Clemenceau Icefield Climbing
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|Shared By:||Ken Trout on Dec 12, 2010|
IntroductionMount Clemenceau (3,658m) is fourth highest in the Canadian Rockies. It is deemed a skiable summit via the Tiger Glacier. The North Face is a worthy ice climb and the Northeast Ridge is similar to the Emperor Ridge on Robson.
The glaciers of this area are often said to have a bigger feel than the rest of the range, more like the Himalaya some say. Getting there is more of an expedition too.
ACCESSIt is common to fly in via chopper to the Lawrence Grassi Hut. The pick-up spot is near the Mica Dam on the Colombia River.
For a decade or so, it was possible to use the Sullivan River logging roads. Unfortunately, this road was decommissioned in 2005 and a key bridge was taken out. One good web story tells that timber cruisers had to cross a "King Kong" log over a gorge, before the road was built. Sometimes decommissioned logging roads are scarified too and that makes hiking a bummer. Too bad, from about 1994 to 2005, climbers were getting up Tsar Mountain in a day and a reasonable glacier route into Mount Clemenceau was possible from the old Sullivan Road's end.
There is a way in from Jasper National Park. From the Icefield Highway, hike up the Athabasca River, then the Chaba River to Fortress Lake in Hamber Provincial Park. After struggling past the lake, head down the north side of the river until a potentially gnarly crossing at Clemenceau Creek. Follow Clemenceau Creek to the Mount Clemenceau. The North Face of Clemenceau was first done using this approach in winter.
I did check the Woods River with peakfinder and found it well preserved from logging and thus very difficult without a trail.
Reversing a section of the Great Divide Traverse might be preferable to the Alberta adventure. Starting from the roads end at the head of the Bush River, pass Triad Peak, Chaba Peak, and Apex Mountain on the way to Mount Clemenceau. Climbing the rappel up to the glacier under Chaba Peak is of unknown difficulty.
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Prime Climbing Season