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Mount Robson
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Emperor Ridge 
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Emperor Ridge 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ British: MVS 4b AI3 Steep Snow

   
Type:  Trad, Ice, Snow, Alpine, Grade V
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ British: MVS 4b AI3 [details]
FA: Ron Perla, Tom Spencer 1961
Page Views: 2,575
Submitted By: John Peterson on Dec 19, 2012
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Climbing the last gargoyle before the summit

Description 

This historic route was nearly climbed in 1930 by Underhill and O'Brien before the successful 1961 scent.

You would be crazy to get your information on this route from a website. This is a serious route that requires significant commitment. I'll share my story but the difficulty depends greatly on conditions and my experience may not be typical.

My full experience is at wiki.western.edu/mcis/index.php/Prof_Petersons_Personal_Stuf>>> - take this for what it's worth. The difficulty of this route depends greatly on the condition of the gargoyles - if the snow is in bad condition retreat is the only option.

Here's a few things to know:

The lower part of the route up to the Black Towers is mostly rock with small bits of ice to cross. We encountered climbing up to about 5.7 but most of it is much easier. There are few good anchors and plentiful loose rock. We stayed near the left side of the face. It's possibly to avoid some of the harder climbing by climbing on the lower angled terrain to the right.

We passed the Black Towers through a chimney on the left - this seemed fairly obvious. The only fixed gear we found on the route was a pin at the top of the chimney.

Once you attain the ridge proper you have to deal with a number of vertical steps and nearly a mile of often questionable snow gargoyles to reach the top. We passed most of the vertical steps on the right except for the final short one where a short trip to the Emperor face was required. Don't expect any solid anchors once you hit the gargoyles.


Protection 

A small rock rack and some ice / snow gear.



Photos of Emperor Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
About 3/4 way up the gargoyles.  The rope weaves on alternate sides of the gargoyles - there are no other anchors.
About 3/4 way up the gargoyles. The rope weaves o...
Looking up to the summit from the final set of gargoyles
Looking up to the summit from the final set of gar...
Early on in the gargoyles.  Robson was the only mountain to stick out of the clouds so we never were able to see other peaks or the lower part of the mountain while on the upper ridge.
Early on in the gargoyles. Robson was the only mo...
At the summit looking down the North Face
At the summit looking down the North Face
Back from the climb.  I lost at least 60 pounds over the 6 days on the ridge.
Back from the climb. I lost at least 60 pounds ov...
The initial part of the ridge before the gargoyles get big
The initial part of the ridge before the gargoyles...
Nearing the summit - Wishbone Arete is on the left and the North Face on the right of the right
Nearing the summit - Wishbone Arete is on the left...
In the main part of the face - note the vertical step from the last picture just below.
In the main part of the face - note the vertical s...
The first significant vertical step in the ridge.  We did a pitch of 5.7 from where this picture was taken but easier alternatives were probably further right.
The first significant vertical step in the ridge. ...
Sunrise on Whitehorn, start of our 2nd day on the route
Sunrise on Whitehorn, start of our 2nd day on the ...
Berg Lake from just before the technical part of the ridge.  At this point we were still 3 days from the summit.
Berg Lake from just before the technical part of t...
At the first vertical step after the Black Towers.  We avoided it to the right.
At the first vertical step after the Black Towers....
The initial climbing was easy (low 5th class) but very loose.  Note the Emperor Face on the left.
The initial climbing was easy (low 5th class) but ...
The Emperor Ridge
The Emperor Ridge
Comments on Emperor Ridge Add Comment
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By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 31, 2013

As I recall, High Above the Canadian Rockies: Spectacular Aerial Photography has some amazing aerial shots of the Emperor Ridge. The author is Russ Heinl.

By Joe Catellani
From: Seattle, wa
Oct 8, 2013

excellent video about an ascent of Wishbone Arete by Janelle and Mark Smiley

?

excellent aerial photos of Robson www.pbase.com/nolock/cdnrockies&page=all