Wilcox Peak

August 10, 2013

2884m

Icefield Parkway (North), AB

Wilcox Peak is one of the very short, but yet, very scenic scrambles along the Icefield Parkway. Due to the proximity to Columbia Icefield, its summit guarantees fantastic views on a clear day. Wilcox Peak wasn’t on my plan until Andrea and I changed our primary objective from Cirrus Mountain to Mt. Chephren. The approach to Mt. Chephren’s bivy wasn’t nearly as long, so we decided to do a short objective first taking advantage of the good weather. Surprisingly none of us had done Wilcox Peak yet. There’s some confusion regarding its name. It’s mostly referred as “Mt. Wilcox” by scramblers mostly because Alan Kane includes “Mt. Wilcox” in his Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies, but I will keep its official name which is Wilcox Peak.

Wilcox Peak standard scramble route

Wilcox Peak standard scramble route

We started the ascent at almost 10 am which was very late by our standard, but I guess most tourists just woke up at this time so we didn’t get that many traffic. There’s a short-cut route starting at the Icefield Info-center but we decided to go for the scenic one which follows Wilcox Pass trail. We passed several groups of hikers in no time. This mountain is so short that by the time we got to Wilcox Peak’s base, I didn’t even feel being warmed-up yet…

Snowdome and Kitchener from the parking lot

Snowdome and Kitchener from the parking lot

Following the obvious Wilcox Pass trail

Following the obvious Wilcox Pass trail

Athabasca Glacier

Athabasca Glacier

Dome Glacier

Dome Glacier

Andrea hiking on open terrain towards our objective

Andrea hiking on open terrain towards our objective

Bighorn sheep

Bighorn sheep

Andrea and Mount Wilcox

Andrea and Wilcox Peak

We located a beaten path and followed it up staying climber’s right of ridge crest. At the scrambling section we also stayed on climber’s right. There were many cairns marking the route. Many routes would work and we just basically picked the least resistant one. It’s moderate scrambling with mile exposure, but I can see that hikers wouldn’t like this part. Shortly after a few false summits we arrived at the top. Surely one of the shortest ascents I’ve done. The view was not surprisingly, great towards all directions.

Little Snowdome. Is it a scramble?

Little Snowdome. Is it a scramble?

Higher up on Wilcox

Higher up on Wilcox

Panorama view down to Sunwapta River Valley

Panorama view down to Sunwapta River Valley

Scrambling starts

Scrambling starts

Near the summit

Near the summit

Summit Panorama. Click to view large size.

Summit Panorama. Click to view large size.

Nigel Peak, another "Kane scramble"

Nigel Peak, another “Kane scramble”

I had good memories from Athabasca's ascent last month.

I had good memories from Athabasca’s ascent last month.

Andromeda is high on my "list"

Andromeda is high on my “list”

My trip to Bryce got cancelled a week ago, due to weather

My trip to Bryce got cancelled a week ago, due to weather

Kitchener.

Kitchener.

North Twin and Twins Tower. Next spring??

North Twin and Twins Tower. Next spring??

Woolley and Diadem, also high on the "list"

Woolley and Diadem, also high on the “list”

Sunwapta Peak rises behind Tangle Ridge - both are easy scramables

Sunwapta Peak rises behind Tangle Ridge – both are easy scramables

Sunwapta River Valley

Sunwapta River Valley

Zooming-in looking downwards

Zooming-in looking downwards

Panorama shot of Wilcox Pass area

Panorama shot of Wilcox Pass area

We’d like to stay on the summit for longer, but this wasn’t our primary objective. We’d like to get to Mt. Chephren’s bivy spot before the thunderstorms come so we had to hurry up and we descended quickly.

Nigel Peak

Nigel Peak

Athabasca and Andromeda

Athabasca and Andromeda

Panorama of Wilcox Pass again

Panorama of Wilcox Pass again

Looking north from Wilcox Pass

Looking north from Wilcox Pass

One last look at Mount Wilcox

One last look at Wilcox Peak

The rest of the return down the scenic Wilcox Pass trail was uneventful and overall this was a great short scramble. The view-to-effort ratio is high and I’d for sure recommend it to anybody comfortable on “moderate” terrain.

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