NW Couloir, III

Page Type
Alberta, Canada, North America
Route Type:
Ice Climbing
Time Required:
A long day

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Page By:
NW Couloir, III
Created On: May 29, 2005
Last Edited On: Jul 30, 2006


This is a 3100'+/- ascent from the hut. Proceed southwest from the Fryatt hut to gain the col between Parnassus and Olympus bypassing a tairn via the east bank. You continue up an easily managed glacier to the bergschrund on your left which leads to the steep ice couloir of Olympus.

Route Description

Cross the bergschrund to the far left over a small bridge and start the climb. There will be some relief on snow, but this is mostly a pitched ice climb of 1300’. Straight forward as it is, you will run into rotten hollow ice from time to time, typically to the right side. There will be several opportunities to place rock protection to the side of the couloir. We put in 30 meter protection and still took considerable time to climb this route.

There is a summit register, which we could not get open, and the views are grand, especially of Mount Clemenceau, the 4th highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. You get a peek at Mount Robson to the north as well. We scrambled down the eastern ridge of Olympus to its col between Xerxes which is your descent off of the ridge, basically traversing the mountain from north to southeast. When we passed this col on our approach, we noticed the ice rappel off of the col was dark and appeared out of shape. It did not look much better close up, so we short roped and descended a very loose rock rib to the east of the ice col. This is a dangerous rock fall area. Don't be sucked into the ice rock-ice gully on the other side. This rock rib takes you approximately 60% down to some nice angled snow-ice that allows you to down climb rapidly to a small bergschrund. Find a bridge over this obstacle and you have easy glacier travel back to the approach.

Essential Gear

60 Meter Rope, Crampons, Ice Screws, Hemet, Runners, Biners, Small Rock Rack, Ice Tools, Crevasse Rescue System, Good Karma, etc.


NW Couloir, III

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