Type: Trad, Snow, Alpine, 3700 ft, Grade III
FA: D. Chambers, P. Sherman, 1957
Page Views: 1,792 total · 12/month
Shared By: Peter Spindloe on Nov 23, 2007
Admins: Kate Lynn

You & This Route

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This is the standard route up Joffre, as described in Kevin McLane's Alpine Select book. It's similar to the only route up Joffre described in Matt Gunn's Scrambles in Southwest British Columbia, but they differ in how they start. Interestingly, this route is the hardest route described in Gunn's book and the seventh easiest in McLane's. The books have somewhat different audiences but this route is where they cross over (it's the only one they have in common, if you overlook the difference in the first half).

Both books are worthwhile references for this route.

If staying at the hut, head up the marked trail to the shoulder below the east face that overlooks the anniversary glacier. There are some good tent sites on this shoulder. Drop down onto the snow and decide which version you're going to do:

Option 1: The route described in McLane's book takes you up steeper snow, but avoids a loose gully. From the snow below the shoulder head up snow fields in a narrowing gully directly above. The angle might get as high as 50 degrees, and since you'll gain 1000 feet without a break you'll work up a sweat and a calf-burn. The gully ends abruptly on a small shoulder that looks out towards Mt. Matier.

Put away the ice gear and up and left on mostly reasonable third class rock. The angle will ease at the toe of another snowfield. You can diagonal up and left on the snow field, or circumvent it by going up and right looking for a prominent 10ft wide ramp. At the top of the ramp some very steep (for third class) rock takes you to the rim of bowl in which the snowfield sits.

Walk left towards a ridge. At the ridge you can either head up the ridge or cross it and do a disconcerting traverse on loose rock to the top of Australian Couloir. The couloir can be crossed, but it's steep (60 degrees), and then good rock will take you to the summit ridge. Instead of crossing the couloir, a better option is to head up the first ridge to a notch that requires some fourth class rock. This puts you within a few hundred feet of the summit.

It wasn't totally clear to us where to go so we crossed the Australian Couloir on the way up and then came down via the fourth class notch. Downclimbing the notch would of course be easier if you had come up it in the first place.

Option 2: Starting from the shoulder above the Anniversary Glacier, the route described in Gunn's book has you traverse left and up the Anniversary Glacier rather than head straight up into the gully as in Option 1. You skirt the flank of the mountain until an obvious snow gully head up and back right. Follow this until it's convenient to switch from snow into a rocky gully. This gully was somewhat nasty due to loose rock. This gully eventually takes you to the shoulder that looks out at Matier as described above in Option 1. From there, follow the route described above.

We went up Option 1 and down Option 2 which made for good variety. Boot-skiing down the bottom section of the Anniversary Glacier was good fun.


The route is approached via Cerise Creek, making an optional stay at the Keith Flavelle hut an option. We took less than twelve hours car to car (from the pullout on Hwy. 99, via the "winter trail" even though it was August).


We placed no protection and didn't use a rope on the route although we had carried some ice screws, nuts and cams. Depending on the snow conditions anything from ice screws to snow stakes might have been suitable, but in the good conditions that we had, none was necessary. We did use two axes rather than one which sped up the steeper snow (choked up on the shafts) and provided a good self-belay. Rock protection is unnecessary weight as the only fourth class section is short, can be avoided, and the rock is generally too loose to make pro worthwhile, and any pitching-out or simul-climbing would most just result in slowing you down and knocking loose stuff off.