Mt. Fay is located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. The north face features excellent snow/ice routes in the Grade II and III range, while the more adventurous may tackle the harder east face.
From Lake Louise head to the parking lot at Moraine Lake. Mt. Fay is accessible from the Neil Colgan Hut located on the col between Mts. Little and Bowlen. There are three primary approaches to the Colgan Hut: via the Fay Hut, the Perren Route and the Scheisser Ledges. For the non-technical climber, approaching via the Fay Hut is the best option and involves a long hike from the Marble Canyon trailhead to the Fay Hut and then another long hike across the Fay glacier. Usually done over 2 days. The Perren Route is the most direct route and is accessed from the parking lot at Lake Moraine. Walk around Moraine Lake to the end of the boardwalk. Walk a ways up the stream that feeds into the lake until you can cross via logs and a thin cable. Follow the trail to a boulderfield/scree slope. Follow the trail that hugs the cliff line to the left of the scree. At the top of the scree slope veer left on a series of ledges that leads to some class 3 scrambling to more ledges. A longer more difficult scramble with rap anchors at the top leads to a scree slope that terminates at the bottom of the first 5th class pitch. Sean Dougherty claims that this route "used to require climbing skill," but with the addition of chains on a 5.6/5.7 stretch of climbing just below the glacier, the difficulty has been reduced. I agree that it has been reduced, but when one throws on heavy packs and mountaineering boots, it still presents a technical obstable to overcome. You may want to lead up sans pack and set a top rope or consider hauling your loads. A 30 meter right traverse leads to a good ledge and a shorter 5.4 pitch to the top. Cams may be useful here as there is only 1 fixed pin (there are several on the first pitch with the chains). Now cross the glacier veering right toward the col between Mts. Little and Bowlen. The Alpine Club of Canada estimates the time required at 5-8 hours. Factors to consider when calculating the length of the route are the number of climbers in your party, the skill level of the climbers and the amount of time to be spent at the hut. Climbing with 3 or more climbers with 50+ pound packs will likely stretch the climb to over 10 hours.
Backcountry use permits are required in Banff National Park if you plan to spend the night. Reservations through the Alpine Club of Canada are required to stay in the Colgan Hut. Resrvations may be made on their web site at: http://www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/
July until mid-September.
Banff Park Ranger (403) 762-4506