This is a 6200’+/- ascent trip when combining a Mount Huber ascent with Mount Victoria’s southeast ridge.
If your goal is bagging 11,000er’s of the Canadian Rockies, I recommend bagging the trio of Mount Victoria, Mount Lefroy and Mount Huber on the same trip. None of these objectives require much technical difficulty and are considered somewhat “tourist” climbs from a local perspective (thus why I just now got around to them). That being said, they offer enough excitement and views to make the trip worthwhile for even the most seasoned veteran climber.
After summiting Mount Victoria via its southeast ridge, return the ridge for approximately 20-30 minutes as you look for a gully that leads down its western flank to Mount Huber’s North Glacier. One of the cruxes of this climb from this direction, no doubt due to global warming factors, is the ever widening bergshrund crossing below Mount Victoria’s southeast ridge.
As you steal views of this bergshrund on your return from Mount Victoria’s summit along the ridge, you might or might not notice a snow bridge (2007) crossing the bergshrund on its south end. This is how I crossed the bergshrund in 2007 but this crossing is also predisposed to rock fall/gravel slides from above (photo).
Scramble down the loose gully. There was no cairn marking this gully in 2007, it just appears as an obvious gully about 20-30 minutes south of the south summit of Mount Victoria. Break left about 75m down where the gully forks.
Here you will notice a rappel station marked by a cairn (2007) that takes you down an ice filled gully to loose scree below. Continue down the loose scree to more ice on your left. Make a tight right hand turn below a short rock band and you will find another bolted rappel station here. Fit your crampons. You have two options, either rap down and traverse far left or far right to cross the bergshrund or have the 1st lowered on a 60m rope to cross the bergshrund and then have the 2nd walk down the steep slope as the 1st takes in slack on the other side of the bergshrund.
We could not determine the crossing difficulty of the bergshrund directly below the station. Therefore, I rappelled and traversed south to the snow bridge I studied from the ridge. I quickly ran out of quality ice to place screws and had to run out the traverse in slush and snow. Once I reached the bergshrund, it did not offer any ice no matter how deep I searched, it was all snow and loose ice in July, 2007. I used my alpine ax for directional pro and crossed the snow bridge. Once on the other side of the bergshrund it is relatively safe to belay the 2nd.
You have two options for ascent on Mount Huber. The traditional line is to the right avoiding the bergshrund below the summit. However, we chose to avoid loosing elevation, which was required to bypass several crevasses and made a line up the northeast face, crossing the bergshrund on the left via a snow bridge. Once across the bergshrund, the ground steepened and gave up ice for ice screw placements. Two pitches with a 60m rope diagonally moving left got us across the steep ice/slush and over to a scree ledge on the left side of the glacier. From there we kept our crampons on and followed the edge of the glacier to the summit, staying left to avoid the massive ice cornice. There was a summit register in 2007.
We descended the same route by traversing out onto the ice, down climbing on a screw and setting up one v-thread that dropped us back to the bergshrund where we crossed. Descend back right and then swing back left as you descend the north glacier westward. Continue west until you exit the ice onto a protruding seam of large scree. We put the ropes up here. Move northwest and either locate a rappel station or downclimb to the next bit of ice. Traverse this ice west as well until you reach a bivy spot which marks the end of the glacier travel.
There is a trail that heads southwest from this bivy called the Huber Ledges descent. We found this descent quite pleasurable compared to the scree ascent up to the Abbot Pass. Follow many cairns as you circumvent Huber via the southwest on cool steep ledges. You keep traversing left until eventually the cairns appear to peter out (2007). Others have gotten lost here. We found it simple however. Stay high and look for a southeastern facing gully that feeds you down and doglegs back right towards Lake O ‘Hara, none of which requires much down climbing. Once you are low enough, angle for the Wiwaxy col and descend a marked trail from there all the way back to Lake O ‘Hara (where we took one cold dip in July). By following this route, summiting Mount Lefroy, Mount Victoria and Mount Huber, you will have repeated minimal ground.
Crampons, 4-6 ice screws (runners to go with), 1-2 pickets, Alpine Ax, Ice Tool, Crevasse Self Extraction Gear, 60m Alpine Rope, Helmet, Mountaineering Boots, Gaiters, Headlamp. The Abbot Hut is fully equipped. Take your bag and food and you will be set.