A classic route up Mt Athabasca









FATMAP difficulty grade



Stunning views, 45 degree snow or ice climbing, and some stout exposure are what make the Silverhorn the most popular route on Mt Athabasca.

A stample of intermediate mountaineering ventures it requires good navigation skills, but some truly excellent climbing.

Park just to the left of the Icefield Parkway and follow the road to the explorer staging ground.

Take the trail on the southern side of the river, and follow the trail up the moraine.

Trend east southeast.

The moraine will take you to the edge of the glacier.

If you've timed things right, the sky should be turning gray by the time you've roped up, prepped your crevasse rescue equipment, and are ready to go.

Head across the icefield and toward the begining of the ridge.

There are a number of hazards here that are obvious to mountaineers, so it bears repeating that adequate experience or guide accompaniment is a must.

The Silverhorn is the broad glacial ridge in the middle of the Mount Athbasca ridge.

To the right of the Silverhorn is the North Glacier route that zigs beneath the large serac and above the bergschrund until it reaches the ridge proper and zags back.

This route is a little easier, and it offers a good chance to back out if the Silverhorn looks too icy for your tastes.

The climbing begins as you approach the bergshrund.

Later in the season this can get very tricky.

Once past the bergschrund the terrain is pretty low angle, maxing out at about 40 degrees.

Still, if there is no snow it can feel a little spooky.

If you are new to ice climbing you may want to use an ice screw or two and even an extra ice tool.

Once you achieve the top of the Silverhorn there is a simple walk across a ridge to gain the summit.

The ridge is nearly a meter wide with snow, so it isn't too scary.

The best way to descend is via the AA Col route.

Rockfall gets pretty serious later in the day, so be warned.