South-West Face Central

Page Type
Aberta, Canada, North America
Route Type:
Big Wall
Time Required:
Most of a day
Rock Difficulty:
5.7 (YDS)
Number of Pitches:

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Created On: Nov 13, 2007
Last Edited On: Nov 13, 2007


Mount Colin is a large limestone peak, just east of Jasper and easily visible from Highway 16 across (southeast) of the airport. Colin's south west face is composed of a multitude of long corner systems, that look better from far away, than they do from close up.

Getting There

From Jasper, head up the Maligne Lake road and turn off at the Sixth bridge turnoff. The parking area is the start of the Overlander Trail. Hike (or ride mountain bike - preferrably) up the trail for approximately 7 km until you reach Garonne Creek Drainage. A faint "trail" gains the ridges on the north side of the creek and follows the rim of the canyon. Tricky routefinding and exposed scrambling brings you eventually back down to the creek (up river of steep canyon).

Continue hiking up the creek until it makes a right angle turn south, gain the fain trail above the creek and into the sub-alpine forest. Colin Centennial Hut awaits you at the top of a steep hill.

The approach takes about 5 hours (conservatively with big packs)

Route Description

In the guidebook "Selected Alpine Climbs of the Canadian Rockies" by Sean Dougherty, he describes the route as follows "At the base of the central buttress is a big hole. Start at the 4th dihedral right of this hole”.

When we climbed the route, we immediately found the “hole”. It’s very obvious, but the direction to climb the 4th dihedral right of the hole is incorrect (this would put you on a huge, rotten looking left facing corner system and way off route). We climbed the 2nd dihedral right, but I think you could have climbed the first as well.

The rest of the route description from the Guidebook sort of makes sense when you’re climbing the route, but it’s a really big face and it’s not always apparent where you are on it. In general, you want to continue heading straight up from the “hole”. The route actually ends right at the summit of Mount Colin – you basically pop up to the summit cairn. If in doubt of where you are on the route, keep that in mind.

We found the route to have lots of loose rock on it, so be careful. I wouldn’t consider this a classic, but it’s a long moderate route in a beautiful setting, that challenges your route finding ability and protection placing skills. We didn’t use any pitons, but it’s a good idea to bring some, especially if you have to bail.

The descent down the SE ridge is straightforward, requiring only one rappel. The rest is exposed down-climbing.

Essential Gear

A normal alpine climbing rack with nuts and cams. Also bring a selection of pitons (and a hammer for both climbers). Although we didn't place any pitons, they could come in handy.

External Links - info on the hut - the local Section

South-West Face Central

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