OverviewThe Mitre is located at the head of the Lefroy Glacier between the extended ridge of Mount Aberdeen and Mount Lefroy in Banff National Park, one of four connecting national parks located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. The Mitre was officially named such in 1893 as it was thought to resemble a Bishop’s mitre (pointed headdress worn by a bishop during church ceremonies). It is one of the most aesthetic mountains in the Lake Louise group. The Mitre was first ascended by Kaufmann and Pollinger in 1901.
The only published route up the Mitre is an Alpine II, 5.5 route that utilizes the Paradise Valley approach option. There is another approach option from Lake Louise on the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail. Although the first approach is considered a safer route, the Paradise Valley Trail has been subject to closure and/or restriction due to bear activity for the past several years. The Lake Louise approach does not typically suffer from the same circumstances. The most immediate view from the summit of the Mitre is the slow movement of massive ice being pushed off of Mount Lefroy’s eastern face.
Plain of Six Glaciers refers to the valley that drains six glaciers into Lake Louise's crystal blue waters (Aberdeen, Upper-Lower Lefroy, Upper-Lower Victoria and Popes Peak). The valley runs east-west and is surrounded by peaks on three sides: Mount Aberdeen, The Mitre and Mount Lefroy to the south, Popes Peak and Mount Whyte to the north and Mount Victoria to the west. The Mitre rises above the southern end of the lower Mount Lefroy Glacier that joins the Lower Victoria Glacier to the north. These glaciers form part of your approach.
Getting ThereThe Trans-Canada dissects Banff National Park east to west as you come in from Calgary. Travel to the Lake Louise exit and turn left through town and follow this road 5 km to its end at the Lake Louise parking area.
Red TapeYou will be required to purchase a national park pass as you enter the park. This pass is good for all four national parks. If you plan many visits to Canadian National Parks within one year, you should purchase an annual pass. There are no permit requirements to climb in Banff National Park, but all camping is regulated. There is also a backcountry permit required if you plan on spending a night in the backcountry versus the town campsites. This can be obtained via the parks website which is included in the camping section below. Park headquarters are located in Banff and you will drive through the manned kiosks as you enter the park.
This is active grizzly country, therefore, you should always have bear spray on your person. We just had a grizzly fatality in Canmore, June, 2005. This approach trail is rarely restricted as it leads to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House. However, I advise checking with Parks Canada for any area and/or trail closures