All Locations > International > North America > Canada > Alberta > Icefields Parkway > Mount Athabasca
Regular North Face
Avg: 2.8 from 5 votes
|Type:||Trad, Ice, Snow, Alpine, 5000 ft, 4 pitches, Grade III|
|Page Views:||595 total · 29/month|
|Shared By:||Brad Warne on May 20, 2016|
|Admins:||Dave Rone, Tom Gnyra|
Ice Field Snocoaches gate Details
The Ice Field Snocoaches gate is closed during buisness hours, but the gate is open in the wee hours. This allows for a alpine start, but you may have to wait for a bus to open the gate to get out during the day.
DescriptionA "classic" north face route, the position on the summit is spectacular. The climbing on the crux is condition dependent. The crux can have ice which makes it considerably easier. Without ice it is rated 5.7, with ice it has been called 5.4. The rock on the crux is pretty rank but is standard for the rockies. When the rock is frozen it stays in place (generally), but I wouldn't pull on a lot of those hold if on a normal rock route. The ice/snow slope is approx 200m in length.
LocationPark at the pullout at the snowcoach gate which is across the highway from the visitor center. Follow the snowcoach road uphill for approx 20mins, which brings you to the snowcoach staging area (shelters and fuel tanks). Once here locate a trail that follows a moraine on the left side of the road. Follow the trail up the moraine to a rocky shoulder at the base of the glacier (depending on the time of year a small snow slope may need to be ascended to reach the rocky shoulder).From here ascend the glacier trending left to gain the col below the Silverhorn. Once here the face is obvious. Start up the face which is about 50 degrees and aim for the large yellow rock in the middle of the face. From the yellow rock head straight up to a gap in a small rock band. We did the slope in 2-100m pitches on snow and placing screws as protection. The crux is just up and right of this gap. The crux is approx 40m depending on where you belay. The start of the pitch is lower angle and I assume would be quite easy if iced up. When we did it we found no ice and found it to be sketchy and somewhat runout. There was seams where it may be possible to place pins but the rock is quite fractured and loose. The upper part of this pitch hold the technical climbing and is very well protected by pins. We built a belay on ice screws but if there is no ice there are two belays on pins. One is on top of a large block on the right, and the second is 5m higher up on the wall on the right. From here there is approx 70m of snow/ice climbing to take you over the top.
There are multiple options for the descent. they are both similar in time, with the AA col being the "safest"
If coming down early and conditions are safe then The "Ramp Route" on the North Glacier can be used.
For both descents you must first go down from the summit to a small col. From here ascend to the top of the "Silverhorn". Descend and you will reach the "AA col". Here is where the two routes split. If going down the "Ramp Route" go right and descend the glaciers to where you will join your path from the approach.
For the "AA col" descent go left and down steep slopes to the AA glacier. Stay on the right hand side, minding the slopes above until you reach the end of the glacier and a rock cliff. From here a trail leads back to the snowcoach road.