Dolomite Peaks are located on the northeast side of the Columbia Icefield Parkway in Banff National Park, one of four connecting national parks located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. They were officially named in 1897 by those who thought they resembled the Dolomite Range of the Italian Alps. Dolomite is rare in the Rockies and is stronger than unaltered limestone, therefore, preferred by climbers. The summit mass of Dolomite Peaks is a mixture of limestone and dolomite and have weathered into distinguishable splintered and slender rock towers. At least one of the Dolomite Peaks (there are five actual peaks) was first ascended in 1930 by Thorington and Kaufmann.
The only published route is in the Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies book. However, I have not included this book as an attachment to this page as I normally do, as these notes were not helpful and/or accurate in my own assessment. The route I added to Dolomite Peaks is my own version and was done in spring conditions making it an Alpine rated climb.
The summit gives way to the Wapta Icefield, Crowfoot Mountain and its glacier, Mt. Hector and the Molar glacier, Cirque Mountain (which shares the Dolomite Pass), Bow Summit/Bow Lake as well as the remote vast mountain ranges to the east. This is not a common objective or route. Without snow and ice, I am sure the route is much more reasonable. There are no published alpine rock or ski routes on Dolomite Peaks.
The Trans-Canada Highway dissects Banff National Park east to west as you come in from Calgary. Continue past the Banff and Sunshine Ski Resort exits to Lake Louise. Exit onto the Columbia Icefield Parkway. Drive 28.5 km north from the park kiosk
(forced stop to check park driving permit which you should already have). Pull out to the right in a small unmarked gravel parking area just after a small bridge across Helen Creek (unmarked). There is an old ski trail that starts on the left side of the creek (unmarked). We encountered a black bear crossing the Parkway at Mosquito Creek. This road is probably the most “wildlife viewed” road in all of North America. I have witnessed Moose cross the road as well in this area. I advise following the speed limit for that reason.
You 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. Many times throughout the past few years this trail has been closed due to bear activity.
That would make getting in this “not so common” of a trail difficult. I advise checking with Parks Canada
before you plan this climb. It was open in June, 2005.
When To Climb
As with most scrambles in the Canadian Rockies, the driest time is from June through September. However, I climbed Dolomite Peaks in June and faced full on alpine conditions requiring alpine ax and full body post holing in places. These would be highly unusual conditions for June. Record setting storms plagued the month in 2005. There appear to be no reasonable ski routes to the summit although you access the area via an old ski trail.
The closest camping is located back south a few kilometers at Mosquito Creek Camground
located on the west side off of the Columbia Icefields Parkway. We observed a black bear cross into this campground on our return. You can go on line at Banff National Park
to pick your camp site and obtain your camping permit. You will also be required to obtain your backcountry permit, if you are going to use a backcountry site, which is separate, but can be obtained simultaneously.
Mountain ConditionsBanff National Park’s website
has weather, wildlife reports, trail closures, etc. Outside of the parks web site, Canadian Avalanche Association
is also useful, particularly for winter travel.
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