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One Day Ski Ascent on Andromeda (South Ridge)
Timestamp Free: 2020.07.14 - 13:30:46
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges / Columbia Icefield
  (1 days)     Elevation Gain: 1650m
Participants: Gen K, Anton B, Vern D
Difficulty: 3: Ski and glacier mountaineering exposed to hazards such as avalanches, seracs and crevasses.
A one day ski ascent of Mount Andromeda from the Sunwapta Lake parking lot via the South Ridge.
I wasn't sure that I would manage to summit my last 11,000er on the main Columbia Icefield in the spring of 2016. Rumors were flying around that the Athabasca Glacier approach was toast this year thanks to an extremely warm winter and spring, combined with low snow and a serac event that covered the route I've always used through the headwall with tons of ice and snow. I wasn't too concerned, as I knew I could approach the south ridge from the Saskatchewan Glacier if I had to. The South Ridge is the easiest route on Andromeda (there are a LOT of routes on this particular 11,000er) and probably one of the technically easiest ascents on the Columbia Icefield - but it does have a lot of objective hazards so I didn't want underestimate it.

To be honest, I had mixed feelings about doing my last Athabasca Glacier ski mountaineering approach. It's true that this approach is full of objective hazards and I've been extremely lucky not to have had a single bad experience through the icefalls, but it's also a gorgeous area with rock, snow, ice, wind, clouds and sun all competing for attention as skiers skin up steep snow, through crevasses, and under towering ridges of snow and ice a vertical kilometer above, staring coldly down at them as they thread their way through it's hard, blue detritus. It's an area that hundreds and hundreds of visitors to our beautiful country gaze towards every day and wonder who the heck goes up to that forbidding place and actually enjoys themselves whilst doing it! Of course, nothing is stopping me from going back to do repeats, but generally I enjoy a mountain once and then move on to something else.

I've been up the Athabasca Glacier a number of times over the past years. Most times the weather has been good (because why the heck would you...

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