Guidebook : Ski Zones

Egypt Lake
Ball Range, Massive Range - Alberta, British Columbia - Canada
Banff National Park, Kootenay National Park

The Egypt Lake area is located about 10km west of Sunshine Resort and is one of Banff's most popular summer backpacking destinations but seems to be over looked in recent history as a backcountry skiing destination. Other than the north couloirs of The Sphinx most of the runs in this area are hidden away from obvious sight. There is a wide variety of options in the area for skiers, everything from pleasant ski tours to lakes with impressive back drops to steep committing couloirs that will test most skier's abilities. When the snow is unstable there are plenty of tree skiing areas or short pillow areas in Pharaoh Creek and when conditions line up there are a number of larger objectives within reach of the shelter.

Ski Zone Access Info: [?]
Distance: 13.00km
Vertical Gain: 675m
Vertical Loss: 350m
ATES: Challenging

Ski Zone Info: [?]
Max Elevation: 2918m
Min Elevation: 1900m

Map Info:
82 O/4: GR771623
GR864633 (Healy Creek Trailhead)
GR820607 (Simpson Pass fork)
GR804603 (creek bed at treeline)
GR794613 (Healy Pass)
GR772625 (Egypt Lake Shelter)

From the parking lot at Sunshine Resort head to the back of the lodge near the warehouse to find the Healy Creek trailhead. The bottom part of this trail is also the Lower Canyon ski out run and Sunshine Resort. Follow the ski out for about 500m where you will find the first fork, turn right onto the Healy Creek Trail with a short down hill section to arrive at the first bridge at Sunshine Creek. Ski along the trail for 2.5km until reaching the second bridge to cross Healy Creek. From the second bridge until you get to the Simpson Pass turn off you will cross a number of avalanche paths, on February 11, 1990 four backcountry skiers were killed in an avalanche in this area ("Avalanche Accidents in Canada Volume 4") and most years you will find debris piles here that have easily taken out the trail. After 3km you will arrive at the Simpson Pass fork (look for the sign on climber's right), head right and uphill for 1.5km before finally reaching treeline where you will find a creek bed/ditch feature to climber's right. Follow the creek bed heading north-west onto a larger flat alpine like area in the high treeline. From here you can either follow the flat section in front of you heading towards the Monarch Ramparts or veer more north to follow the summer trail over rolling tree islands to access Healy Pass.

From Healy Pass you have a couple of good options to head down to the shelter, one that ends up a bit south of the shelter or the summer trail which leads directly to the shelter. The southern route, although low angled, has less flat sections hidden within it but results in a 2km tour north to the shelter. The summer trail route has many flat sections that can be avoidable but can be a real pain for splitboarders.

To take the southern route head directly west from Healy Pass down a section of rolling terrain and into a open area with small light trees. While skiing the open, lower angled slope try to stay a little skier's left of the fall line that slightly leans to the skier's right. As you enter the larger trees stay on top of the left wall of the small drainage (the drainage usually has open water). For the rest of the run the trees get larger but stay well spaced out. The run ends at Pharaoh Creek where you would start your climb for The Sphinx's east and south faces. Head north along the creek bed for 2km until you notice a short open slope to the west where you will find Egypt Lake Shelter.

For the summer trail route head north-west from Healy Pass traveling between two small ridges and into a gully like feature with small trees. As the trees get larger start skiing the fall line while still heading more skier's right than fall line. Midway down you will find tighter and steeper trees for a short section with flat sections afterward. After a number of open flat areas within the forest you will descend one last steeper slope onto Pharaoh Creek. Look for the bridge used for the summer trail, Egypt Lake Shelter is west of the bridge and up a short clear slope. There is a Warden's Cabin 300 meters north-east of Egypt Lake Shelter, if you find it first then head south-west.

Overview of the Egypt Lake Area from the north east.
Overview of the Egypt Lake Area from the south east.
Overview of the Egypt Lake Area from the east.
Overview of the northern section of the Egypt Lake Area from the east.
The view from the north ridge of Scarab Peak looking down onto Scarab and Egypt Lakes.

Map overlays created for satellite data and may be off in terrain mode, for more info click here.

Egypt Lake Contents:

  Healy 3

  Lost Peak

  Monarch Ramparts
       - North Bowl

  Natalko Peak

  North Pharaoh Peak
       - Black Rock Col
       - Black Rock Couloir
       - Black Rock East Ridge
       - Black Rock Trees
       - Isis Couloir
       - Osiris Couloir

  Scarab Peak
       - North-East Face
       - North-East Gully
       - South Face/Glacier

  South Pharaoh Peak
       - Burning Hand Couloir
       - Eastern Slide Paths
       - Egypt Lake Couloir
       - North Couloir
       - Pharaoh Trees
       - Shelter Pillow Field
       - Shelter Trees
       - The Nile

  The Sphinx
       - Eastern Avalanche Paths
       - Eastern Trees
       - Giza Couloir
       - Hall Of Records Couloir
       - Summit/South Face
       - The Sphinx Couloir
       - Tree Triangle

  Unnamed 742663

  Unnamed Pharaoh Peak
       - North East Chutes
       - South Bowl
       - Sphinx Lake Slope
       - Sphinx Lake Trees
       - Summit via East Ridge

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