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Alpine Climbs in Canada

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Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby sheelba » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:06 pm

I'm looking to organise a trip to Canada next summer. We will be looking to do easy Alpine routes, basically anything that doesn't involve (or easy) pitched climbing. Initially I wanted to start around Vancouver and head down towards Seattle but it seems that all the literature and chat covers the Canadian Rockies area.

Is the Canadian Rockies area the best to go to and whereabouts? How crowded does it get in the summer? Are there any good guidebooks for easy Alpine climbs? I've come across the books on the 11000's but wasn't sure how technical they/it was and the scrambles book which presumably doesn't include routes on snow and ice.

Is the area around Vancouver feasible? I don't mind one or twos days walk in but probably don't want to have to take light aircraft. Why are the Canadian Rockies so much more popular?

Any information is welcome as I know next to nothing about mountaineering in North America

Thanks
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Re: Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:00 pm

The mountains around Vancouver are very feasible. Additionally, Vancouver is the most cosmopolitan city on the west coasts of Canda and US, in my humble assessment. The Canadian Rockies are certainly more famous than the B.C. Cascades. It is a bigger range with a storied history. You could start from Vancouver and head east hitting the Cascades, Selkirks, Bugaboos, and Canadian Rockies. Dow Willliams on this board is the expert on the Canadian Rockies.
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Re: Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby wkriesel » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:20 pm

Hi. I think the Canadian Rockies are plenty challenging. I did Athabasca and Boundary Peak in early July with a local guide, Tom Wolfe, since this involved lots of glacier travel. It snowed alot on the first day but cleared up after that. I chose these mountains because I was short on time and they are easily accessible from the campground closest to the icefield visitor center. We only saw two other parties the whole time. Wish I had more time and climbing partners, so I could have done something more remote/challenging.
I obtained most of my trip information from SP, so just keep poking around here. Be aware that the CND is very strong currently and prices inside the parks are surprising.
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Re: Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby jbvdb493 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:56 pm

hey
i lived in bc for 5 years and at first i had only heard of the rockies as well until i moved there
but there is tons of alpine to do around vancouver
the canadian cascades around chilliwack have lots of alpine rock of all levels
around squamish and whistler there is garibaldi provincial park with tons of glaciated peaks including garibaldi itself and the wedgemount area that is awesome
further along the hwy 99 is joffre and mattier that are also glaciated peaks with lots of options
most of these areas are a short day approach from the car and well equipped with camping platforms etc and only a few hours drive from van
if u go to the mountain equipment co-op in van there will be several guide books and maps for the areas i mentioned
cheers
jb
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Re: Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby Old School WB » Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:58 pm

I can't believe Dow hasn’t posted yet; he must be out climbing.
Dow is the man for Canadian Rockies rock routes; apart from local guides, few locals have climbed as many multi-pitched rock and alpine rock routes as Dow. Dow has bagged many non rock summits as well.

Myself, I have close to 300 Canadian Rockies summits over the last 15+ years, mostly walk ups, but also half of the 11,000’ers and many glacier and easy rock routes (5.4 to 5.7). Depending on your objectives, the Canadian Rockies can be very busy on the famous routes, or you can have entire river valleys and complete ranges to yourself.

Any route, close to the highway, in good weather, and of quality will be very busy on the weekend. Many high quality routes exist within a few hours walk along well maintained trails and where most times you will be the only party on the route.

The weather plays a huge part in the quality of most routes, like most mountain ranges ;-) The winter of 2010/11 had record snowfall and Alberta/BC had a very cold wet spring. Even with the best summer we have had in years, many alpine routes are in tough (snowy) conditions, but many glaciers and ice faces have the best coverage they have had in years. It is typical in the Canadian Rockies to get snow every month of the year above treeline, especially north of Lake Louise.

Usually, July and August are the best climbing months and have the most stable weather; or it can rain (snow above treeline) for the entire month of August. The best current guide (although old now) is Sean Dougherty’s “Selected Alpine Climbs in the Canadian Rockies”. Maybe out of print?


http://rmbooks.com/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9780921102144

http://rmbooks.com/book_details.php?isb ... 0921102144

Some locals, unfairly in my opinion, refer to this guide as the book of lies because of some lack of detail or misinformation regarding a few routes in the guide (likely routes the author did not climb). Considering the variety of routes, the geography of the region, the book is quite extensive in its coverage, but of course experience and skill of the user is still required. (I think Dow is going to disagree with me on this recommendation)

I have only climbed a handful of peaks in the Purcells, and no peaks further west, so I cannot comment much on those ranges. Everyone I know who has climbed in the BC Cascades and Coastal ranges loved it, but access can be a challenge.

Sheelba, if you are keen on the Canadian Rockies, pm me and I provide more information.

Cheers
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Re: Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby Dow Williams » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:47 pm

If you google Canadian Rockies Alpine Climbs, you will come up with this link at the top of the search, 400k hits, right here on SP. A small selection of objectives. The guys above have covered everything else well for you I believe. Good Luck
Canadian Rockies Alpine Climbs
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Re: Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby sheelba » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:43 pm

Thanks guys lots of useful information around the garibaldi provincial park looks interesting but it's hard to choose without shelling out for a guidebook
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Re: Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby jbvdb493 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:31 pm

i forgot
this site has lots of info on the sea to sky are (hwy 99) north of van
http://www.ubc-voc.com/wiki/Mountaineering_trips
cheers
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Re: Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby Marmaduke » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:06 pm

I'm going to Canmore/Banff in 3 weeks, I'll give you my report when I get back. But class 3 is the most I'll be hiking. Hopefully we'll be able to bag 8 peaks.
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Re: Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby James_W » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:15 am

The Joffre group a bit north of Whistler and the Tantalus range near Squamish sounds like it fits your criteria.
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Re: Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby sheelba » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:48 pm

Thanks again for all the info. Looking through it seems like there's plenty to do along hwy 99 and combining this with a trip to the cascades and then down to see relatives in Seattle would make for a pretty good trip.

I don't know whether anyone knows anything about the area north East of the upper Lilooet Provincal park. Would perhaps be a bit risky doing something so remote for a first trip in North America.
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Re: Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby ExcitableBoy » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:01 pm

I've been to the Lilloet area many times to ice climb in the winter, but don't know anything about alpine climbng in that area. Don Serl would be the person to ask.
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Re: Alpine Climbs in Canada

Postby AlexeyD » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:55 am

Regarding Garibaldi Park, I can comment a little as I was there a couple of weeks ago - albeit only hiking and a bit of bushwhacking/snow climbing, nothing serious. Anyway, based on my observations, rock climbing or scrambling possibilities in that area are very limited due to the extremely poor (volcanic) rock quality. Most mountaineering routes involve snow and ice and/or glacier travel - all of which there is plenty. Good luck!
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