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Routes in Mount Columbia (3,747m)

Athabasca Glacier to East Face
Bush River to East Face T
North Face/North ridge T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b WI3
Type: Trad, Alpine, 8000 ft, Grade II
FA: James Outram, Christian Kauffmann, July 1902
Page Views: 445 total, 5/month
Shared By: Ken Trout on Dec 30, 2010
Admins: Kate Lynn

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Climbing Mount Columbia from the British Columbia side is not well developed. Most reports tell of skiing across the Columbia Icefield, in Alberta. The best British Columbia route uses Bush River logging roads to connect with a glacier climb used by skiers of the Grand Traverse.

I found one report for a summer climb that gave good information for both the logging roads and where to go cross-country. Mountain Project's Peakfinder helped me verify the existence of the roads. The glacier travel used to connect with the standard East Face is described in many reports by ski mountaineers.


Starting from the end of the logging road, decide how you want to tackle the steep hillside directly above the cut-block. I put in two ways to go from the end of the road based on what can be seen via Peakfinder. Maybe only 300 meters of green infested steepness to get to the system of subalpine benches above.

After five kilometers of cross-country, probably on talus more than meadows, the first col can be crossed. Further north, the second col, looks faster in good weather. Both Cols are recommended in Chic Scott's description for the Clemenceau section of the Great Divide Ski Traverse. (Scott, Summit and Icefields, 1994)

Once on the crevasse ridden glacier, climb three kilometers to the flatter icefield. This section is agreed upon as passable by many web and literature accounts. I would suggest that the objective hazard posed by this crevassed glacier is less than the Athabasca Glacier Route, if you have enough friends to pull you out of a hole. On Peakfinder, showing late summer conditions, this is the least broken part of the entire Bryce Creek Cirque.

The final climb, up the East Face, is moderate snow. Ski mountaineers often report leaving the skis behind along the final ascent, perhaps more because of bumpy ice, as opposed to steepness.

Good photo of Columbia's west side @ flikr