Steven Song's Peak-bagging Journey

Home > Icefield Parkway > Mount Coleman

Mount Coleman

After finishing Mount Carnarvon, Andrea and I drove all the way up Icefield Parkway to Rampart Creek Campground, where we got the evening photos of Mount Wilson. We set up alarm to 5:45AM to give an early start. The morning was so cold that I had to use my winter closing including the bulky gloves... It took us a while to get ready and we finally started at 7AM. I felt much better than the day before on Hamilton lake trail, and we set up fast pace up Sunset Pass Trail. The fairly steep trail gave us 500m elevation gain by climbing up the headwall towards Sunset Meadows. During which we got excellent morning photos. It didn't took us long to get to Sunset Meadows. It's a lovely place that I'd like to go back in the future (too bad Coleman is the only scramble in this area)... Looking back, Mount Amery looks impressive. I wonder if that's a scramble from the backside.

The trail braided a bit before Norman Lake Campground, which confused us a bit. We crossed a stream by a foot log and soon arrived at the campground. Continuing the trail passing the campground, we had our eyes on the ascending drainage closely. According to Alan Kane, we had to go far towards Sunset Pass before entering the big drainage. But I also knew Eric and Vern ascended the smaller drainage to the left of the big one. Since this was closer we decided to started ascending from here. Immediately we had to cross the entire meadows. Due to the frost, we got soaked pretty quick. It was not walking on grass though, instead we had to bushwhacking that was typically knee deep. We were too lazy to try finding a trail. We tried to ascend the drainage but the young grown slowed us quite a bit. After terrible bushwhacking we finally decided to give up ascending this drainage, instead we started ascending the treed slope on climber's right. Good call! Even though this was still bushwhacking, it was much better than the whacking through young grown... We on purposely ascended towards climber's right to aim for the big drainage. This section was much longer than I thought and we eventually broke through the forest and started the even longer gully walk...

From Sunset Meadows to topping out the big gully, there's 900m elevation gain, so don't be lured by foreshortened view. The top of the gully has almost the same height as the miner peaks on climber's left, so keep an eye on it rather than the gully itself... It took forever to just get closer to the end. We didn't go the end though, instead we started trudging up the face / slope sooner. We got an excellent viewpoint higher up. Most of the Columbia Icefield peaks showed up and that was a big "wow" moment to me as I haven't done anything in this area except for Castleguard Mountain.

From here, we still had 250 vertical meters to go. I had to say Mount Coleman is more of a slog than scrambling. It's rated as difficult but only for short section (if you go up the bigger gully on climber's right). I made it harder by trying to stick to the ridge crest. There's a shallow gully just to the right of ridge crest that offers better scrambling. It was still loose though but at least you gotta do some hands-on stuffs. I rate this gully lower difficult scrambling. Andrea went up the bigger gully which was merely a slog. Eventually we topped out on the summit ridge, the "official" start of difficult scrambling. The ridge gets exposed at places. If careless, you can slide down the entire east face glacier and possibly be sucked into one of the big crevasses. There's some slabs to negotiate as well. This reminds me of the summit ridge of Mount Burstall, although easier than Burstall.. The final summit block offers some slab scrambling. Andrea found an bypass from further climber's right, but I tackled the slabs head-on. After Mount Northover last weekend, this big of slab felt so simple though. The summit offers great view towards Columbia Icefield, Cirrus Mountain, and the front country of David Thompson. Cline, Forbes, Lyells, Alexandra are also clearly visible.

It was very cold so we decided to go down soon. After negotiating back the exposed summit ridge, we used the bigger gully to descend. It's indeed easier than sticking to the ridge. From here on, it was mainly a talus slog (downhill though). We did manage to find scree run here and there and that helped our knees a lot. Lower down, we managed to get into the snow section. It wasn't steep and I could use my poles to control speed while glissading (I didn't bring ice axe). That "snow patch" went on much longer than I thought though. Once back to the trees, we tried to find paths here and there and followed it down to Sunset Meadows. The meadows look even better in afternoon. Even if you're not a scrambler, you'd better go here and check the views.

Like the day before on Hamilton Lake Trail, Sunset Pass Trail went on forever... Good thing there was a big waterfall down that added to the boring hike out. Eventually we made back to our cars. Awesome two-peak-weekend, thanks Andrea for accompanying.

Print all photos for $8.40 | Slideshow
Me on the summit
1
Me on the summit
Order print
20 views
 
Mount Wilson
2
Mount Wilson
Order print
23 views
 
Mount Amery
3
Mount Amery
Order print
27 views
 
Alexandra River area
4
Alexandra River area
Order print
17 views
 
Mount Amery
5
Mount Amery
Order print
23 views
 
Mount Coleman
6
Mount Coleman
Order print
26 views
 
Mount Amery
7
Mount Amery
Order print
27 views
 
Mount Coleman
8
Mount Coleman
Order print
27 views
 
Sunset Meadows
9
Sunset Meadows
Order print
36 views
 
The foreshortened gully
10
The foreshortened gully
Order print
30 views
 
11
Order print
46 views
 
12
Order print
33 views
 
Mount Saskatchewan
13
Mount Saskatchewan
Order print
32 views
 
14
Order print
35 views
 
A tarn
15
A tarn
Order print
22 views
 
The upper slope
16
The upper slope
Order print
21 views
 
Typical terrain
17
Typical terrain
Order print
26 views
 
The fractured North glacier
18
The fractured North glacier
Order print
32 views
 
Looking back at false summit
19
Looking back at false summit
Order print
33 views
 
20
Order print
28 views
 
21
Order print
36 views
 
22
Order print
36 views
 
23
Order print
33 views
 
24
Order print
27 views
 
Mount Alexandra
25
Mount Alexandra
Order print
29 views
 
Mt. Amery and The Lyells
26
Mt. Amery and The Lyells
Order print
25 views
 
Mt. Bryce & Saskatchewan
27
Mt. Bryce & Saskatchewan
Order print
31 views
 
Mount Columbia & The Icefield
28
Mount Columbia & The Icefield
Order print
21 views
 
Alberta, Wooley, Diadem
29
Alberta, Wooley, Diadem
Order print
24 views
 
Cirrus Mountain
30
Cirrus Mountain
Order print
36 views
 
Mount Stewart
31
Mount Stewart
Order print
29 views
 
Mount Wilson
32
Mount Wilson
Order print
28 views
 
Mount Alexandra
33
Mount Alexandra
Order print
32 views
 
Coleman Lake
34
Coleman Lake
Order print
25 views
 
The false summit
35
The false summit
Order print
38 views
 
Summit pano looking N
36
Summit pano looking N
Order print
20 views
 
Summit Register
37
Summit Register
Order print
30 views
 
Mount Cline
38
Mount Cline
Order print
28 views
 
Coleman & Ascending gully
39
Coleman & Ascending gully
Order print
31 views
 
Fossils
40
Fossils
Order print
28 views
 
Unnamed peaks in David Thompson
41
Unnamed peaks in David Thompson
Order print
22 views
 
Unnamed peaks in David Thompson
42
Unnamed peaks in David Thompson
Order print
25 views
 
Mount Coleman
43
Mount Coleman
Order print
23 views
 
Mount Coleman
44
Mount Coleman
Order print
28 views
 
Sunset Meadows
45
Sunset Meadows
Order print
23 views
 
Sunset Meadows
46
Sunset Meadows
Order print
43 views
 
Sunset Meadows
47
Sunset Meadows
Order print
37 views
 
Sunset Meadows
48
Sunset Meadows
Order print
41 views
 
49
Order print
27 views
 
Sunset Meadows
50
Sunset Meadows
Order print
29 views
 
Sunset Meadows
51
Sunset Meadows
Order print
25 views
 
Sunset Meadows
52
Sunset Meadows
Order print
37 views
 
Sunset Meadows
53
Sunset Meadows
Order print
39 views
 
Sunset Meadows
54
Sunset Meadows
Order print
33 views
 
Sunset Falls
55
Sunset Falls
Order print
22 views
 
Sunset Falls
56
Sunset Falls
Order print
30 views
 
Photos taken by Steven