Trip Page   Home     Help   Index     Login
A Winter Ascent of White Pyramid
Timestamp Free: 2019.08.21 - 16:25:05
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges / Waputik Mountains
  (1 days)
Participants: Rick Collier and a large ACC party
Difficulty: 3: Long day; some skiing in avalanche terrain; crevasses possible higher up; moderate to steep snow and hardpack
This report discusses the details of winter ascents of White Pyramid and notes the difficulties of the traverse to Chephren
This climb is by now a standard ski ascent in the Rockies, since it essentially follows Route #2 in the Guidebook (July, 1962 - Gregor, Lyon, Prevost, Smith, & Tupper). But I thought I'd put a note about it in Bivouac since I have found no mention of this fine route in any of the various guidebooks; even the redoubtable Chic Scott has omitted reference to White Pyramid in his otherwise comprehensive text, Summits and Icefields (1994). This tour also provides an alternative, but demanding and spectacular, route to the summit of Mount Chephren; however, ascending both peaks makes for a longish day.

The ski approach starts at the pull-out for the old gauging station on the Banff-Jasper highway about 12.5 km S of the intersection with the David Thompson at Saskatchewan River Crossing. It is important to do this ascent in deep winter, perhaps no later than mid-March, since the first task of the day is to ski across the Mistaya River, which had better be well frozen; if it is not, one might be advised to attempt a different objective.

Once across the Mistaya, head SW for a km and up about 500' through moderate bush to Epaulette Lake (see White Pyramid); ski S across the lake and follow its source stream up the valley for another 2 km to an unnamed pond (GR 200/453 on 82 N/15 - Mistaya Lake). Ascend out of this canyon on the SW, and in 500' of elevation gain reach the middle glacial-retreat plain.

This upper valley splits into two segments, one heading SE toward the spectacular 2500' cliffs of the N faces of Chephren and White Pyramid, the second trending off S. If you wish to do more than get close-up pictures of the ice cliffs, take this more westerly route. The 600' ascent up into this third tier of glacial canyons is steep and can be avalanche-prone,...

To see the full trip report you must login as a paid member. Use the Login Page. (message p3)