Mt Gordon is located up on the Wapta Icefields, north of Lake Louise Alberta.Located in the Yoho River Valley at the western edge of Wapta Icefield. Yoho Park, Major headwater Columbia River. Can be seen from Highway 93N
Named in 1916. after Gordon, Alexander MacLennan (A Presbyterian minister, Gordon was also a "persistent" climber. He was an armed forces chaplain in both World Wars.) Official name.
Mount Gordon is the background to peaks such as Mt Saint Nicholas and Mt Olive. The summit can barely be seen from the road and during an ascent is out of view until up on the Wapta neve, past Mt Saint Nicholas. This peak is a large mountain, size wise. A great challenging ski tour is to circum-navigate the mountain. From Bow Hut this trip can take between 7 and 12 hours. While the north side of the mountain is glaciated and mild in vertical relief, the south side is composed of mainly steep walls, seperated by small slanting ledges.
Mt Gordon sees most of it's ascents in the spring. A spring day on the Wapta Icefields is hard to beat. The views in every direction are outstanding. Determined people that either get lucky with the weather or enjoy suffering threw windy and cold, whiteout conditions do summit during the heart of winter.
Gordon is one of three mountains, the other two being Mt Olive and Mt Saint Nicholas that are with in cruising distance of eachother. Skiers often climb two of the three in a day from the hut.
It is doable to climb Mt Gordon in a day from the road, but 99% of ascents begin from the Bow Hut located at 2330m at the toe of a glacier, below Mt Saint Nicholas. This is one of the best huts that the ACC maintain. It is awesomly positioned. It offers a wood stove, propane lighting and cooking facilities as well the sleeping and cooking facilities are seperated so the partiers can go long into the night and the keeners can still wake up early. It is a great peak and remember, if you climb it on skies you get to enjoy the great descent to the hut.
The trip to Bow Hut and Mt Gordon begins at Bow Lake, which is located along the Icefields parkway, 30 minutes north of Lake Louise.
International Airports are located in Kamloops BC ( a ways away) and Calgary AB. From Calgary it is about a two hour drive along the #1 to Lake Louise, followed by the 30 minute drive to Bow Lake.
Park passes are required for all vehicles ($10/day or $75/year for the group).
Back Country wilderness passes are also required for each individual ($7/day or $42/year per person)
Please respect the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge property.
When To Climb
Spring is the best time to climb it.
Ascents on skies can take place from late October to early June, depending on the year. You can climb it during other months, but you don't get to enjoy the ski descent if you climb it wearing crampons.
Camping and the ACC
Tenting is allowed.
It is recommendable to stay at Bow Hut. For reservations call the ACC (403-678-3200).
Hut fees are; $17.50 for members or $24 for non-members
Joining a club such as The Alpine Club of Canada is recommended when climbing in Canada. While it is not obligatory, useful information can be had at any of their main Clubhouse in Canmore, or at their website which is open to everyone. A reservation is needed to stay at the hut. Contact the Alpine Club of Canada
www.weatheroffice.com or 403-762-2088
Alavalnche Conditions (during winter months only)
www.avalanche.com or 403-762-1460
The Banff Public Service Warden can give you an idea of what things are like or call Mountain Magic Equipment and ask for the 3rd floor. The boys that work up there generally know how things are.
Be prepared to navigate on a long broad white glacier in possibly very poor conditions.
A map, compass and GPS are very useful. Keep an eye on the weather.
Chic Scotts 'Summits & Icefields' is an excellent guidebook for skiing in the Rockies/Columbia Mountains. The book contains photo's, grid refrences and route descriptions on getting to the hut and climbing mountains in the area.
Murray Toft put out a special map for touring on the Wapta Icfield which is also a great idea to pick up. It is weather proof and contains only the terrain relative to touring on the Wapta.