Home > Trip Reports > Copper Peak N Couloir (via Holden)

Copper Peak N Couloir (via Holden)

WA Cascades East Slopes Central
Posted by timgibson11 on 3/26/22 3:57pm

On Sunday I left Holden Village around 7AM and headed up the Big Creek drainage. It was a cold and windy day with snow showers, blowing snow and limited visibility, so I opted for the most protected route on my hit list – the North Couloir of Copper Peak. I’ve only found one record of this line being skied previously (Eduardo Blanchard’s group in 2013). Could this really be just the second descent of a big line so close to Holden? Perhaps there are some swift silent types out there. It’s difficult to get eyes on the couloir itself, as it remains hidden from view until you are in it. Thanks to Eduardo’s trip report I had a pretty good idea how to find it, and it turned out to be the highlight of my visit to Holden.

After climbing through a large debris pile in the lower apron I stayed climbers’ left and continued up the main avy path on the NW face of Copper. Eventually I traversed to the right below a big rock face until I reached the base of the main couloir at around 7500’. From there things got progressively steeper, narrower and more exciting until 8500’ when I ran out of snow. The last couple hundred feet up to the summit is nothing but steep rock and ice, so I scraped out an awkward little platform and put my skis on.

The couloir was a blast to ski. It’s quite narrow, but always wide enough for comfortable jump turns in the steep upper section and more fluid turns as you approach the apron. The route then splits – you can either head skier’s right to retrace your ascent, or continue down the fall line into a lower couloir that features a large cliff. I didn’t have gear to rappel over the cliff, but I did have plenty of time and energy, and the lower couloir held some of the best skiing of the day, so I continued down to the edge of the cliff, then booted back up to rejoin my ascent route and ski the large avy path all the way down to Big Creek. This is a very high quality 4500’ descent, and the short approach from Holden meant that even with the detour in the lower couloir I was back well before dinner time.

Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate during the rest of my time in Holden. However, I was invited to give a presentation on ski mountaineering to the community, which was a lot of fun. Thanks to all the folks at Holden Village for the amazing hospitality, I’ll definitely be back next year. Staying in Holden is probably the closest I’ll ever get to one of those heli-accessed and fully catered BC hut trips. And when a combination of thick clouds, rain, and wet snow interfered with some of my ski plans, I tried to appreciate what I had instead of worrying about what I didn’t have – this is one of the most important lessons of life at Holden.


Below area few photos from the day. Full video of the ski descent available at https://youtu.be/1Mxu9siTxow 



Holden Village says "NO" to stacking your turns!


I think it has been skied a number of times. I've only made it part way up and had to bail due to avy conditions but have friends who have tagged it. Always good times in Holden, especially Big Creek!

Plenty of swift silent types out there these days! That being said, I dont have instagram or facebook and I dont get to hear about what anyone is skiing often (which i prefer!) but I do appreciate your TRs and this forum. Maybe ill do a TR someday haha! Nice TR from the Stuart range too!  Solo Coulie crusher!

Really a hell of a nice line and good conditions, score

Nice Tim! Brought back some good memories.

Nice going, it makes me green with envy the great lines you have been skiing. Super nice you take the trouble to post such great trip reports.  If Mr Scott is motivated to come out of hiding, you may be what’s good for TAY. Thanks. 

Tim seriously save some for the rest of us. Fucking sick. Catch you out there sometime

Reply to this TR

2022-03-26 22:57:08