Comstock Couloir, Rogers Pass BC

In year five 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 fifty descents.

Go Behind The Line with “Mapping The Fifty”

Go Behind The Line with “Mapping The Fifty”

Hidden in the remote wilderness of the notorious Rogers Pass in British Columbia, Canada, you’ll discover the seldom-tackled marvel known as the Comstock Couloir. This remarkable descent spans a staggering three thousand feet and is protected by a full day’s trek, a labyrinth of avalanche-prone slopes, varying aspects, imposing glaciers, and a colossal cornice that stands sentinel at the line’s summit.

Mapping The Fifty: Comstock Couloir

Go behind the scenes with @CodyTownsend , Bjarne Salen, and Greg Hill in “Mapping the Fifty.” In this episode, we reveal how these legendary adventurers harness the power of onX Backcountry to plan their mission on the elusive Comstock Couloir.

The Fifty Project: Comstock Couloir Round 2

Round 2 on the wild, rugged and exposed Comstock Couloir in Glacier National Park, Canada. With 28 days to ski three lines, a tough decision to stay in the Sierra versus driving ~2000 miles for a two day weather window hangs over Cody and Bjarne. Go to Canada and risk an opportunity in the Sierra or wait in the Sierra while wasting an opportunity in Canada. After making the call, the FIFTY crew links up with Greg Hill, Mali Noyes and Spencer Harkins to give another attempt at one that got away last season. An episode that opens up some of the philosophy behind the project, the irony of this objective based dream and why a lot of us go into the mountains.

The Fifty Project: Comstock Couloir Round 1

Watch Cody and his friends Sam Smoothy, Greg Hill, and onX Backcountry Ambassador Mali Noyes attempt to summit and ski Comstock Couloir on Rogers Pass in British Columbia. A two-week hunt followed by a two-day mission fraught with incredibly challenging weather, subarctic cold, and a turn around due to dangerous conditions is going to leave you hungry for snow.

View Cody’s Line in onX Backcountry

Below is an interactive map of Cody’s line from the Comstock Couloir episode of The Fifty Project. 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: Comstock 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 Comstock Couloir below. Start your free trial of onX Backcountry today to view these lines and descriptions in the App.


Deep, complex, and steep. That’s the name of the game for Comstock Couloir. While Rogers Pass offers a bounty of lines within a day’s walk of the highway, if you go a little deeper, an endless amount of rarely seen or skied terrain lies just beyond. The Comstock Couloir isn’t heavily sought after because of its distance from the road, but it represents the full gamut of ski mountaineering techniques like walking a long distance with a heavy overnight bag, mapping multiple slope aspects and elevations bands, glacial travel, and exposure while navigating a 1,000 meter couloir under an overhanging cornice. It’s a line that needs specific snow, weather, and stability conditions to sync in order to give it a go.

This line should only be attempted by highly experienced ski mountaineers.

Photo: @the.fifty.project

Ascent Description

The trail starts at the infamous Illecillewaet Glacier trailhead on Roger’s Pass and winds along the decommissioned railway path before getting into the Asulkan Valley. Passing by the notable Asulkan hut, you walk about five miles and over 5,000 vertical feet to get to Asulkan Pass. From there, the views of the Comstock Couloir are impressive and intimidating. It’s important to not get ahead of yourself, the next crux is below you, the South Face of Asulkan pass. Getting down it must be done cautiously and with the right timing as avalanches litter the face and a sudden warming can lead to tragedy. Once at the bottom of the valley, you ascend up the narrow avalanche gully, on the edge of old moraines into the basin of Mt. Dawnson. If planning for an overnight, the safest spot is in the trees before ascending the glacier. The route up to the Comstock has two options, to go around from the north side, up to Twisted Rock and the summit of Dawson from the north or booting straight up the couloir itself. The much safer option is skiing the Comstock top down as an ascent of the Comstock Couloir itself presents extreme danger with a massive overhanging cornice that bakes in the sun all day and would be immediately fatal if anything were to dislodge. Climbing the couloir itself must be done on only the safest of days, and even then you’re taking a dice roll with your life.

Photo: @BjarneSalen

The Descent

The couloir requires a big snow year to fill in properly, and is a 45-50 degree ski down. Rocky conditions, thin snow, and blue ice can be present on the 1,000 meter descent. Its best to move quickly in the morning as the cornice hanging over your head the will be warming and more prone to break throughout the day.

Photo: @the.fifty.project


Cornices, glacier travel, a variety of slope aspects and elevations must be factored as well as fall-you-die ski terrain. There is serious exposure, hidden crevasses, and navigation hazards abound throughout this line.

Photo: @BjarneSalen

Exit Description

After the descent, climb back up the South Face of Asulkan Pass. Be extra cautious about this ascent as afternoon warmth creates extreme avalanche hazard. Ski down the way you walked up back to Illecillewaet Trailhead.

Photo: @the.fifty.project


Parking and winter permits required to ski from the Illecillewaet Trailhead at Roger’s Pass in Glacier National Park, Canada. Overnight permits required if overnighting in the backcountry, and do not ski Roger’s Pass without them.

Photo: @the.fifty.project

Find Your Fifty
onX Backcountry gives you the tools to find, plan, and execute your own backcountry ski adventures.
Try onX Backcountry for free for 7 days.