The scramble route up Kiwetinok Peak
is the most challenging of the scramble objectives in Little Yoho Valley. If you put in the effort to climb Kiwetinok, it would be foolish, as an avid peak bagger at least, to not quickly ascend Mount Pollinger and Mount McArthur as well.
Even if you thought you were low on time, the quick ascent of Mount Pollinger is on the way to an optional descent route (col of Mount McArthur and Mount Pollinger) that would land you back at the Stanley Mitchell Hut and/or Little Yoho Valley campground.
From the col between Mount Kiwetinok and Mount Pollinger, simply stroll up to the summit of Mount Pollinger which appears to be nothing more than a bump in the ridgeline between Mounts Kiwetinok and McArthur. It was not until I descended the col between McArthur and Pollinger that I appreciated how it became considered a separate peak. A broad and massive ridge form the summit of Mount Pollinger extends down into Little Yoho Valley. Joseph Pollinger was a Swiss guide in the Canadian Rockies around the turn of the 20th century.
Route Description (s)By itself, Mount Pollinger is no more than an approximate 2700’ gain from the campground or hut.
From the campground, cross the Little Yoho River and follow a good trail up river. Cross back over to the north bank at a marked crossing (2011) and locate an established trail well to the right of the Little Yoho River up to Kiwetinok Lake. There is a more pristine, but fainter, trail I prefer up the left side of the river that ends in the same place. They both join above some falls below the lake. Once at the lake, circumvent it to the left and follow its bank on the west side until it makes sense to start hiking up boulders and large scree to the left side of Kiwetinok and Mount Pollinger’s col. We encountered a significant amount of snow at this upper left corner of the col (which is the easiest way to access the col) and just circumvented it a bit to the right via some easy ledges.
If not climbing Mount Kiwetinok, simply turn right and hike up to the summit of Mount Pollinger. There was a significant summit cairn, but no register in 2011. This is the best and closest full on view of The President and Vice President’s popular glacier route and therefore would make a perfect scouting trip of that route if you were looking for same.
If utilizing the Mount McArthur and Mount Pollinger col for descent, you will be required to down climb a short section of 5th class immediately from the summit down to the col. Thus why Kane labels Pollinger an easy scramble, but McArthur a difficult one. The only difficulty to Mount McArthur is this short 5th class down climb off the summit of Pollinger. Continue around to the far side of a significant cornice (late summer of 2011)
and find your way down an improbable
and loose face below the col. When in doubt, angle right
to locate a loose rightward ramp that avoids the cliffs directly below. Once down in the boulder strewn hanging valley, follow it to its end and descend a steep scree slope back down to the Little Yoho River right above the campground. Head upstream
a bit to catch a makeshift (2011) crossing to access an established trail on the other side of the river which leads to a log crossing back across the river to the campground itself.
I exclusively took poles and boots for all these Yoho scrambles. Most would prefer to have a helmet on, particularly if in a larger group dropping rock on each other via the described descent above. There were several water opportunities on the way up to the Kiwetinok and Pollinger col. If traversing to Mount Pollinger and Mount McArthur, your next opportunity might not come until you descend their col back to camp, where I found running snow melt. If running with one liter on a warm day, you should fill up at the lake.
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