Mount Victoria, North Summit via North Glacier

  • July 25, 2014 · 5:30 PM
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Mount Victoria North Summit is an alpine climb attempted most commonly from Lake Louise, and while not the highest point on this impressive mountain, is (logistically) more easily obtained than the higher south summit from Abbott Pass.

This climb will be be an attempt from the Lake Louise starting location, requiring an overnight bivy just below the toe of the glacier as the ascent requires a pre-dawn ascent up the glacier and slopes to the Collier/Victoria col.

A brief synopsis of the plan is detailed below:

1. Friday afternoon, meet up and drive to Lake Louise

2. In the evening, hike past the Plain of 6 Glaciers teahouse and ascend to the toe of the glacier, where a rest spot will be set up.  This is not a camp, but rather a "spot to rest a few hours".  Don't expect to get much sleep, cook a meal, or any such luxury.  This is a pure bivy with minimal gear (eg sleeping bag and bivy sack).

3. Pre-dawn, we will ascend the North Glacier of Mount Victoria, and ascent to the col between Collier and Victoria, and proceed to the summit the best way (5.4 rock or 50degree ice)

4. After reaching summit, we will descend to the col and off the glacier prior to daytime warming.

This trip will consist of 3 participants.  Participants will be screened prior to being accepted on this trip.  This is due to the necessary skills to meet the following sections encountered on this trip:

- Glacier travel as the North Glacier is very heavily crevassed and full knowledge and recent practice of glacier travel, self-rescue, and partner crevasse rescue is required

- Difficult scrambling, as the "black band" must be ascended which consists of narrow gravelly ledges that are steep and unprotectable

- 5.4 or above rock climbing ability in alpine boots, as this is an option for reaching the summit.  This includes ability to ascend/descend technical rock with full rope work not involving bolted stations/anchors

- Ability to ascend/descend 50 degree snow/ice slopes with crampons, including ice/snow belays as this is the other option for reaching the summit if the rock step is bypassed.

I will set up a wait-list and contact those on the wait list to assess their experience, skills and gear requirements.  I hope to include a mix of both experienced and "new to" participants, but also must ensure the whole group will be safe in their travels.

The list of required gear, carpooling information, and other details  will be communicated to accepted participants. 

Of course, participants are required to be 2014 Members of the club.  If members don't have crevasse rescure, RC3 or other assessments done at this time, this may be covered off prior to the trip either through myself or other activities through the club.

I am currently inquiring of the bivy for this climb requires an "backcountry camping permit" from Parks Canada since we won't be camping as much as waiting for the snow to set, and will let participants know.

Full Disclosure:  I have attempted this summit 1 time before and had to back off 1/2 way up the black band due to rapid daytime warming resulting in an unstable snowpack.  I am a conservative climber and will not push for summits in such variables.

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  • John S

    A fantastic climb - thanks Mark for organising the spectacular weather as well.

    July 29

  • Mark

    Great climb from an early start from the bivy site. Summit by 8:20. Snow didn't soften until back on upper glacier below the black band. The group were excellent to be with on the way to this excellent summit.

    July 27

  • Lenny

    Hi Mark; this trip sounds like it would be a challenge for me but I have recent crevasse rescue training and need some glacier experience for a course I want to take. So I'd love to join if your willing to add another to your trip! I live in K country so would be happy to join you on an outing if your in the area sometime in the meantime - so as to discuss.

    June 19

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