Valad Peak is lovely mountain with a formidable face falling down to Maligne Lake and Coronet Creek in southern Jasper National Park. Similar to Mt. Brazeau and Mt. Henry Macleod, the West Face rises dramatically from Coronet Creek to the summit plateau, which is draped in the glacial mass of the Brazeau Icefield. The North and South Ridges, topped with the Brazeau Icefield, are low angle and gentle, but are riddled with a minefield of hidden crevasses. The summit reaches a notable 3250m (10,663 ft.)
Climbers are permitted to bivouac on long routes or otherwise where necessary to safely complete a climb. Some restrictions apply. A backcountry use permit is required, contact any Jasper National Park visitor centre, where you may obtain the permit.
Jasper joins Banff National Park to the south via the Icefields Parkway. This parkway offers scenic driving, and more importantly, access to some of the best alpine and waterfall ice climbing in the world. The parking areas for all routes is at the Poboktan Creek trailhead, approximately 165 km north of the Trans Canada Highway or 70 km south the town of Jasper.
Heading up side creek
Head up the trail, at about 7 km up, head North-East into a major side valley, no official trail. Once near end of valley, head up steep scree slopes and in between cliff bands to north. Great bivy site at edge of icefield at NTS UTM grid reference 777179 (lat. 52.5103, long. -117.4749).
Valad Peak, and the adjoining Mount Brazeau and Mt. Henry Macleod, offer classic mountaineering objectives in summer or winter. As a ski mountaineering expedition, generally late winter or early spring will often the best snow conditions and stability. For summer mountaineering, typically mid June to the end of September offers the best conditions.
Just above South-West toe of Icefield
- North or South Ridge, Alpine I
First ascended in 1923 by A. Carpe, W.D. Harris and Howard Palmer. An easy ascent usually from a high camp on the edge of the Brazeau Icefield. Descend the same route, often combined with a traverse of Mount Brazeau and Mt. Henry Macleod. Be prepared for the many crevasses and whiteout conditions; whiteouts are common atop this glacial plateau.
From the recommended bivy site, gain South-West toe of the Brazeau Icefield. This section has many crevasses; probing and careful route selection is required. Once on the flat glacier, I recommend heading to Mt. Brazeau first, and then traverse back towards camp via Valad, then Henry Macleod; this way you bag the primary summit first.
Looking South Glacier on Mt. Brazeau towards Valad Peak
After ascending Mt. Brazeau, descend South Glacier to shallow North Ridge of Valad Peak. Near summit, a quick traverse to climber’s left (East) is required to gain summit snow. Descend South Ridge to Valad/Henry Macleod col.
Summit of Valad Peak
Climbing boots, crampons and helmet (mainly for South Glacier section on Brazeau). Standard glacier travel and crevasse rescue gear; depending on snow coverage, pickets or ice screws, pulleys, locking carabiners and carabiners, slings and prussiks. Probe is useful for detecting crevasses.
If ski or winter mountaineering avalanche rescue gear is essential; beacon, probe and shovel.
High altitude camping gear for bivy camp. We had overnight temperatures of -12 C (10 F) in late June. Rain/snow storm shell, down jacket, waterproof climbing (ski) boots and good camp food.
Bill Corbett’s book, The 11,000ers of the Canadian Rockies, provides a comprehensive climber’s guide and history to the 54 11,000-foot peaks in the Canadian Rockies. Since a traverse of Mt. Brazeau, to Valad Peak to Mt. Henry Macleod is classic objective, beta for all three peaks is detailed in this guide.
11,000ers of the Canadian Rockies