Canadian Rockies Alpine Guides - Guided climbs of Mt. Andromeda at the Columbia Icefields

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Box 40087
Canmore, AB
T1W 3H9

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Mt. Andromeda Blog postings:
N. Face (June 2009)
Mount Andromeda at the Columbia Icefields Mt. Andromeda's Skyladder, North Face, and Astroid Alley

Elevation: 3450m / 11319ft
Location: Columbia Icefields, 2.5 hours from Canmore, 1 hour from Jasper.
Season: May/June for Skyladder; June to September for N. Face; October to December for Astroid Alley.
Logistics: For all climbs at the Columbia Icefields it is highly recommended that you camp the night before at the Columbia Icefields or Wilcox Campgrounds as the morning start time will be around 2:00 - 4:00am. Your guide will be happy to meet you out that evening. If you have no prior experience, a day of glacier travel training beforehand is required. A recommended 3 day itinerary is to climb both Athabasca and Andromeda with a rest/skills day in between.

Climber on Mt. Andromeda North Face

Skyladder (III)

Length of Day: 9 - 13 hours
Max Group Size: 2
Prerequisites: Glacier Travel Course or 1 day of custom glacier travel training. Good fitness.

The Skyladder is the classic route on the mountain and is a good, although long, introduction to this style of climbing. It is somewhat more involved than the Silverhorn on Mt. Athabasca. After crossing the glacier through a maze of crevasses, the route itself is climbed in about a dozen long pitches of snow and ice up to 45 degrees. Most often we descend the same way after reaching the summit. The views of the Columbia Icefields are outstanding! This route is best in May and June most years.

North Face (III)

Length of Day: 10 - 14 hours
Max Group Size: 2
Prerequisites: Glacier Travel Course or 1 day of custom glacier travel training. Good fitness. It is also reccomended that climbers have at least one other glaciated alpine ascent under their belt (such as Athabasca or Victoria) before attempting this route.

This steeper (55 degrees) route to the left of the Skyladder offers a more challenging way to reach the summit of Mt. Andromeda. Climbers get to experience a true Rockies North Face on this climb. Descent is generally made down the AA col route which involves some exciting scrambling, a number of long rappels, and another glacier crossing. This route is usually best from June through September.

On the summit of Mt. Andromeda after climbing the North Bowl Route

Astroid Alley (IV 5.9 W5)

Length of Day: 10 - 15 hours
Max Group Size: 1 person only. Due to the serious and difficult nature of this climb, the cost is $500.
Prerequisites: Must have prior glacier mountaineering experience as well as the ability to follow vertical pitches of ice climbing and sustained difficult (M5) mixed climbing. Please contact us if you are unsure of your ability to complete this climb.

This route offers a serious challenge to experienced climbers and has some of the best mixed pitches in the entire range. After crossing the glacier and climbing some moderate snow slopes, we enter a series of vertical, ice filled chimneys for 3 long pitches of excellent climbing. Above the chimneys, 3 more pitches of rock, ice, and snow lead to the ridge crest. Descent is made either by rappel or into the North Bowl on the other side of the ridge. Note that the actual summit of Andromeda is not reached on this climb but it is a very big day out in the mountains. Also be aware that all routes of this nature come in and out of shape throughout the season and may not be climbable every year.
Ascents of this route will be led by a highly skilled guide with many hard mixed alpine climbs under his or her belt and who has climbed this route at least once before.

Other Routes

  • AA Col - Often used as the descent from the North Face, this route is also a good climb with a variety of types of climbing. This route is sometimes in good condition when the other routes are too dangerous to ascend.
Descending AA Col Route on Andromeda

Gear List

Group gear such as ropes and carabiners will be provided by Canadian Rockies Alpine Guides. The personal gear listed below is mandatory. Please inform us well in advance if you need to borrow any of these items. Items that are not available for loan must be rented or purchased. Rental and purchase information can be found here.
  • Small Pack (about 30 litres) - available for loan
  • Ice Climbing/Mountaineering Boots
  • Crampons - available for loan
  • Mountaineering Axe (Skyladder / N. Face)- available for loan
  • 2 Ice Climbing Axes (Astroid Alley) - available for loan
  • Harness - available for loan
  • Helmet - available for loan
  • Sweater/Fleece
  • Winter Jacket or Goretex/Softshell Jacket
  • Winter Pants or Goretex/Softshell Pants
  • Long Underwear
  • Gloves (2 pairs)
  • Toque
  • Sunglasses (important!)
  • Headlamp
  • Sunscreen
  • Gaitors (optional but highly recommended)
  • Water Bottles (2 litres)
  • Lunch
Canadian Rockies Alpine Guides (CRAG) - - Canmore, Alberta, Canada