Abbott & Afton, A Romp in the Selkirks

Where: Glacier National Park, Selkirk Mountains, British Columbia
When: August 2007
Partners: Solo
Route: Abbott-Afton Traverse (Class 4)

Trail views on the way up Mount Abbott

DB, Dow Williams and Peter Valchev set out toward the Selkirks of British Columbia from Canmore, Alberta. Although I was nursing a troublesome cold that had been plaguing me for the last couple weeks, I was hoping to join Dow and Peter on a climb of Mount Sir Donald, one of the 'North American 50 Classic Climbs.'

As we arrived in Glacier National Park, it became clear to me that it wasn't meant to be. I wasn't feeling well, I was anxious about leaving DB for a couple days, and I was mostly hung-up on the idea that Dow and Peter intended to solo the route, opting only to bust out the ropes for the descent rappels. Their alpine style was a bit more than I was looking for on this, a significant route on a significant alpine mountain.

With DB still on crutches, healing from a knee injury she sustained canyoneering in the San Gabriels, I opted, despite the fever I incurred the night before, to set out alone and explore some of the milder objectives in the park. A traverse of Mount Abbott and Mount Afton it was.
Summit views west from Mount Afton

Mount Abbott was primarily a lush and beautiful trail, until you hit the final ridge line leading to the top. From there, a little, light scramble led you to the highpoint and its astounding views. Dropping down Abbott toward Afton, I headed up the class 4 buttress, seeking out harder, more interesting lines when I could find them.

The views from Mount Afton's summit were even better than Abbott's. Another ridge led off toward other peaks that had my interest, but DB was waiting at our room and I felt it prudent to head back.

Rather than retrace my steps, I dropped down the backside of Afton, traversed back around toward Abbott, passed a small glacial tarn, and soon picked up the ridge from Abbott that would take me back to the trail.

Short and sweet, but a place to return to.
Mount Afton from the trail to Mount Abbott