Mountain Project Logo
To save paper & ink, use the [Hide] controls next to photos and comments so you only print what you need.

North Glacier

Mod. Snow, Trad, Snow, Alpine, 5000 ft (1515 m), Grade II,  Avg: 3.5 from 13 votes
FA: JWA Hickson, EL Redford, E Fuez Jr, August 1920
International > N America > Canada > Alberta > Icefields Parkway > Mt Athabasca
Access Issue: Ice Field Snocoaches gate Details

Route Beta


This standard route was first descended in 1898 by Norman Collie and Hermann Wooley, after an unguided ascent of the harder North Ridge. Collie is credit with discovering and naming Mount Colombia and the Colombia Icefield.


This route needs an alpine start because the gate to the access road is only left open at night. There is a second gate, never unlocked for climbers, just past the trail parking.

The trail to the glacier can be sussed out with headlamps, but it gets steep and loose. First-timers might consider preinspecting the trail in daylight.

Once on the glacier there are only a few crevasses to avoid or hop. The crux of the route is the traverse above the calving ice cliff. The giant cliff below, combined with crevasses that parallel the traverse, leave little room for error. With inexperienced partners, consider a pitch or two along the traverse, with some pickets or long screws for anchors.

After the traverse, a long snow slope ends with a loose trail to the top of the shoulder. The final summit ridge is easy and scenic.


One person I know soloed the route with only hiking poles in August. If you're going to be tied to someone, then bring glacier travel gear (Boots, axe, crampons, gloves).

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Mount Athabasca Summit<br>
Photo by Kirk Miller<br>
August 1997ish<br>
[Hide Photo] Mount Athabasca Summit Photo by Kirk Miller August 1997ish
On Athabasca<br>
close to summit ridge<br>
trail leads to crux traverse<br>
[Hide Photo] On Athabasca close to summit ridge trail leads to crux traverse
North Glacier Route<br>
Mount Athabasca<br>
contour interval: 100 feet<br>
Red - Serac<br>
Red dots - avalanche runout<br>
Green - North Glacier Route
[Hide Photo] North Glacier Route Mount Athabasca contour interval: 100 feet Red - Serac Red dots - avalanche runout Green - North Glacier Route

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Keswick Cumbria.UK
[Hide Comment] Nice to see some routes other than hundreds of boulder problems and 50' sport 'climbs' Jan 2, 2011
Berkeley, CA
[Hide Comment] As of August 2014, the gate on the access road is locked to climbers. Fortunately, it only adds a few minutes to the walk in each direction. Aug 6, 2014