August 10, 2013
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.