Mount McArthur

August 4, 2012


Yoho National Park, BC

Mt. McArthur is a fairly impressively-looking glaciated massive on the south-west edge of Wapta Icefield. Luckily for scramblers, the access does not require crossing any glaciated terrain (unlike the other peaks on the Wapta such as the nearby Mt. Des Poilus), and the standard scramble route is well documented in Alan Kane’s Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies under the Little Yoho section. Mike, Andrea and myself managed to put it down on the 2nd day of our August long weekend peak-bagging mission, after successfully ascending Isolated, Whaleback, Kiwetinok and then Pollinger previously. Mt. McArthur is the highest among the 6 that we bagged in this trip and we all felt excited.

Ascent routes for Kiwetinok, Pollinger, McArthur and Kerr

Ascent routes for Kiwetinok, Pollinger, McArthur and Kerr

However, getting there wasn’t easy. Immediately below the summit of Mt. Pollinger we were facing a nasty looking down-climb, about 15 m high… It looked much worse than what Kane mentions in his book.. I carefully led the way down. The holds were good, but the exposure was severe. A fall would be very very badly… We took our time here again, and all of us got down safely. Both Kiwetinok and McArthur definitely deserve the difficult rating. They’re much more involved than the other difficult scrambles like Norquay or Burstall.

Andrea looking down the crux

Andrea looking down the crux

Andrea down-climbing the crux

Andrea down-climbing the crux

More down-climbing

More down-climbing

After this downclimb, the rest of the way to McArthur was a slog, on rubbles and boulders. There’s little to describe here, as it’s mainly about perseverance. Just keep your mind here, the summit view of McArthur is the best among all 6 peaks in this area. I feel very sorry for those of you losing views from this lofty summit.


Interesting cornice. I had to start eating snow at this point…

Summit Panorama from Mt. McArthur. Click to view large size.

Summit Panorama from Mt. McArthur. Click to view large size.


Mount Mummery and Freshfield Icefields


Arete Peak blocks the view of Mount des Poilus


Mount Gordon


Mount Balfour, with Mount Hector poking behind


Mount Daly and Niles


The Presidents


Mount Carnarvon at center, with Mount Vaux behind


West Range


More of West Range


Yoho Glacier in the foreground, with Mount Thompson in the background


Looking down at Isolated Peak


Mike and Andrea talking about the mountains


A piece of cloud


Me on the summit

Because Mike and I still had Mt. Kerr in plan, we had to get down quick and it was already past 3 pm by the time we made the summit Mt. McArthur. I got pretty dehydrated by this point, but thankfully there was snow here and there. Climbing back up the crux wasn’t as difficult as down-climbing but still required lots of concentration. Plunging-step down the snow slope to Kiwetinok Pass was very fun and fast. During which we were treated with spectacular views of Kiwetinok Lake and The Presidents.

Mike ascending the crux just below the summit of Mt. Pollinger

Mike ascending the crux just below the summit of Mt. Pollinger

A closer look

A closer look

Mike finishing the crux

Mike finishing the crux


Looking back to Mount McArthur from summit of Pollinger


Looking down to Kiwetinok Lake, with Presidents behind


Now we could refill water


Some pink colours on the snow.


Kiwetinok Lake


Looking back towards the high col between Kiwetinok and Pollinger


Kiwetinok Lake


One more shot of Kiwetinok Lake

After taking a necessary break Mike and I started the slog up the last objective of this trip, Mount Kerr.

  1. Lael says:

    Fantastic pictures. Friends and I are going to do these climbs (Kiwetinok Peak, Pollinger and Mc Arthur) end of July. These pictures are the perfect thing to get us psyched and help us prepare.

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