Brief overview

One of Dave s photos, showing...
Approaching Mt Columbia from the Trench, photo:rplasman
Sitting right on the Alberta-British Columbia border, at one time called Gamma, Mount Columbia is the second highest in the Canadian Rockies. The highest is Mount Robson. It's southern glacier drains into the Bush river which in turn feeds the Columbia river. This mountain is one often approched on skies up to the east face or South ridge. The last 1-200 meters being done by foot. Fickle weather in the area often creates problems for climbers.

Getting to the trailhead-base of the peak

Approaching Mt Columbia from...
East Face of Mount Columbia on June 3, 2004. Photo: 1under
From Banff, take Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway, to Lake Louise, then turn north on Highway 93, the Icefield Parkway, to reach the mountain. The trailhead is found just west of Highway 93, 189 kilometers north of Banff. A small Snocoach Road leading to the trailhead is across the highway from the Columbia Icefield Centre, 103 kilometers south of Jasper, Alberta.

From here make your way up to the top of the Athatbasca Glacier. Head southwest for 7km to a prominent trench where you may place your camp.

First ascents and climbing season in the Columbia Icefield

Andromeda in the background...
Andromeda in the background (far left) as the sun is just starting to rise. Photo: 1under

South ridge
1902 by James Outram and guide Christian Kaufmann via the south ridge from Thompson Pass.

West Face
1951 by George Ball and David Michael.

North Face/North Ridge
August, 1970 by Chris Jones and Graham Thompson.

On skis
July, 1937 by Rex Gibson, Striling Hendricks and Ken Boucher.

Climbing seasons
For most people. Two season two modes of transportation.
March to Mid-July on Skis.
Mid-July to September on foot.

Mountain Conditions and Weather in the Columbia Icefield

  • Environment Canada Website>Environment Canada
    Complete weather reports, alerts, forecasts, satellite imaging, and more. An invaluable resource to anyone planning a trip to Mt. Columbia or the Columbia Icefield area.

  • Parks Canada>
    Home page for Parks Canada, with links to all areas of Park Canada services and information
    Home page for Avalanche reports, warnings and alerts, links, news
  • The Canadian>
    The home page for The Canadian, with information on hiking, scrambling, trekking and backpacking in the Canadian Rockies

    Red tape, fees and legal stuff in Jasper National Park

    Reserve a campsite up to three months in advance.
    Contact Parks Canada for more information.

    If you wish to do some backcountry camping a permit for 8CDN$/night (maximum of 30CDN$) plus a 10CDN$ reservation fee will be required. Under 16 travel for free. All fees are to be paid in advance. Annual wilderness passes are 42CDN$, valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.

    Contact the Jasper Parks Visitor Centre for more information: (780) 852-6176 or check out the Jasper National Park Home Page for trail reports and avalanche reports.

    A National Park Pass is required if you will be stopping anywhere in Jasper National Park. 8CDN$ per person or 16CDN$ per vehicle.

    Open campfires are not allowed anywhere in Jasper National Park, except at approved campsites.

    Camping and backpacking in Jasper National Park

    Columbia Icefield Campground
    Columbia Icefield CampgroundLocated only 1 km north of the Icefield Centre.
    Available are two wood cook huts, each with a wood-fired stove and two picnic tables with benches.

    A pay telephone and bulletin board for messages is located at the campground entrance. Outhouses are clean. The Icefield Campground offers no showers.
    A water tap when working may provide drinkable water. A creek runs near the campground.

    Wilcox Campground
    2.7 km south of the Columbia Icefield Centre on Highway 93.
    Opens in mid-June until October.

    Cost $18 per night, self-registration is in effect.
    Bivouacking on Snow Dome itself will require a backcountry permit, available from Park Wardens at the Ranger Stations or the Icefield Centre for $6 a night.
    Information is available at The Canadian There is a backpacking information page available, look for Backpacking Jasper National Park.

    Hostelling International runs a chain of excellent, low-cost hostels, four open year-round, are located near the icefield. These hostels are clean, well-kept and managed by full-time custodians. Contact numbers too come.

    Most offer kitchens, gas and wood stoves.

    Located at Athabasca Falls, Beauty Creek, Hilda Creek (closed now) and the town of Jasper. Reservations are recommended.

    Guiding services and the Alpine Club of Canada

    There are a number of number of licensed guide services throughout the area.

    Joining or contacting the Alpine Club of Canada can be useful.

    The Alpine Club's Edmonton Section
    The Alpine Club’s Calgary Section
    The Canadian Avalanche Association is an excellent source of current avalanche information.

    The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides can provide you with information regarding guide services.
    They include services from groups such as Yamnuska Mountaineering, Inc.

    James Blench of JB Alpine Services
    Excellent guide recommended for here, Mount Logan, Mt. Robson as well as other peaks in the region.
    Telephone: (403) 678-2576

    Other stuff in the area - Columbia Icefield Centre and Sno coach tours

  • Columbia Icefield Visitors' Centre> - Columbia Icefield Visitors' Centre Home Page
    Comprehensive listings, features, services and tourist information

    Snocoach glacier tours onto the Athabasca Glacier can be arranged at the Icefield Centre. These are privately led hikes supervised by local licensed guides.

    Glacier ski tours by veteran climber and ACC member Marcus Kellerhals for trips on the Athabasca Glacier.

    Emergency contact information

    Emergency phone numbers for Jasper National Park

    Royal Canadian Mountain Police
    (780) 852-4848.
    P.O. Box 1800 600 Pyramid Lake Road, Jasper, AB.

    Jasper Hospital
    (780) 852-3344
    518 Robson St. Jasper, AB.

    Fire & Ambulance
    (780) 852-3100
    Jasper Firehall, Patricia St. Jasper, AB.

    Park Warden Office
    (780) 852-6155 / 56
    Maligne Rd. Jasper, AB. (km 2)

    Sunwapta Park Warden Station
    (780 )852-6181
    Mile 45, Highway 93 (Icefield Parkway)

    Pobotkan Creek Warden Station
    (780) 852-5383
    Highway 93 (Icefield Parkway)

    Search and Rescue
    (780) 852-3100
    Jasper, AB

    Emergency calls:
    Jasper Park Warden (780) 852-3100
    or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) at (780) 852-4848.

    External Links

    • Yamnuska Mountaineering, Inc.>
      Yamnuska Mountaineering, Inc. Home Page - Added by climbwild on May 21, 2005
      A comprehensive list of serices, programs, instruction, guided trips, and information, provided by one of the most highly recommended guide services in Canada.
    • Rescue Dynamics>
      Home page for Rescue Dynamics, an Edmonton, AB company specializing in high angle mountain rescue, guiding, weather reports and conditions, mountain first aid, courses, gear recall information and other links
    • current climbing conditions>
      Up-to-date weather reports, climbing conditions and other valuable information for climbers, outdoor enthusiasists and backcountry users, By Rescue Dynamics of Edmonton, AB
    • Environment Canada Website>
      # Complete weather reports, alerts, forecasts, satellite imaging, and more. An invaluable resource to anyone planning a trip to Mt. Athabasca or the Columbia Icefield area.
    • Parks Canada>
      # Home page for Parks Canada, with links to all areas of Park Canada services and information
    • Jasper National Park Home Page>
      The Home Page for Jasper National Park
    • Parks Canada Fee Page - Jasper National Park>
      Parks Canada fees for National Park Access and Activities
    • Hostelling International>
      # Home page for the Hostelling International organization in Alberta. Complete information on locations, services, prices and other information
    • The Canadian>
      # The home page for The Canadian, with information on hiking, scrambling, trekking and backpacking in the Canadian Rockies
    • Backpacking Jasper National Park>
      # This page gives information about backpacking areas and regulations in Jasper National Park.
    • Alpine Club of Canada>
      Alpine Club of Canada Accidents report
    • Edmonton Section>
      Alpine Club of Canada Edmonton Section - Added by climbwild on May 21, 2005
      Services, programs, trips, memberships, information
    • Calgary Section>
      Services, programs,trips,memberships,information
    • Avalanche reports>
      # Home page for Avalanche reports, warnings and alerts, links, news
    • Columbia Icefield Visitors' Centre>
      Comprehensive listings, features, services and tourist information
    • Columbia Icefield Chalet>
      # Located on the top floor of the Columbia Icefield Visitors" Centre, this well-appointed hotel offers all the comforts of a modern new hotel, in the austere surroundings of the Columbia Icefield and it's awesome surrounding peaks.
    • Columbia Icefield information>
      Information page for the Columbia Icefield
    • glacier ski tours>
      Ski touring on the Athabasca Glacier
      Home page for Brad Harrison - Photographer, outdoorsman, ACC member. Images, ACC events, information
    • Alan Kane website>
      Website for Alan Kane, Canadian author of the best-selling guide book "Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies"
    • Canadian Avalanche Association>
      Website for the Canadian Avalanche Association. Avalanche forecasting, news, alerts, and other information
    • Association of Canadian Mountain Guides>
      Home page for the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. Information and links to services, news and related subjects
    • ACC Accident History>
      ACC Mountaineering accident history in the Canadian Rockies.
    • Calgary Mountain Club>
      Home page for the Calgary Mountain Club, a pioneer institution in the history of Canadian mountaineering
    • Dave's Alpine Climbing>
      Website for climber and photographer Dave Stephens, with trip reports, images and more.
    • Weather Underground five day forecast for Jasper, AB.>
      Weather Underground report and 5 day forecast and much more, for the Jasper area.

    Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

    Viewing: 1-2 of 2


    gimpilator - Feb 2, 2012 10:16 am - Hasn't voted


    Just a bit off. Try these:
    52.147336, -117.441585

    William Marler

    William Marler - Feb 18, 2012 7:18 pm - Hasn't voted

    Re: Coordinates

    Thanks Cheers William

    Viewing: 1-2 of 2