OverviewFirst ascended in 1927 by Alfred Ostheimer, Mt. Lowell is located between Fryatt Creek and Lick Creek; 1.5 km southwest of Mount Brussels and is part of the Fryatt group south of Jasper. Lowell was named by Ostheimer in 1924 after Abbott Lowell who was a mountaineer and president of Harvard University back in the day. The cool aspect to this tidbit was that I found an old Harvard tin box, used as a summit register of sorts (no longer on the summit). Inside was the old original register from the initial climb. The summit party had their information pre-typed "Harvard Mountaineering Club" and it was still legible. I turned this over to the Banff Museum and they were thankful to have it. It had moved off the summit a couple of meters and this mountain is so rarely visited, that no one had noticed it. There is a current register at the summit dated to 1960. We were the 36th party to sign this summit lot. There is only one established route on the mountain, the South Ridge, an Alpine II straight forward ridge climb.
Getting ThereFollow the Columbia Icefields Parkway 31 km south of Jasper to the Athabasca Falls turnoff on your right. Follow the Althabasca Parkway 1.1 km to the Geraldine Lakes Road on your left. Drive along this road for 2.1 km to a signposted trail leading left (east) toward the Athabasca River. This is where you park and either hike or bike in to the Lower Fryatt Campground 11.4 km. Pick your poison. Biking with a 65lb pack on single track is no joy, but it is faster than hiking. Another option is to portage the river saving about 6 or 7 km off of this trial. I biked in. Leave your bike at the Lower Fryatt Campground and proceed on the trail as it follows Fryatt Creek west for a total of 22 km past the Brussels campground, Fryatt Lake, Headwall campground, Fryatt Creek Falls and finally to the Sidney Vallance Hut gaining several thousand feet of elevation. This hut serves as a great base for considerable variation in alpine climbing. My group planned a week back here. I know few climbers willing to hike 22 km for one mountain in the Canadian Rockies.
Red Tape Jasper National Park is one of four Canadian National Parks adjoined in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. You will need a Parks Canada pass for your vehicle and that is obtained as you enter the park(s) from any direction. You will also be required to obtain a backcountry permit. As always in this neck of the woods, you are in bear country and need to hike and camp appropriately. The mosquitoes are actually more scary though.
When to ClimbThis is a summer area, best to climb from July through September. The Canadian Rockies Summit Alpine Ski Tour book does not mention any of these Fryatt Valley Peaks as objectives, however, ski touring is encouraged from the Sydney Vallance Hut
CampingThe Sydney Vallance Hut received a major facelift and interior makeover in the summer of 1999 and is now a much improved version of the former cabin. It is open summer and winter with a limited capacity of 12 humans or 1 large bear. It has a propane system for cooking and lighting and a wood stove for heating. I have included the link to the Alpine Club of Canada, who manages the hut. If you prefer camping, the last campground into this area is the Headwall campground. I don't advise this campground for any objective. It is poorly placed below an avalanche gully, meaning good bear habitat. It is best to either use the hut above the headwall and focus on Fryatt, Lowell, Olympus, Belanger, etc., or camp at the Brussels campground more than halfway in (very nice) and focus on Brussels and Christie. Campground reservations can be made through the Parks Canada link I have added.
Mountain ConditionsOutside of the parks web site, Canadian Avalanche Association is also useful.
Other Climbs in this AreaI climbed five mountains in five days on this week long trip. My group was fortunate in that we had only one rainy day, our first day in the hut, which worked out since we just hauled our supplies 22 km the day before. Everybody did different mountains, but I climbed Lowell, Fryatt, Olympus, Christie and The Three Blind Mice. My web site, in the link section of this page, has further information on these climbs. There are many more options as well.