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Clemenceau - Approach from Athabasca River
Timestamp Free: 2020.02.21 - 11:42:14
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges
  (null days)
Participants: Rick Collier and party
Difficulty: 4: Lengthy alpine ski touring across high icefields subject to whiteout and crevasse danger. Some avalanche danger.
Epic overland ski tour.
Both of the other two approaches are briefly described in the Guidebook for the Rockies - North. I have little to add to those descriptions, except that both are difficult in the winter and, I would assume, even more so in the summer.

As well, both require a long approach up the Athabasca River - even in spring conditions, the skiing can be marginal at the elevation of the valley floor (4400'), and so this portion of the approach is mostly hiking; adding skis to an already heavy pack provisioned with 7-10 days worth of food and gear can be a daunting prospect. It is worth remembering, however, that there is now a bridge over the Athabaska about a kilometer E of the junction between that river and the Chaba. Both routes now follow the Chaba River instead of the Athabaska and so many parties (ours included) choose to ford the river instead of hiking an extra two kilometers. The hiking along the Chaba is, incidentally, quite open and filled with wildlife and delightful views.

The ascent onto the Chaba Icefield from the Chaba River (which is the SW branch of the Athabaska) is the most difficult portion of this approach; even in winter when much of the canyon is choked with snow that can be skied over, there are dangers from avalanches and places in the stream where wading becomes inevitable. Once onto the Chaba Icefield, the party should head for the pass at GR 494833 on 83 C/4 and contour around to the SW and descend a steepish section at GR 488830. One then continues NW up the Clemenceau Icefield toward Apex Mt., choosing a point on the S side of the peak to ascend up and over the pass at GR 443844. From there it is a spectacular ski down the Clemenceau Glacier to the moraines and icefalls near Tusk Peak. A strong party with good conditions could make this approach...

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