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Mount Robson
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Emperor Ridge T 
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Emperor Ridge 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b AI3

   
Type:  Trad, Ice, Alpine, Grade V
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b AI3 Steep Snow [details]
FA: Ron Perla, Tom Spencer 1961
Page Views: 8,249
Submitted By: John Peterson on Dec 19, 2012

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (3)
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Looking up to the summit from the final set of gar...

Description 

This historic route was nearly climbed in 1930 by Underhill and O'Brien before the successful 1961 scent.

You would be crazy to get your information on this route from a website. This is a serious route that requires significant commitment. I'll share my story but the difficulty depends greatly on conditions and my experience may not be typical.

My full experience is at wiki.western.edu/mcis/index.ph... - take this for what it's worth. The difficulty of this route depends greatly on the condition of the gargoyles - if the snow is in bad condition retreat is the only option.

Here's a few things to know:

The lower part of the route up to the Black Towers is mostly rock with small bits of ice to cross. We encountered climbing up to about 5.7 but most of it is much easier. There are few good anchors and plentiful loose rock. We stayed near the left side of the face. It's possibly to avoid some of the harder climbing by climbing on the lower angled terrain to the right.

We passed the Black Towers through a chimney on the left - this seemed fairly obvious. The only fixed gear we found on the route was a pin at the top of the chimney.

Once you attain the ridge proper you have to deal with a number of vertical steps and nearly a mile of often questionable snow gargoyles to reach the top. We passed most of the vertical steps on the right except for the final short one where a short trip to the Emperor face was required. Don't expect any solid anchors once you hit the gargoyles.

Protection 

A small rock rack and some ice / snow gear.


Photos of Emperor Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Nearing the summit - Wishbone Arete is on the left...
Nearing the summit - Wishbone Arete is on the left...
Rock Climbing Photo: Early on in the gargoyles.  Robson was the only mo...
Early on in the gargoyles. Robson was the only mo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing the last gargoyle before the summit
Climbing the last gargoyle before the summit
Rock Climbing Photo: About 3/4 way up the gargoyles.  The rope weaves o...
About 3/4 way up the gargoyles. The rope weaves o...
Rock Climbing Photo: The initial part of the ridge before the gargoyles...
The initial part of the ridge before the gargoyles...
Rock Climbing Photo: At the summit looking down the North Face
At the summit looking down the North Face
Rock Climbing Photo: Back from the climb.  I lost at least 60 pounds ov...
Back from the climb. I lost at least 60 pounds ov...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Emperor Ridge
The Emperor Ridge
Rock Climbing Photo: In the main part of the face - note the vertical s...
In the main part of the face - note the vertical s...
Rock Climbing Photo: The first significant vertical step in the ridge. ...
The first significant vertical step in the ridge. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunrise on Whitehorn, start of our 2nd day on the ...
Sunrise on Whitehorn, start of our 2nd day on the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Berg Lake from just before the technical part of t...
Berg Lake from just before the technical part of t...
Rock Climbing Photo: At the first vertical step after the Black Towers....
At the first vertical step after the Black Towers....
Rock Climbing Photo: The initial climbing was easy (low 5th class) but ...
The initial climbing was easy (low 5th class) but ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Marathon traverse because gargoyles are dumb.
Marathon traverse because gargoyles are dumb.
Rock Climbing Photo: I seen 'em do it man, they fuckin' drown i...
I seen 'em do it man, they fuckin' drown i...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up the ridge.
Looking up the ridge.

Comments on Emperor Ridge Add Comment
Show which comments
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 31, 2013

As I recall, High Above the Canadian Rockies: Spectacular Aerial Photography has some amazing aerial shots of the Emperor Ridge. The author is Russ Heinl.
By Joe Catellani
From: Seattle, wa
Oct 8, 2013

excellent video about an ascent of Wishbone Arete by Janelle and Mark Smiley
?

excellent aerial photos of Robson pbase.com/nolock/cdnrockies&pa...
By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
Feb 11, 2016

Great video. Sums up the whole idea of "choss." In order to bolt that thing into oblivion to make it "safe" you'd need a bulldozer first.
By kiff
Aug 14, 2016

One must channel their inner bulldozer to get up and down this over-sized badass cairn. A truly amazing climb, it has a little bit (and sometimes a lot) of everything. We circumvented the gargoyles by traversing the west face to the upper Wishbone Arete where we had to contend with a maze of Dr. Seuss snow, mush, and ice for ~200 meters. Descent down the Shwartz Ledges was not chill- lots of wet slides and running water, but it paled in comparison to our bullshit descent from the hut, oh bear!
Didn't encounter any rock sequences harder than 5.6, but I don't know what AI3 means so I won't contest that much.