Granted this small peak, a sharp little thing in its own right, has its show stolen from the nearby Mount Sir Donald and its classic Northwest Ridge (III 5.4), a mere couple miles to the east/southeast, but Mount Afton makes for a nice alternative for those who either a) don’t have the time or inclination to knock off the 7,800+ feet of gain to get up Sir Donald, or b) are more interested in a short, moderate scramble than a sustained and exposed technical climb.
With about 3,600 feet of gain and a roundtrip of less than 8 miles, the way to Mount Afton via Abbott Ridge offers up enjoyable hiking on the approach, decent 4th class scrambling on its east buttress, and perhaps the best mountain scenery I’ve yet come across...something of a cross between the High Sierra and the North Cascades.
Linking up Mount Afton with its close neighbor to the east, Mount Abbott, a nice loop can be done, ascending Afton’s 4th class east buttress via Mount Abbott and descending Afton’s unstable but easy northwest ridge. A lovely tarn is passed en route.
Getting ThereThe Trans-Canada Highway runs through Rogers Pass between Revelstoke and Golden, some 4 hours from the international airports in both Calgary, Alberta and Kamloops, British Columbia.
The pass, which sits at 4543 feet, boasts a gas station and convenience store, a Best Western ($150/night in July 2007) with a reasonably priced but so-so buffet after 5:30 PM, and a visitor’s center.
The trailhead for Mount Afton is located 1.2 miles west of Rogers Pass. If coming from the pass, turn left on a paved road signed for the Illecillewaet Campground. The campground is adjacent to the trailhead. Drive about a half mile in. There’s parking for some 20-30 vehicles.