Cathedral Mountain

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

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.


Cathedral Crags peers above the headwall.


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.


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.


The view remains spectacular despite the lifting clouds.


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...


Did I mention how beautiful this place is?

more summit ridge

The snowy ridge is magnificent.


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


Barely hanging on.

log crossing

Crossing "a-cheval".
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