Madhorse Mountain

August 21, 2017


Harrison Hut / Lillooet South FSR, BC

The unofficially named “Madhorse Mountain” is the apex of three or four different glaciers on the northern edge of Pemberton Icefield but itself is not very sharply looking, and in fact it’s just a mere bump on the icefield that draws very little mountaineering interest. If not because we had a couple hours to kill I personally would not bother with this ascent. There are quite a few ways to reach the summit and it seems like the most direct option is via the broad north glacier from Madhorse/Overseer col. We chose the rocky SW/W Ridge, for one reason to reduce the amount of glacier travel but most importantly we camped right at the start of that ridge. For Adam and myself this was the third objective of our Harrison Hut area grand slam, after checking off Frozen Boot and Zygo Peak earlier in the day.

Zygo, Madhorse and peaks around Overseer Mountain. GPX DL

The worst section of this SW Ridge was right at the start where we must deal with some steep and broken blocks of boulders with most of them being loose. Once the grade eased off the terrain transitioned back to wide granite ledges and we had no problem reaching the broad and flat west ridge.

Our camp on the edge of Madhorse Glacier

Gaining the lower SW Ridge now, looking back at the glacier

The typical scrambling along SW Ridge

Higher up the terrain transitions to wide granite ledges

The immense Pemberton Icefield

There’s one dip along the ridge but afterwards it’s just a simple walk to the summit. The true summit is a bit farther back than we were hoping for but in the evening hours the scenery was beyond breathe-taking. To fully soak in the views we stayed for about an hour on the summit waiting till after sunset.

The SW Ridge joins the broad west ridge high up.

Plodding the long west ridge towards the summit

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

Adam on the summit of Madhorse Mtn. soaking in the views

Longspur Peak on the left skyline The peak in foreground has no name

Mt. Tantalus way back in the distance behind another impressive unnamed peak

This is Zygo Peak – our previous objective

The glaciated Mt. Thiassi looking north

Pemberton Icecap and the evening horizon

This is looking towards the dome-shaped Ipsoot Mountain

More peaks on the eastern horizon, at evening glow

Another panorama from the summit of Madhorse Mtn. at evening glow. Click to view large size.

Just another shot to show the immense icefield. This is just a small part…

Golden Calf Peak

Manatee Peak and Wahoo Tower and the evening skyline

Mt. Dalgleish and Lillooet Mountain on the skyline.

The descent back to camp was next to uneventful as we simply reversed our ascent route. Near the bottom I paid close attention on my GPS so that not to miss the exit point back onto the Madhorse Glacier. Camping on snow with a semi-leaking sleeping pad was pretty rough. I had to blow it up a couple times during the night as otherwise I was getting too cold. The next day we resumed our ascent of the primary objective – Overseer Mountain.