Mount Athabasca (11,453 feet)

Mount Athabasca

One fine day in July 2007, Bala and I met near the toe of the Athabasca Glacier, sorted gear, and made plans for the next day's climb of Mount Athabasca. I'd spied Mount Athabasca years earlier on my only other trip to the Canadian Rockies...and it inspired me. I never forgot the look of "that big mountain I have to climb."
Bala, with the Silverhorn visible behind him

Rising early the next morning, Bala and I hiked the trail and gained the toe of the glacier in pretty good time. Donning crampons and roping up, we slogged across the ice toward saddle below the Silverhorn, our intended route.
The broken North Glacier

Eventually approaching the base of the Silverhorn, I led up. Soon gaining drastically steepening, horrible loose conditions, Bala offered to take the lead. I gladly agreed.
Looking down the steepening glacier near the base of the Silverhorn

As Bala led up, he had considerable trouble climbing through a steep crevasse problem which only led to waist-deep sludging through steep snow. I yelled up to Bala that I didn't have the patience to deal with pitching out what would obviously be very slow climbing terrain. Talking the matter over for a few minutes, we agreed that he would continue solo up the route while I would drop around and go up the North Glacier route solo. We'd meet on the summit and head down together. And that's what we did!
Bala leading up the Silverhorn

I found the North Glacier route to be mellow, except for a few spots with loose footing and exposure to gaping crevasses down low. The upper glacier is flattish, moderately crevassed, and requires some care as well.
The summit from the top of the Silverhorn

Eventually, you leave the snow and gain a trail that takes you to the base of the final 20-foot snow slope leading to the knife-edge snow summit. Nice finish!
View toward Mount Columbia from the summit