Bonnington Traverse

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photo: Saul Greenberg

Opinion. This wonderful ski tour forms a horseshoe between Highway 3 and Highway 6. Once you gain the height of the land, it mostly follows ridge crests. Its not pristine: there are skidoo roads at the beginning and end, and you will be hitting well-travelled skidoo trails along the way. But the ridges are georgeous. The cabins - while primitive - are a luxury, although they really only sleep 4 people (so book them!). Cabins can be quite hard to find, as they are small and snow covered. A GPS is invaluable here. The logbooks have many reports of people arriving the night before only to tent as they could not find the cabin, even though it was only 100m away. Most of the route is reasonable in terms of avalanches, but there are sections that you will be exposed. The ridges on the last day also have sections that are quite steep; you will likely have to bootpack some of them (marked on the map). Also, be prepared to bail. Snow and avalanche conditions can change rapidly.

Fact. See maps. The trail starts at Bobmi Summmit on Highway 3 near Castlegar, and ends on the Porto Rico road/parking lot on Highway 6 between Salmo and Nelson. While hitching back to the car is possible, your best bet is to try to leave a car at the end. It is crucial that you book the cabins from Kootenay Mountaineering if you want to stay in them, as they are very small. Costs are minimal.