Mount Deltaform runs along the continental divide of North America in the Canadian Rockies as well as serves as the provincial boundary between Alberta and British Columbia. Mount Deltaform, along with Mount Neptuak, anchors the west end of an area of Banff National Park known as Valley of the Ten Peaks. Mount Deltaform is the only peak of this group that belongs to the coveted 11,000er club in the Canadian Rockies. Its triangular formation makes it the most imposing of the group to climb as well. Its north face rises 4000’ to 5000’ off of the valley floor which created an opportunity for one of the more infamous snow/ice routes in all of North America, the Supercouloir route (IV, 5.8/9) established by George Lowe and Chris Jones in 1973 (“It was the most horrible pitch in my life”, George Lowe wrote of the epic last pitch, the last two rock pitches taking he and Jones over eight hours to complete!). This route has claimed a few souls over the years. A much more reasonable climb on Mount Deltaform is the Northwest Ridge (II, 5.5). These are the only two published routes on Mount Deltaform as of 2010. The northwest ridge can be used to make a complete traverse (III, 5.5) of the mountain which I completed in 2010. And after making a traverse involving both main ridges, I concur with Bill Corbett, “Deltaform nearly rivals the Goodsirs for the rankest rock in the southern Canadian Rockies….”
Walter Wilcox named Mount Deltaform after the Greek letter “Delta” because he thought its north face resembled same. The Kaufmann brothers, guiding Herschel Parker, made the first ascent of Mount Deltaform in 1903. “Although we had been successful in conquering what is doubtless one of the most difficult mountains on the American continent, no word of mutual congratulation was spoken. Our position was far too serious to permit any feeling of exultation.” Parker wrote. Our party of four celebrated the summit about as much, realizing we were going to end up bivying somewhere high on the gendarme laden eastern ridge. The northwestern ridge up and over Mount Neptuak and Mount Deltaform (the ridge we took on ascent and most common today) was not actually climbed until 1961 by Greenwood and Boles.
Park at the Moraine Lake lodge near the Lake Louise area below Valley of the Ten Peaks. Follow the Larch Valley Trail which heads up to Sentinel Pass. At a marked trail junction, turn left following the Wenkchemna Pass trail to the pass itself. Turn left to start the climb of Mount Neptuak and Mount Deltaform via their northwest ridges.
Route Description(s)Mount Deltaform Routes
When to ClimbI did a full traverse of Mount Deltaform during the month of August. We had a dusting of snow along the entire route. There is enough fourth and fifth class along the northwestern ridge, particularly towards the summit, that it would be best to do this ridge in as dry of conditions as possible. The Super Couloir route is best done early season, May-July. In August of 2010, it was completely out of condition and a photograph has been provided reflecting such.
External Links100’s of Canmore and Banff National Park multi-pitch rock climbs, ice climbs, alpine climbs and scrambles, just scroll down to routes
Banff National Park, Parks Canada
Best Eats in Canmore: Iron Goat, tons of organic/free range fare, my favorite is the game meat loaf. As good as prices as anywhere really and the staff is made up of a few aspiring climbers. The main man works his heart out making everything run smooth, not a given in Canmore. Best dining views (and sunny outdoor seating) in town bar none, from Mount Lougheed to Mount Rundle traverses, two of my trademark beta contributions near the town of Canmore. True best of the best mountain local dining experience.
Best Eats in Banff: The Bison, all organic/free range fare, with a detailed description of their suppliers. Recently expanded (2010), I recommend sticking with the downstairs. Better menu, prices and social ambience. Maybe retire to the bar upstairs for sunset or late night. Bison chili is amazing!
Best Coffee in Canmore: Beamers, the locals favorite, super wholesome lunch stuff, local guys, no attitude on service
Best Climbers Hangout: Summit Café, most likely place to find me or my brethren shooting the bull about beta. Best breakfast place in town, good coffee as well, serve Mennonite meats from Valbella, which is the best place to buy free range products anywhere in the world, right here in Canmore.
Climbing Gear: All way too expensive in the Bow Valley, but if you must, Mountain Magic in Banff is far superior to service and actual knowledge about climbing than the two in Canmore.