Mount Brazeau is an impressive mountain with several striking and formidable faces falling down to Maligne Lake and Coronet Creek in southern Jasper National Park. The West Face is massive and near vertical, rising nearly 1000 metres (3280 ft.) from Coronet Creek to the summit plateau, which is draped in the glacial mass of the Brazeau Icefield. The south and southwest slopes, topped with the Brazeau Icefield, are low angle and gentle, but are riddled with a minefield of hidden crevasses.
Mount Brazeau is high on the list of Canadian Rockies 11,000 footers, depending on your perspective, either the thirteenth, seventeenth or twenty first highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies; 21 th on the generally accepted list of 54 summits. The summit reaches an impressive 3500 metres (11,483 ft.), based on the most recent National Topographic Map 1996 series.
Mount Brazeau - East Side from Icefield
Named by Arthur P. Coleman in 1902 for Joseph E. Brazeau. The name Brazeau was originally applied to the Brazeau River by Sir James Hector (Hector was one of the most important members of the Palliser Expedition, becoming the first to travel through much of the Canadian Rockies.) Joseph Brazeau was an employee of the Hudson Bay Company and served as a clerk and postmaster and was of great assistance as a translator to the Palliser Expedition. First ascended in 1923 by A. Carpe, W.D. Harris and Howard Palmer.
Jasper National Park is the largest of Canada's Rocky Mountain Parks and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This spectacular park protects 11,228 square kilometres (4,335 square miles) of broad valleys, rugged mountains, glaciers, forests and alpine environments. There are more than 1,200 kilometres (745 miles) of hiking trails within Jasper and 16 of the 54 11,000’ers.
Jasper joins Banff National Park to the south via the Icefields Parkway. This parkway offers scenic driving, and more importantly, access to some of the best alpine and waterfall ice climbing in the world. The parking areas for all routes is at the Poboktan Creek trailhead, approximately 165 km north of the Trans Canada Highway or 70 km south the town of Jasper.
Heading up side creek
Head up the trail, at about 7 km up, head North-East into a major side valley, no official trail. Once near end of valley, head up steep scree slopes and in between cliff bands to north. Great bivy site at edge of icefield at NTS UTM grid reference 777179 (lat. 52.5103, long. -117.4749).
A permit or fee is not required to climb in Jasper National Park. A voluntary safety registration system is available for climbers in the rocky mountain national parks. It is necessary to register in person at the park information centres or warden offices during business hours. On completion of the excursion, the party must notify the park by telephone or by returning the registration form.
Up to date information about climbing and mountaineering in Jasper National Park available at:
Jasper NP Mountaineering
Camping and Bivouacs
Climbers are permitted to bivouac on long routes or otherwise where necessary to safely complete a climb. Some restrictions apply. A backcountry use permit is required, contact any Jasper National Park visitor centre, where you may obtain the permit.
Great bivy location for accessing the Brazeau Icefield, in the summer months, is located at NTS UTM grid reference 777179 (lat. 52.5103, long. -117.4749).
Maligne Lake from summit of Mt. Brazeau
When to Climb
Mount Brazeau, and the adjoining Valad Peak and Mt. Henry Macleod offer classic mountaineering objectives in summer or winter. As a ski mountaineering expedition, generally late winter or early spring will often the best snow conditions and stability. For summer mountaineering, typically mid June to the end of September offers the best conditions.
Low down on South Glacier route.
Two distinct climbing routes have been documented on Mount Brazeau. The relatively easy South and South-West slopes are simple glacier travel routes from the Brazeau Icefield where as the North Face provides a more interesting climb. Both routes provide relatively easy ascents with proper snow and weather conditions.
On Icefield nearing Mt. Brazeau.
- South Glacier (Normal Route), Alpine I
First ascended in 1923 by A. Carpe, W.D. Harris and Howard Palmer. An easy ascent usually from a high camp on the edge of the Brazeau Icefield. Descend the same route, often combined with a traverse of Valad Peak and Mt. Henry Macleod. Be prepared for the many crevasses and whiteout conditions; whiteouts are common atop this glacial plateau.
Heading up South Glacier route.
- North Face, Alpine II
First ascended in August 1979 by Harriet and Robert Kruszyna and Peter Vermeulen. A more exciting glacier route, ascent usually from a high camp on the Brazeau Icefield. Be prepared for the many crevasses and whiteout conditions. Descend the same route or South Glacier route.
Bill Corbett’s book, The 11,000ers of the Canadian Rockies
, provides a comprehensive climber’s guide and history to the 54 11,000-foot peaks in the Canadian Rockies.
11,000ers of the Canadian Rockies