The Three Blind Mice, Minnie, Mickey and Middle Mouse, are located between Mount Fryatt
and Mount Olympus
deep in the Fryatt Valley located in Jasper National Park
, one of four Canadian National Parks adjoined in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Although the naming is a confused combination of a nursery rhyme and Disney characters, these are the unofficial names of these three peaks.
Due to the long approach (22kms) this is not a common objective nor is it in any guide book. But for those already camped in the area hitting the alpine routes, it serves as a good break from the more technical routes of Mount Fryatt
, Mount Olympus
, Mount Lowell
, etc. This is a short day, therefore it only makes sense to do a full traverse of the three peaks if you are an avid peak bagger. The total gain on the traverse is 2500’+ and it took us over four hours to complete. One of the closest mountain goat (not sheep) encounters I have had was on Mickey Mouse.
Follow the Columbia Icefields Parkway 31 km south of Jasper to the Athabasca Falls turnoff on your right. Follow the Althabasca Parkway 1.1 km to the Geraldine Lakes Road on your left. Drive along this road for 2.1 km to a sign posted trail leading left (east) toward the Athabasca River. This is where you park and either hike or bike in to the Lower Fryatt Campground 11.4 km. Pick your poison. Biking with a 65lb pack on single track is no joy, but it is faster than hiking. Another option is to portage the river saving about 6 or 7 km off of this trial.
I biked in. Leave your bike at the Lower Fryatt Campground and proceed on the trail as it follows Fryatt Creek west for a total of 22 km past the Brussels campground, Fryatt Lake, Headwall campground, Fryatt Creek Falls and finally to the Sidney Vallance Hut gaining several thousand feet of elevation. This hut serves as a great base for considerable variation in alpine climbing. My group planned a week back here. I know few climbers willing to hike 22 km for one mountain in the Canadian Rockies.
You will be required to purchase a national park pass as you enter the park. This pass is good for all four national parks. If you plan many visits to Canadian National Parks within one year, you should purchase an annual pass. There are no permit requirements to climb in Jasper National Park, but all camping is regulated. There is also a backcountry permit required if you plan on spending a night in the backcountry. Even if you use a hut, you will need this permit. This can be obtained via the parks website which is included in the camping section below. Park headquarters are located in Banff and Jasper and you will drive through the manned kiosks as you enter the park.
This is active grizzly country, therefore, you should always have bear spray on your person. I advise checking with Parks Canada
for any area and/or trail closures.
When To Climb
As with most climbs in the Canadian Rockies, the driest time is from June through September. I did the Three Blind Mice traverse in August and the route was free of snow. There are no published backcountry ski routes on Three Blind Mice, but it does appear feasible to ski Middle Mouse.
The Sydney Vallance Hut
received a major facelift and interior makeover in the summer of 1999 and is now a much improved version of the former cabin. It is open summer and winter with a limited capacity of 12 humans or 1 large bear. It has a propane system for cooking and lighting and a wood stove for heating. If you prefer camping, the last campground into this area is the Headwall campground. I don't advise this campground for any objective. It is poorly placed below an avalanche gully, meaning good bear habitat. It is best to either use the hut above the headwall and focus on Fryatt, Lowell, Olympus, Belanger, etc., or camp at the Brussels campground more than halfway in (very nice) and focus on Brussels and Christie.
Campground reservations can be made through Jasper National Park
The Jasper National Park website
has weather, wildlife reports, trail closures, etc. Outside of the parks web site, Canadian Avalanche Association
is also useful, particularly for winter travel.
Other Climbs in this Area
I climbed five mountains in five days on this week long trip. My group was fortunate in that we had only one rainy day, our first day in the hut, which worked out since we just hauled our supplies 22 km the day before. Everybody did different mountains, but I climbed Lowell, Fryatt, Olympus, Christie and The Three Blind Mice. My web site
has further information and pictures on these climbs. There are many more options as well.
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