Boulder Creek Basin Backcountry Ski

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2.31 miles (3.72 km)

Total Elev. Gain:
2,142 ft. (653 m)
Total Elev. Loss:
-266 ft. (-81 m)

Max Altitude:
8,278 ft. (2523 m)
Min Altitude:
6,400 ft. (1951 m)
by Brian Sather — Updated 2 months 3 weeks ago · Posted Tue, Feb 25, 2014
This route will put you on a ridge with several options, in some big and technical terrain. At the top, the NE side will have some cliffs and couloirs into the E. Fork West Eagle Creek drainage, the SW side is some lower angle tree skiing into Jim Creek, and the SE is an open slope and bowl into the Boulder Creek drainage. You can continue on to access the Copper Bowl deeper in. Continuing on the ridge from the terminus of the displayed route could get technical with cornices and some exposure as the ridge becomes more knife-like, so perhaps a safer approach to Copper may be a gentler slope just to the east of Boulder Creek, but then you will be abandoning some good ski terrain on the way. Start from your parked sleds at the wilderness boundary and go down and cross Jim Creek and climb the ridge on the east side for a 1000' ascent that puts you onto a serene tree-sheltered bench that is a rather enjoyable walk at 7300' before you arrive at the saddle where the summer trail crosses (Fake Creek Trail). From there, you should have some visuals to decide on your options. The route here continues to climb the ridge. Access Park at the SnoPark at Catherine Summit on Hwy 203. An Oregon Snopark Permit is required. Follow Rd 77 east on snowmobile to the warming cabin at Taylor Green. Continue on Rd 77 past Taylor Green as it begins descending down to West Eagle Meadow. The snowmobile ride is on groomed trails at this point. After crossing the bridge at West Eagle Meadow head toward Main Eagle but look for a road to the left that will likely have snowmobile tracks. This road heads up to Jim Creek and is fairly easy from the start if the snow is consolidated. The road switches back a few times and then follows just to the left of the creek for a ways up the canyon. At the end of the road where some sledders may have started to side hill and head left up the mountain is the wilderness boundary where you should park you sled and get you skis on. It is important to cross the creek here to gain the best skin track route up the ridge on the east side of Jim Creek. Going beyond this point is not only illegal, but also pops you out under a ridge with a lot of snow above you and some likely avalanche danger that you don't want to be rumbling under. Alternately, you can drive to Medical Springs and up Big Creek and sled on a different road into Main Eagle. The snowmobile ride is on groomed trails and is relatively mellow the entire way.

From one of the high points above the Copper Bowl. The ridge is spiny with a rather big headwall to the left.
The initial climb from Jim Creek.
Looking across the SE aspect of the drainage to Boulder Creek. High point above Copper Creek is at the top of picture.
Some boot packing may be in order at times.
Route planning
A look into E. Fork West Eagle Creek
The final turns are a nice finish to the trip.

Contributors: Zachary Heath