Snow Dome

April 19, 2015

3451m

Columbia Icefield, AB/BC

Among the 54 famous 11,000ers in the Canadian Rockies, Snow Dome isn’t a sexy peak, but a truly geologically significant one. It’s the hydrological apex of the North America continent. The glaciers from its top flow into Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Oceans via N. Saskatchewan River, Athabasca River and Columbia River, respectively. In climbing perspective, its steep East side offers arguably the hardest ice climbing route in the Canadian Rockies – the Slipstream. But for ski mountaineers, it’s simply a “walk-up” from Columbia Icefield. From either the southwest or northwest aspect you barely need to use the heal-lifts, and the summit is rounded/flat enough that you probably need to walk around for a good amount of time to fully soak in the views. It’s not a peak to take lightly though, and just like any other ascent on the Columbia, the challenges come from both weather and crevasses.

This peak is often served as a back-up plan in case the bigger objectives (Mt. Columbia, North Twin) do not work out for this or that reasons. I rarely hear people skiing up the icefields just to ascend Snow Dome.. For Ben and I, it served perfectly as a bonus objective after a successful ascent of Mt. Columbia. All of the approach and return is written in my Mt. Columbia’s trip report, and this one only focuses on the 3-hour detour to get Snow Dome.

Ascent route of Snow Dome and "Androlumbia"

Ascent route of Snow Dome and “Androlumbia”

Due to the presence of a highway of snowmobile tracks Ben and I ditched almost everything possible at its base. We’d only carry our poles, camera, jacket and a bit of food and water. I ended up not eating nor drinking anything so we could have left them behind too… The ascent was nothing fancy but quite a grind considering how foreshortening that view was… After what seemed like a long drag we slowly approached the true apex. It was quite windy up there so we didn’t bother to walk around for more views, but rather immediately focused on the descent.

Ben skiing towards the rounded Snow Dome, just about to drop gears

Ben skiing towards the rounded Snow Dome, just about to drop gears

Our first objective - the mighty Mt. Columbia

Our first objective – the mighty Mt. Columbia

Ben slogging up the endless snow and ice

Ben slogging up the endless snow and ice

More about the slog

More about the slog

The Twins look so close, but actually quite far away..

The Twins look so close, but actually quite far away..

In the distance we could see a sea of peaks in the Selkirks, also visible are our tracks

In the distance we could see a sea of peaks in the Selkirks, also visible are our tracks

Panorama view from the summit of my 20th 11,000er. Click to view large size.

Panorama view from the summit of my 20th 11,000er. Click to view large size.

The rounded bump in the distance is Mt. Kitchener. Apparently it's higher

The rounded bump in the distance is Mt. Kitchener. Apparently it’s higher

Poboktan Mountain in the front range

Poboktan Mountain in the front range

The classic shape of the front ranges

The classic shape of the front ranges

Rising behind the summit hump of "Androlumbia" is Mt. Saskatchewan

Rising behind the summit hump of “Androlumbia” is Mt. Saskatchewan

Mt. Forbes and the Lyells

Mt. Forbes and the Lyells

Athabasca and Andromeda - the classics

Athabasca and Andromeda – the classics

A zoomed-in view of South Twin

A zoomed-in view of South Twin

And, here's a zoomed-in view of North Twin

And, here’s a zoomed-in view of North Twin

Mt. King Edward

Mt. King Edward

Mt. Columbia

Mt. Columbia

Giants in the southern Selkirks in the background

Giants in the southern Selkirks in the background

Oh the immense icefield

Oh the immense icefield

The bulky Mt. Bryce

The bulky Mt. Bryce

Mt. Alexandra at center

Mt. Alexandra at center

Skiing back down the south slopes was fast and fun and in short time we made back to our backpacks. After a necessary break we soon started skiing back towards the top of the Ramp where we met Vern who just set up our new camp. Then we’d be off to ascend the last objective in this trip – Androlumbia.

Advertisements
Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s