Combatant Couloir, BC

In year four of Cody Townsend’s “The Fifty Project,” we’re showcasing his lines and route descriptions in onX Backcountry. Go deeper on The Fifty Project and get the beta from Cody on how he plans, executes, and conquers these 50 descents.

Watch The Fifty: Combatant Couloir, BC

Nestled at the base of the highest mountain entirely in BC, Canada– Mt. Waddington– lies a perfect couloir. A white ribbon knifed through colossal granite towers set among an ocean of ice and snow. While Mt. Waddington is a prize for mountaineers, the Combatant Couloir is a prize for ski mountaineers. But what if the mountains, the ice and the permanent snow has changed so much, that exactly what defines the Combatant as perfect, is no longer true? Joined by professional freeskier Nick McNutt, the FIFTY crew heads up to one of the stormiest, windiest and what local legend Mike King describes as “One of the worst places on the planet” to ski a line that looks classic, but may not be classic anymore.

View Cody’s Line in onX Backcountry

 Below is an interactive map of Cody’s line for The Combatant Couloir. Use Control + Drag to rotate in 3D on desktop or two fingers to pinch, zoom and rotate on mobile.  Login or create an account to gain full functionality.

The Fifty Project Guidebook: Combatant Couloir

onX Backcountry has partnered with Cody Townsend to bring you guidebook quality descriptions of routes in The Fifty Project from Cody himself. Read his beta on The Combatant Couloir. Start your free trial of onX Backcountry today to view these lines and descriptions in the App.


A white ribbon that’s set between towering walls of pale granite, the Combatant Couloir is an aesthetic beauty. It’s proximity to the indomitable Mt. Waddington adds to its allure yet, its severely out-of-the-way location makes it a line that’s difficult to justify as an objective. Additionally, climate change, heat domes, and snow degradation may have permanently erased its top-to-bottom skiability. Recession of the permanent snow, also known as névé, from the upper reaches of the line may render the terrain discontinuous. Utilize the Combatant as a side excursion to a lengthy mission on Mt. Waddington only.

Photo: @BjarneSalen

Ascent Description

There are many places where your base camp on Mt. Waddington may start. Whether you’re on the Tiedemann Glacier, head of the Scimitar Glacier, or lucky enough to be dropped off on the Combatant Couloir, there is serac fall and avalanche hazard at every turn. Once at the base, a straightforward, but steep 2,000 feet boot pack heads straight up the couloir itself. If looking to top out, rock climbing equipment like pitons, dynamic ropes, and anchor-building equipment is required to get through the slippery, rocky, and highly exposed choke about 90 percent of the way up the couloir.

Photo: @BjarneSalen

The Descent

he descent is classic couloir skiing. Steep, tight, and beautiful. Be careful of the bergschrund at the bottom, but otherwise you can ski it as conditions allow. Take a moment to look up and marvel at the place you’re in.

Photo: @The.Fifty.Project


The couloir itself doesn’t have much hazard other than typical avalanche and exposure present in all couloirs. However, the approach to the Combatant Couloir is rife with overhead hazard, serious serac fall potential, and massive hidden crevasses. Just getting to the base of the couloir is most likely the most dangerous part.

Photo: @BjarneSalen


Unless you’re a rugged explorer with the desire to bushwhack from the ocean, the only access to the Mt. Waddington area is via helicopter. Contact Mike King at White Saddle Air Services for drop off. Do not expect to be dropped off where you want, when you want, or with everything you have. Round trip flights to Mt. Waddington run about $4,000 in total.

Photo: @BjarneSalen

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