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Mount Columbia via West Face
Timestamp Free: 2017.12.13 - 15:46:06
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges / Columbia Icefield
  (3 days)
Participants: Solo
Difficulty: 5: class 5.5
This is a two-and-a-half-day solo ascent of the west face of Columbia from Bush River valley.
Bryce was in the bag and the next thing to do was that huge gem towering above Bush River. (Mount Columbia). My extensive research into this beast had left me worried. 2-5 km of glacier travel and no good pictures to judge. Since it is second highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, a first hand view was to be had.

From the Rice Brook staging area I followed the Bush road northward and the left fork followed in a couple Km. This follows the Bush River north road 3 or 4 more Km crossing the SW Columbia Icefield drainage stream. I parked just past the bridge crossing this "stream". If the bridge were to be removed, this approach to Columbia and King Edward might not go any more. A little further the road switchbacks and climbs the hill, then passes through several cut areas. You could drive most, if not all the way to the last log cut at GR701691 (map) except for the large deadfall beginning shortly after the bridge. In the middle of the north end of the last cut I found flagging for the trail and Alan Kane's sign (unreadable).

The trail is well marked and easy to follow in daylight. Be sure to get a GPS position at the end where the meadows start and the flagging pretty much ends (52:04.532-117:26.456). Much of the trail to here is on a slope and one would have trouble if the start was missed. From here I aimed north and soon found an opportunity to drop down to the right 50 meters or so to continue up a beautiful alpine corridor. I bivied somewhere around GR775726 when I found water. My default bivi was the pond at GR664735 unless water was found sooner. I had left at 3 or 4 pm. and reached the bivi at 10 pm., gaining nearly 4000'.

This gorgeous area appears to be a "karst" topography where the limestone has has been heavily water worked above AND below the...

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