Mt. Athabasca

Last weekend I took a three day mountaineering course in the Canadian Rockies which concluded with an ascent of Mt. Athabasca (3491m).

During the course I camped at the Jonas Creek Campground in Jasper National park. Some reviews rate this as one of the worst campgrounds in the park – in which case I look forward to seeing the best, because this one was just fine!

The first two days of the course provided opportunities to discuss mountain travel, and to practice self-arrest skills and crevasse rescue.

Observing the local terrain.
Mt. Athabasca (we didn’t climb up this side)
Crevasse rescue practice.
Summer is here in the valley!

On the final day of the course we woke up at 1:30am and took down camp, to be ready for a 3am departure up the mountain. This was to make sure that we could travel quickly and safely on snow which had frozen overnight.

Sunrise in the mountains.
Donning crampons before we head up the face ahead.
Looking up the mountain – a bit of wind, but a remarkably calm day overall.
A real pleasure to meet Chhering Sherpa. He has climbed Everest seven times, and now works as a guide in the Canadian Rockies.

We formed teams on ropes to travel across small glaciers along the route. I joined a group of Manitobans. Manitoba may be a dull and dismal place geographically, but all the Manitobans I have met so far have been extremely friendly and hardworking people.

Gord from Manitoba on the summit!
Heading back down.
Unroping at the foot of the glacier.
Heading down below the icefall.
Back down to the Columbia Icefields Discovery Centre.

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