OverviewStutfield Peak stands at the northern edge of the Columbia Icefield surrounded by a sea of many of the Rockies giants. The view to Stutfield Peak from the surrounding icefields is a beautiful, curvaceous, low angled glacial dome, but the West Face drops dramatically forming an impressive vertical wall that frames the infamous Black Hole beneath the North Face of Twins Tower. Stutfield Peak, along with its nearby neighbour, “Stutfield East” (unofficial, unnamed summit at 52.252810, -117.386535) provide an elegant saddle appearance at their shared col.
Stutfield Peak reaches an elevation of 3450 metres (11,319 feet) making it the 25 highest summit in the Canadian Rockies and eighth highest in Jasper National Park. Named for Hugh Stutfield, an explorer and mountaineer who climbed many peaks in the Canadian Rockies from the 1890’s to 1900. Hugh Stutfield, together with Norman Collie co-authored the classic, "Climbs and Explorations in the Canadian Rockies."
Between 1898 and 1902, Stutfield and Collie journeyed through the mountains, valleys and passes of the Rockies, where Collie completed numerous first ascents and discovered new views of Lake Louise and the Columbia Icefields.
The first ascent of Stutfield Peak was completed by Alfred J. Ostheimer and Hans Fuhrer during an impressive 36 hour outing from their base at the head of the Athabasca Valley. As well as climbing Stutfield Peak, they completed ascents of Mount Kitchener, North Twin and Snow Dome.
Getting ThereStutfield Peak is approached from the Icefield Parkway (Banff-Jasper Highway (Highway 93)). From Calgary drive west 165 km on the Trans-Canada Highway to Lake Louise in Banff National Park. From Canmore drive west 81 km to Lake Louise. From Lake Louise drive west 3 km on the Trans-Canada Highway to the Banff/Jasper Highway 93, drive north 125 km to “Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre” and the toe of the Athabasca Glacier.
Red Tape / Camping and BivouacsAll national parks in Canada require an entrance fee. No permit or fee is required to climb in Jasper National Park. A voluntary safety registration system is available for climbers in the Rocky Mountain National parks. It is necessary to register in person at the park information centres or warden offices during business hours. On completion of the excursion, the party must notify the park by telephone or by returning the registration form.
Up to date information about climbing and mountaineering in the Rocky Mountain National parks available at:
Rocky Mountain National parks | Climbing and Mountaineering
During the ski season, up to date avalanche bulletins for the Rocky Mountain National parks are available at:
Avalanche Bulletin – Jasper National Park
Avalanche Bulletin - Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks
Climbers are permitted to bivouac on long routes or otherwise where necessary to safely complete a climb. Some restrictions apply; mostly prohibiting the most popular peaks. A backcountry use permit is required for any overnight stay, contact any Jasper National Park visitor centre, where you may obtain the permit. Most parties will bivy or camp near the base of the route and ascend the mountain the following day.
ApproachThe summit dome of Stutfield Peak is generally low angled and fairly easy to approach, but gaining access to these slopes requires a long journey. The approach starts on the Athabasca Glacier, then travels over a vast icefield that requires good visibility and experience travelling on heavily crevassed terrain. From the toe of the glacier parking area, or if the short access road is closed (not ploughed in the winter), from the highway side parking lot, ski towards the toe of the Athabasca Glacier.
At the toe of the Athabasca Glacier head up the right side (northern edge) towards a ramp that provides access to the Columbia Icefield, the ramp base is about 5 km from the toe.
|Toe of Athabasca
|Base of ramp||Near top of ramp|
to Columbia Icefield
Once on the Columbia Icefield the southern edge of Snow Dome must be circumnavigated; generally stay south of the big and obvious crevasses on the south east slopes of Snow Dome, heading west, then angling north, north-west. The Columbia Icefield is not flat, and a serious of glacier hills and valleys are traversed as you head north to your objective.
|Skirting Snow Down||Heading north to Twins||Long ski to base camp|
Generally to ascend Stutfield Peak (or any of the The Twins (North Twin, South Twin, Twins Tower or “West Twin”)) the base camp should established as close as possible to The Twins/Stutfield Peak Col, about 52.223, -117.408.
|Nearing the bivy site||Camp view to Stutfield Peaks||Camp view to Twins|
When to ClimbTypical Canadian Rockies situation; best conditions for a ski approach and ski ascent is usually from January to May (earlier means less snow of course), and with July to September usually providing the best conditions for high elevation summer climbing (later usually means less snow of course). Best ski conditions are typically in the month of May.
Route DescriptionCanadian climbing and skiing legend Chic Scott has authored many ski mountaineering guide books that provide great information regarding the Columbia Icefield and North Twin. Chic’s guidebook, Summits & Icefields 1 | Alpine Ski Tours in the Canadian Rockies, was recently updated and provides the great information regarding Stutfield Peak.
Local mountaineer and writer Bill Corbett has an excellent guidebook describing the standard routes up all Canadian Rockies 11,000’ers 11,000’ers of the Canadian Rockies.
- South Ridge, Alpine I
Recommend ascent of South Ridge in combination with a ski mountaineering ascent of both Stutfield Peak and Stutfield East. From The Twins/Stutfield Peak Col, about 52.223, -117.408 head north to the broad and low angled South Ridge of Stutfield Peak, a steeper section presents itself just below the flattish summit ridge, this slope does have avalanche risk, especially late in the spring, assess conditions before ascending. Once above this steep section, it is a simple ski/walk to the summit of Stutfield Peak. Return to camp the same route; worthwhile continuing onward to “East Stutfield” and Mt. Cromwell.
|Approaching Stutfield||View to Mt. Alberta||Nearing South Ridge|
|Stutfield summit||View to Stutfield saddle from Mt. Cromwell|
Reference\External LinksSummits & Icefields 1 | Alpine Ski Tours in the Canadian Rockies
11,000’ers of the Canadian Rockies