Rearguard Mountain

June 17, 2018


Mt. Robson Provincial Park, BC

In the “backside” of Mt. Robson towering above the tourists’ central Berg Lake sits Rearguard Mountain. This is a very aptly-named summit because it guards Mt. Robson from the far side. The standard route up its south slopes has nothing magic other than a 400-meter of scree slog but getting to the start of the route seems problematic. In particular scramblers’ fashion one needs two full days just to get to Rearguard Meadows at the base and in addition to that, two stretches of glacier crossings are required. The position of this peak is great, and in fact too good to give a miss that on a clear day the summit offers some of the finest view of the north face of Mt. Robson. I did it as a side-trip diverging from The Helmet’s ascent so all of the approach and return is written in The Helmet’s trip report.

Rearguard Mountain scramble route.

Ben and I camped on the eastern edge of Rearguard Meadows adjacent to Robson Glacier and from there it’s just over 1 km of cross country travel to the start of Rearguard’s south slopes. Ben decided to relax in camp because he has already been up Rearguard Mountain as part of his Resplendent’s ski trip back in April 2016. I did both Robson and Resplendent via Patterson’s Spur short-cut so previously never been to this area. Despite the 19-hour day we just had I was still keen. The cross-country section had a few stream crossings and the entire was was very scenic.

Our camp on the edge of Robson Glacier

Resplendent Mountain from our camp – bagged in August 2015

This is that lovely tarn we camped beside

Cross-country trek across Rearguard Meadows

There were a few lovely streams to cross. Lots of marmots nearby

The south slopes came in view, at last

And then there came that scree slog. For this purpose I opted to wear trail-runners while carrying nothing more than an energy bar and a jacket. The scree wasn’t too steep nor horribly loose and the trail-runners could actually gain some good purchase. And thank to the light loads I pretty much just ran up the thing and in short time I arrived at the summit. I continued along the extension of the north ridge and descended to a better viewpoint before returning back to the highest point. I spent at least half an hour if not more so soak in the views.

Oh the typical Rockies scree plod….

Whitehorn Mountain – bagged in August 2017

The Helmet – bagged in June 2018

This is just a sideways view from the scree. The slope wasn’t steep

Mt. Robson – bagged in July 2017

Summit Panorama from Rearguard Mountain. Click to view large size.

Looking down at the toe of Robson Glacier

This is the icefalls in the middle section of Robson Glacier

Lynx Mountain

The flats by Berg Lake. Not many people have seen it from above

A wider shot looking down the north face of Rearguard Mtn.

Mt. Anne-Alice. It’s apparently a good ski ascent.

Mt. Phillips barely sees any report but I know one person who’s done it.

Behind an unnamed ridge one can barely see Gendarme Mountain

Mumm Peak

Swoda Mountain in the remote northern Jasper National Park

Calumet Peak is another remote one in northern Jasper National Park

The Emperor Face of Mt. Robson….

This is the North Face of Mt. Robson. Pictures don’t justify its size…

Me on the summit of Rearguard Mountain

Eventually I figured it’s time to head down. Descending the scree was fast but the slope wasn’t quite steep enough to provide “skiing” type of enjoyment. For the most part I still had to descend step-by-step but that’s fine. I don’t remember how long this ascent took me but probably just over 2 hours. I could have done faster if I didn’t linger that long on the summit, but on a day this clear I just didn’t want to leave the top.

Another wider shot of Mt. Robson, The Helmet and Berg Glacier

Time to head down. Note the high clouds rolling in.

I found a cool viewpoint to look down at Berg Lake. Whitehorn/Phillips behind

Another shot of The Helmet and the North Face of Mt. Robson

Impressive icefalls on Berg Glacier

Done the scree slopes now. Looking at Resplendent Mountain and Robson Glacier

It would be really nice to not rush while hiking here but I didn’t have a choice

Back to the stream crossings.

One last picture of the streams. Highly recommend to do Rearguard Mtn.