Quill Peak GR:368433

elevation: 3,124 m. height gain: 2,240 m. (includes height loss)
area: Icefields Parkway,AB map 82/N 15-16
2015-Aug-23


Ref: Rocky Mountain Ramblers Association
along silverhorn creek


After sidehilling along Silverhorn Creek, above the canyon, we near the gravel flats.
Alpine climb: RT 17.0; 9.5 up. We noticed this prominent peak on a trip up Conical Peak two weeks ago, the summit wasn't labeled on the map. The connecting ridge from Conical's access draw appeared to offer a route over a glacier and a sub peak. Once at home, Fabrice quickly found out its name looking at Google Earth. During the week, my jaw dropped when I saw a trip report on Quill Peak pop up on the Rambler's site; I couldn't believe the timing, the objective became a priority! We decided to stick to our plan and attempt this lengthy trip despite a significant snowfall over the Kananaskis and Continental Divide. We figured the snow would have mostly melted with the latent heat and a warm day on saturday. Jay and Charles signed up for this long schlep and met us at the Silverhorn Campground. We left at daybreak, retracing our way up Silverhorn Creek for a second time in just two weeks, like a déjà vu. There was some snow in the upper draw; already consolidated and firm, it offered a good alternative to loose scree encountered on the way to the connecting ridge. We aimed for the glacier while avoiding going over the highpoint and put the crampons on. The glacier was snow-covered and we could see some big crevasses here and there. Fabrice went ahead probing as he went, we did come across a couple of holes that required contouring. Once off the glacier, we climbed the gentle slopes that lead to the prominent sub peak. We found the best place to scramble down the steep blocky terrain on the east side and continued over a minor bump. From there, we weaved through interesting outcrops before reaching the rugged bump with the goat traverse. A couple of moderate steps are needed to surmount a short steep bit at first, then we picked our way across. Beyond the traverse, the easy summit plod is all that remains. The terrain offers pleasant hiking but seems to never end... It's fair to say, we were very happy to see the summit ahead. We sat for a good long break, Charles even had a snooze. Unfortunately, we knew we had a loooong return and couldn't linger eternally. The Ramblers mentioned there was no register so Fab placed one. Backtracking went well, the prominent sub peak seemed shorter to climb than anticipated and the glacier was enjoyable. Beyond there, we were hard-pressed to make ground before dark. We managed to reach treed terrain where we followed the intermittent trail by headlamp. Fabrice did a great job keeping to the trail, leading us with little hesitation. This trip is lengthy but the reward is great and it has a bit of everything. Two thumbs up!
access drainage ahead

The access drainage comes into view on the left.

traversing above a rockband

Traversing above a rockband to reach the drainage.

connecting ridge

The connecting ridge between Quill and Conical Peaks is snowy.

nearing the headwall


Getting close to the headwall.


further up the headwall


Further up the headwall, several options exist.


climb to the ridge crest


Breaking into the sun as we climb to the ridge crest.


shortcut for conical peak


It is possible to ascend these slopes for Conical Peak.


firm new snow


The sun-affected snow cooled overnight and is quite firm.


looking back


Looking back.


conical peak


The connecting ridge to Conical Peak.


crampons on


Crampons on for the snow-covered glacier.


the objective in view


The objective and a prominent sub peak on the right.


probing the glacier


Probing every step of the way.


crevasses along the way


Several fair-sized crevasses along the way.


steep embankment


Dropping down the steep embankment of the glacier.


climbing the sub peak


Easy ascent to the prominent sub peak.


good distance to go


Top of the sub peak with still a good distance to go.


scrambling down


Scrambling down blocky terrain to the minor bumps ahead.


goat traverse


The bump on the left has the "goat traverse" about 2/3 of the way up.


first minor bump


Up the first minor bump.


goat traverse ahead


The second bump with the "goat traverse" from the first bump.


steep bit


Moderate scrambling up a steep bit to gain the traverse.


looking back


Looking back.


goat traverse


Picking our way across.


finally on the summit ridge


Finally on the summit ridge.


synchronized climbing


Synchronized climbing.


we've come a long way


We sure have come a long way!


great summit views


Well-earned summit views!


summit cairn


Looking north past the cairn, check out Fab's little video!


very smoky


Western view through the smoke.


heading down


Heading down.


ascents to come


Not looking forward to climbing the sub peak on the right...


between bumps


Back down to the saddle between the bumps.


ascending the sub peak


Ascending the blocky sub peak again with Quill Peak in the background.


conical peak


View south with Conical Peak from the sub peak.


putting crampons back on


Putting crampons back on for the glacier.


backtracking


Backtracking.


crevasses


Some impressive crevasses.


zig-zagging


Zig-zagging between holes.


lots of smoke


Mount Weed in the smoke.


descending from the ridge


Descending from the ridge.
Back to home page