OverviewMount Maude is a reclusive summit, high along the continental divide, nestled against the Haig Glacier, in the high country of Kananaskis. Named in 1918 for Major General Sir Frederick Stanley Maude, a British commander who captured Baghdad during WW I. Considering the position of this mountain, it has a relatively low elevation of 3042m (9981ft.).
First ascended in 1922 by G.R. Adams, E.W. Crawford, M.D. Geddes, W. Gillespie, M.K.P. Hendrie, N.D.B. Hendrie, J.B. Wilcox, guided by Rudolph Aemmer.
The high altitude glacial plateau, the Haig Glacier (average elevation of 2700m, 8860 ft.), flanks the northern and eastern aspects of Mt. Maude, which is dramatically different from the southern and west slopes. The gentle southern slopes of Mt. Maude fall down to North Kananaskis Pass, Maude Lake (2350m, 7700 ft.) and Maude Brook. The western aspect drops considerably to Leroy Creek.
Being along the continental divide, this peak is partially in the province of Alberta and British Columbia. Within Alberta, the approach and mountain is within Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, and within British Columbia, Height of the Rockies Provincial Park.
Most people likely view Mt. Maude from North Kananaskis Pass while enjoying the popular backpacking loop from South Kananaskis Pass and Three Isle Lake to North Kananaskis Pass. In the winter, the famous French/Robertson ski traverse gives great views of the northern and eastern aspects of Maude from the northern fringes of the Haig Glacier.
Getting ThereVery likely anyone visiting Mt. Maude will approach from Alberta and Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Access to North Kananaskis Pass, or the southern terminus of the Haig Glacier, would be from the busy summer trail along the north shore of Upper Kananaskis Lake, then heading north along the Upper Kananaskis River towards Turbine Canyon Campground, Maude Lake or North Kananaskis Pass.
Maude Lake is approximately 17 kilometres from the trailhead at the North Interlakes Parking Lot. Overnight camping is available at Turbine Canyon Campground (15 km from trailhead) which requires a backcountry camping permit with prepayment and a reservation. This backcountry campground is very busy in the prime summer months.
Access to the northern aspect of Mt. Maude requires extensive glacier travel and considerable approach time on these glaciers and should only be attempted by experienced mountaineers. Trailhead parking is located along the Smith-Dorrien road, approximately 20 km north of the Kananaskis Lakes area, at the Burstall Pass trailhead.
Hike or ski the trail towards French Creek, head south along the creek to the French Glacier to the Mt. French/Mt. Robertson col (col approximately 11km from trailhead). The summit of Mt. Maude is about 2 km south of the col.
Red TapeOnce a true wilderness area, the backcountry regions of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park has become extremely busy and popular. This has required increased regulation of the backcountry in the last 10 to 15 years in an attempt to sustain the healthy ecosystem and wildlife populations. Peter Lougheed Provincial Park only allows backcountry camping in designated backcountry campgrounds and no random backcountry camping is allowed. Closest backcountry campground to Mt. Maude is Turbine Canyon.
Up to date information about Peter Lougheed Provincial Park available at:
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
Height of the Rockies Provincial Park is part of the British Columbia Provincial Park System and no permits or passes are required for climbing, parking or camping in this park. Height of the Rockies Provincial Park is a wilderness area, without supplies or equipment of any kind. The park contains high concentrations of elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, moose, cougar, black and grizzly bears. Be aware of wildlife and practice “Leave No Trace” ethics.
Up to date information about Height of the Rockies Provincial Park available at:
Height of the Rockies Provincial Park
When to ClimbTypical Canadian Rockies situation with July and August providing the best conditions for high elevation climbing. Often September and October have stable and dry weather, but conditions can change dramatically. Fall climbing does provide colder temperatures for snow climbing, but with less snow for climbing and bridging of crevasses.
Camping / BivyPeter Lougheed Provincial Park only allows backcountry camping in designated backcountry campgrounds and no random backcountry camping is allowed. Closest backcountry campground to Mt. Maude is Turbine Canyon.
Height of the Rockies Provincial Park is a wilderness area, without any designated campsites in the Mt. Maude area. Please note; the area in the vicinity of South Kananaskis Pass and Beatty Lake is closed to fires and overnight camping. This closure is to prevent further human impacts to this sensitive alpine environment. The area remains open to day-use and wilderness camping is still permitted in the rest of Height of the Rockies Provincial Park.
Routes DescriptionsOnly two climbing route have been documented on Mount Maude. The relatively easy South and South-West slopes do provide a range of options and several variations are possible.
The North-East Face of Mt. Maude has been skied at least twice (and assumedly climbed twice), but likely only to the lower, outlier northern sub-summit. Kevin Barton and Jason Wilcox did climb the snow/ice North-East Face, and the North Ridge, to the highest summit of Mt. Maude on June 27, 2009.
A vague trip report on a Calgary, Alberta based webpage for backcountry skiing was the inspiration for this ascent: Biglines
- South Slopes/East Ridge, Alpine II
Line of the first ascent of Mt. Maude in 1922 by G.R. Adams, E.W. Crawford, M.D. Geddes, W. Gillespie, M.K.P. Hendrie, N.D.B. Hendrie, J.B. Wilcox, guided by Rudolph Aemmer. From North Kananaskis Pass up scree and rocky water course, steep and smooth; thence east gaining altitude to SE ridge half way between summit and col separating peak from East ridge. Broken poorly defined East ridge to summit. Ascent 7 hours from North Kananaskis Pass. Descent by ridge and snow on Haig Glacier side to East, scree slopes back to Maude Lake, 5 hours from summit.
- South Slopes, Alpine II
South slopes climbed in 1970 by members of YWCA wilderness camp, D Judds and 6 others. From Maude Lake South slopes climbed, an easy ascent.
- North East Face/North Ridge, Alpine III, 5.3
A beautiful swooping snow/ice line directly from the glacier to a deep notch in the North Ridge of Mt. Maude. This route is best done in spring or early summer when the ramp is covered in snow, and with cold temperatures, since the base of the ramp has a large bergschrund, and the surrounding ridgelines and faces are composed of loose, crappy choss looking for any chance to fall. First known complete ascent of face and ridge to the summit by Kevin Barton and Jason Wilcox in June 2009.
Approach Mt. Maude from the Mt. French/Mt. Robertson col. Once in British Columbia, bivy sites (snow on glacier) are available. On the northern outlier of Mt. Maude a snow/ice couloir extends from the Haig Glacier up to the nearly the summit of the northern outlier. The line is about 400 metres of snow or ice, with a large bergschrund on southern bottom edge of the couloir.
Depending on snow conditions, fun and fast snow climbing leads to the North Ridge. On our ascent, the face was snow all the way up, with the bottom third low angle (35 to 40 degrees), the middle third at about 45 to 50 degrees and steep at the top with about 55 to 60 degrees.
Once at the top of the face, an exposed traverse (climber’s left) leads over to the summit ridge. The ridge is very exposed with a variety of steep snow slopes and loose rock steps. Our early summer climb was more interesting and aesthetic because of the excellent snow conditions. The rock steps varied in difficulty, with a rating of 5.2 to 5.3, on very poor quality rock; knifeblades are recommended for protection.
The summit ridge was the crux of the climb and we did a running belay with rock protection on the way up and the way down. We downclimbed the ramp with solid snow conditions. The snow was soft above schrund, with the odd hip deep step, but mostly snow pen was boot top.
Return to Mt. French/Mt. Robertson col, then French Glacier to French Creek back to trailhead.