Cathedral Mountain


elevation: 3,189 m. height gain: 1,600 m.
area: Yoho Park,BC map 82 N/8
2009-Jul-31


Ref: Drew and Mark in the Canadian Rockies. Approach notes: a bridge is out on the first section of Cataract Brook Trail. It is possible to cross higher up; just past the 2 km sign on the Lake O'Hara access road, the overgrown Wapta Road can be followed down to a log crossing (old bridge). Cataract Brook Trail intersects the road in less than a kilometer. We followed the trail to a treed rib, 452961 (before reaching a main drainage) and ascended the steep slopes until bluffs guided us along climber's left, 444961. Eventually, we found our way in a larch meadow high up above the drainage, 442960.
up the treed rib

At the bluffs, we enjoyed the sunrise.
Alpine climb: RT 12.5; 7.0 up. Amazing, incredible trip !!! After timing our drive through the highway's nightly construction closures, we got to the parking lot at 3:30 AM. It didn't start too well, posted on the hiking sign is a notice: bridge out. Fab had noted another way on Google Earth, hurray Fab! The log crossing was interesting in the dark and we didn't hike far enough up the road to find the trail. Bushwhacking in wet alder ensued. It was hilarious on the way down to see how close we where to the trail in some places. Nonetheless, after a while, we stepped onto it and soon found ourselves leaving it to start the steep climb in the light timbered slope. At the meadow, the hiking is pleasant. Bedrock and waterfalls quickly come into view. As we traversed towards the headwall, we noticed three people coming down. They informed us about the great conditions up on the glacier. Indeed, the ascent was straightforward and wonderful. As the valley fog lifted, puffs of mist came up from the sheer sides of the mountain. Mounts Victoria and Huber seemed permanently engulfed. At the top, the wind was calm and the view spectacular even with the lifting clouds. After staying for an hour, we reluctantly started heading down.
going around bluffs

While climbing, we veer left of some bluffs to gain a shelf high above the drainage.

near the meadow

Larch is more prominent approaching the meadow.

very pleasant


Lovely landscape and great anticipation.


headwall


Cathedral Crags peers above the headwall.


traversing


We traverse towards the snow to go across the headwall. I'm on the lower right of the picture.


rock pile


A nice cairn along the start of the traverse.


above the headwall


On the bedrock above the headwall.


approaching the glacier


We will soon rope up and put on the crampons.


on the glacier


Higher, the glacier is snow covered.


looking back


The toe of the glacier was bare ice and quite enjoyable.


balfour


The best view of Mount Balfour of the day.


summit ridge


The beautiful summit ridge.


on the ridge


The angle is not as steep as it appears from below.


mystical lifting clouds


Puffs of clouds add a special feel.


almost there


The last stretch of snow.


cairn ahead


From the top of the snow it's a skip and a hop to the cairn.


spectacular


The view remains spectacular despite the lifting clouds.


cairn


The summit cairn right next to the sheer west side.


odaray mountain


Linda Lake at the foot of Odaray Mountain.


summit shot


Self-timed picture, cheese!


looking south-east


Lake O'Hara on the lower left.


another summit picture


Another summit picture, looking south-east.


mount owen


Mount Owen dominates the view south.


victoria's south-west face


We got a glimpse at Victoria's south-west face and noticed tracks on the glacier.


heading back


I guess we should start down...


descent


Did I mention how beautiful this place is?


more summit ridge


The snowy ridge is magnificent.


crevasse


Fab manages to find a crevasse. He said it was deep enough to stand in!


yahoo!


Barely hanging on.


log crossing


Crossing "a-cheval".
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