Molar Glacier

Page Type
Alberta, Canada, North America
Route Type:
Scramble + Snow/Glacier Climb
Time Required:
Most of a day
III / W1

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Molar Glacier
Created On: Jul 24, 2004
Last Edited On: Oct 4, 2004


Drive to Hector Creek on the Icefields Parkway, approximately 17km north of the TransCanada highway. Continue past Hector Creek to the next creek -- the next set of guard rails. Park on the east side of the road just past the creek (flat area). Follow the creek (a bit of a trail on the right side) all the way to a headwall.

Route Description

Climb through the headwall via a chimney to the right of the waterfall. WARNING: The chimney is a scramble but be careful of large unstable rocks.

Once past the headwall, continue up the valley to another series of cliffs. These are easily negotiated by traversing left until the angle becomes reasonable.

Once past the cliff bands you'll reach the flats. Follow these even further into the valley until they curve around to the right and you'll reach the toe of the Molar Glacier.

Gear up and head up the glacier. It starts out at 45 degrees but levels off after about 15m. While walking, you'll have plenty of time to survey the steepest section. There is an icefall on the left side and large crevasses on the right. Aim between these initially but as you gain height, traverse left. You'll find 50-60 degree ice with the odd (very short) 80 degree step. The top of this section is littered with crevasses which you'll need to weave through. Beyond this is a gentler snow slope leading to a col between Andromache and an unnamed peak to the east. You are still on the glacier at this point so it is best to stay roped up.

Once at the col you have joined the scramble route. Follow the ridge up to the summit.

Use the scramble route via Hector Creek (see Hector Pass route).

Essential Gear

Helmet for the cliff bands at the start of the route.

Rope, crampons and two axes / technical tools. We used 5 screws for a running belay.

The Rating

I rated this climb a III based on my experience with Sean Dougherty's ratings (see "Selected Alpine Climbs in the Canadian Rockies"). I added the W1 as I felt the angle of the ice was steeper than what I have found on Sean's III-rated routes. I would not attempt this climb without technical ice tools.