Kitchener, Mount

elevation: 3,505 m. height gain: 1,460 m.
area: Columbia Icefield,AB map 83 C/3

Ref: Chic Scott's Summits and Icefields
early morning

On the snowcoach road early morning.
Ski mountaineering: RT 14.25; 9.0 up. A reliable high pressure ridge prompted us to plan a trip on the Columbia Icefield. Since the Rocky Mountain Bed & Biscuit Kennel no longer exists, we were inclined to do Mount Kitchener as a day trip. This trudge is similar in distance and height gain to Castleguard Mountain; having done the latter a few weeks ago, I knew we had a good chance at being successful. As usual, we had an early start. We left Golden at 1 AM, and met Jay and Charles at 4 AM. We parked at the climber's parking lot and booted up the road shortly thereafter. We roped up at the snowcoach's terminus and proceeded towards the headwall. Although we are quite familiar with this approach, the seracs are always a concern... so are the numerous, large crevasses near the crest of the headwall. With a sudden dramatic rise in temperature over the last week, awareness was heightened. We followed an up-track, which contoured Mount Snowdome's flank and continued towards The Twins. At some point, we left the trail and kept going around Snowdome, aiming for Mount Kitchener. We climbed progressively on gentle terrain, near us were signs of large crevasses. Once we had Kitchener in sight, we skied towards a saddle. I ended up sidehilling over very hard snow and had to loose a bit of elevation to proceed safely. Fab and Charles went higher and gained the ridge easily; we met at the saddle and had another break before the last push. The weather was sublime, no wind at all and almost too hot. From the saddle, we climbed towards a recent up-track and engaged in the last push to our objective in good spirit. The plod seemed to take longer than we anticipated but eventually we reached the top. We suspected the highpoint to be a cornice so we ventured there on belay. After taking tons of pictures, we hung out for nearly 2 hours. This was most likely amongst the longest summit breaks for us, we even had time for a nap! Eventually though, we started to focus on returning. I didn't realize how knackered I was until we started to come down, my legs were burnt! We skied to the saddle, site of our earlier break, and elected to continue roped up. We even stayed roped up for the headwall, which I've skied several times unroped... At the bottom of the headwall, we stowed the ropes and continued to the snowcoach terminus. Thanks to the grader operator for giving us permission to drive our truck to the loading area to pick up our gear!
roping up

Roping up at the snowcoach terminus.

approaching the headwall

Approaching the headwall.

recent avalanches

Lots of recent avalanche activity.

going up the headwall

Coming up the headwall.

around mount snowdome

Contouring Mount Snowdome's southern flank.


Substantial crevasses along the way.

looking back

Looking back.

castleguard mountain

Castleguard Mountain appears closer than it is!

columbia and king edward

Mounts Columbia and King Edward.

mount bryce in the background

Looking back with Mount Bryce on the left.

mount kitchener ahead

Mount Kitchener ahead.

south and north twins

South and North Twins, a camp is visible (center).

looking back again

Looking back again.

snowdome's north face

The north face of Mount Snowdome.

athabasca and andromeda from the top

Mounts Athabasca and Andromeda from the top.

view north-west

The view north-west towards Mount Alberta and Stutfield Peak.

view east

View east.

on the summit cornice

On belay, we venture on the hightpoint of the summit cornice.

long stay at the summit

No wind and blistering heat, we stop for a long pause.

nap time

Taking a nap.

mount columbia

Mount Columbia once more.

mount snowdome

Mount Snowdome.

north twin and twins tower

North Twin and Twins Tower.

castleguard nestled among bigger mountains

Can you pick out Castleguard Mountain?

on the way out

Making our way out.

travelling roped up

Travelling roped up.

mount andromeda

Mount Andromeda and its approach.

plowing down the headwall

Plowing down the softened snow on the headwall.

athabasca glacier

The snowcoach terminus is quickly reached.

unroping for the last bit

Unroping before crossing under the seracs.
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