Northwest Ridge, II, 5.5

Page Type
Alberta/British Columbia, Canada, North America
Route Type:
Trad Climbing
Time Required:
Most of a day
Rock Difficulty:
5.5 (YDS)

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Northwest Ridge, II, 5.5
Created On: Sep 7, 2010
Last Edited On: Feb 20, 2013


Mount Neptuak

The Northwest Ridge route (II, 5.5) (Greenwood Boles-1961) runs up to the summit of Mount Neptuak on the way to Mount Deltaform’s summit . You start the ascent at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta. Samual Allen named Mount Neptuak aftr the Stoney First Nations word which means “nine”, Mount Neptuak being the ninth mountain of the Valley of the Ten Peaks from east to west and south to north. The Kaufmann brothers, guiding Herschel Parker, made the first ascent of Mount Deltaform in 1903. It is my understanding that they bypassed the Northwest Ridge of Mount Neptuak to achieve the col between the two mountains before summiting Mount Deltaform. It would be hard to pin down the precise first ascent of Mount Neptuak, however, the first recorded ascent of Mount Deltaform’s summit via a summit of Mount Neptuak (and thus Neptuak’s northwest ridge) did occur in 1961 by Greenwood and Boles. Today, most either bivy at the Wenkchemna Pass col or the Neptuak-Deltaform col to make an ascent of Mount Deltaform which is a coveted 11,000er in the Canadian Rockies.
Mount Neptuak

Park at the Moraine Lake Lodge at 6181’. (at the end of Moraine Lake Road from Lake Louise Village below Valley of the Ten Peaks). Follow the Larch Valley Trail which heads up to Sentinel Pass. At a marked trail junction, turn left following the Wenkchemna Pass trail to the pass itself. Turn left to start the climb of Mount Neptuak and Mount Deltaform via their northwest ridges.

Route Description

This is a 4500’+/- accumulated elevation trip.
The broad amount of 4th and 5th class choss up the northwest ridge of Mount Neptuak varies in difficulty and exposure but really only consisted of one pitch worthy of a rope and gear. Three out of four of us in my group climbed this entire ridge solo.

Circumvent Neptuak’s headwall at the col to the right and follow broken ledges up and around until you are forced to climb up and back left to avoid a deep gully/void. Move back left just a few meters below the steep wall above and you will find an alcove that leads to one pitch of mid fifth class broken quartzite. I climbed this wall from left to right, making one exposed move at the end mantling up to just below the ridge proper.

Follow the ridge up Mount Neptuak, via mostly just scrambling, to its summit. If continuing to Mount Deltaform, take two separate raps down to two different large flat plateaus at the col separating Mount Neptuak from Mount Deltaform. Many parties chose to bivy at the second such plateau, particularly if just climbing the northwest ridge of Mount Deltaform and return.

Climbing Sequence

Essential Gear

60m rope (for at least one rappel on return, even if you are going to solo), if you are not going to solo, possible alpine axe with hammer end, selection of pitons, a few cams, a few wires, cordelette for slinging blocks and replacing weathered tat, rain gear, down jacket, climbing boots with edges, helmet, harness, slings.

External Links

100’s of Canadian Rockies multi-pitch rock climbs, ice climbs, alpine climbs and scrambles, just scroll down to routes

Banff National Park, Parks Canada

Best Eats in Canmore: Iron Goat, tons of organic/free range fare, my favorite is the game meat loaf. As good as prices as anywhere really and the staff is made up of a few aspiring climbers. The main man works his heart out making everything run smooth, not a given in Canmore. Best dining views (and sunny outdoor seating) in town bar none, from Mount Lougheed to Mount Rundle traverses, two of my trademark beta contributions near the town of Canmore. True best of the best mountain local dining experience.

Best Eats in Banff: The Bison, all organic/free range fare, with a detailed description of their suppliers. Recently expanded (2010), I recommend sticking with the downstairs. Better menu, prices and social ambience. Maybe retire to the bar upstairs for sunset or late night. Bison chili is amazing!

Best Coffee in Canmore: Beamers, the locals favorite, super wholesome lunch stuff, local guys, no attitude on service

Best Climbers Hangout: Summit Café, most likely place to find me or my brethren shooting the bull about beta. Best breakfast place in town, good coffee as well, serve Mennonite meats from Valbella, which is the best place to buy free range products anywhere in the world, right here in Canmore.

Climbing Gear: All way too expensive in the Bow Valley, but if you must, Mountain Magic in Banff is far superior to service and actual knowledge about climbing than the two in Canmore.


Northwest Ridge, II, 5.5

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