West Ridge

Page Type
Alberta, Canada, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Most of a day
Moderate Scramble

Route Quality: 2 Votes

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West Ridge
Created On: Sep 4, 2005
Last Edited On: Feb 20, 2006


This is a 3300’+/- ascent day. I recorded 3500’+/- on my altimeter. Cross the road from the Buller Day Use parking area and pick up the well maintained single track Buller Pass Trail. After about 10 minutes you will cross your first bridge and start gaining some elevation. After about 20 more minutes you will start to see Mount Buller’s summit through a clearing on the left. Mount Engadine will have been on your right this whole time. After approximately 40 minutes total you should reach a second foot bridge and this is where you depart from the trail.

Route Description

Turn left, before crossing the bridge, and follow the left bank for a short distance looking to intersect a mostly dry creek bed that forks left. Turn left and follow this drainage up to a col below Mount Buller’s west ridge. You could pick several lines. I chose to follow a deep cut canyon as it developed on my right side. This allowed for some solid rock ascent originally. I left any signs of trail or flagging, but it turned out to be good ascent ground all the way as well as a very direct approach. My route bypassed the col to the right and eventually intersected a faint descent trail through scree and talus on the west ridge. If one stayed further left you would ride up a ravine to shale that led to the before mentioned col.

Once on the west ridge, you have approximately 1000’ left to the summit. The first half is easy going, but towards the top you will run into polished slabs (photo included), some of which will be covered with ball bearing rubble. If you stay climbers right you will avoid most of this crux. However, if you are a competent climber/scrambler, you will probably just prefer to smear up this solid rock to the finish. The top of the ridge narrows somewhat, but serves as a pleasant and uneventful finish to Mount Buller.

There are two summit registers. One is actually dedicated to a fallen comrade who apparently lost his life on the mountain. The most prominent views I enjoyed on a semi-cloudy day included Mount Sir Douglas, Mount Birdwood, Mount Bogart, Mount Kidd and Mount Nestor.

On descent, I took the fast scree down all the way to the col, which is a great lunch spot. I then descended fast shale directly down the north slope from the col and encountered a fresh lamb kill (photo included). I continued down this gully, sometimes taking advantage of the right bank and eventually just took off on the right bank to intersect the Buller Pass Trail. This involved some bushwhacking but was straightforward for the most part. I completed this route in 4 hours but Kane’s guidebook advises 5-7 hours which is no doubt more realistic.

Essential Gear

Bear Spray, Alpine Ax and Gaiters if Snow Conditions Prevail