming out of the couloir onto the hanging snowfield

We safely descended to the crux of the exit of the hanging snowfield and found an acceptable way to ski through.

Angelo working through the exit of the hanging snowfield

From there it was easy sailing to the valley.

180410 Mt Fisher (11 of 12)
180410 Mt Fisher (10 of 12)

And a long walk out, but thankfully with a sense of accomplishment of getting it done. The tour, car to car, took 11 hours. A lot of this time was walking on the road, a snowmobile and 4wd car with good tyres would speed things up considerably.

Descending down the valley for a long walk back to the cars – Fisher in the background