MT OLIVE

Mt Olive is a classic ski mountaineering ascent on the Wapta Icefields which offers great views of Mt Balfour, Crowfoot, Baker, etc. This one involves some bootpacking to reach both peaks.

Distance

24.6/9.8 km

Elevation

1159/735 m

Time

7-9/4-6 hrs

Aspect

N

ROUTE DESCRIPTION

If starting from the Bow Lake, follow the standard winter route to the Bow Hut. From the Bow Hut, head west/northwest towards the toe of the glacier. The slope from the toe of the glacier up to the Wapta Icefields provides fairly decent skiing, but there are plenty of crevasses. Head up this slope and onto the Wapta Icefields. On the left will be Mt St Nicholas. Wrap around the north face of Mt St Nicholas until the St Nicholas-Olive Col is in sight. From here there are two options: 

(1) Via the North Ridge: Skin up the St Nicholas-Olive Col. It is fairly short and straightforward skin up. From here, it’s a bootpack/scramble along the north ridge. If you’re planning to reach the south peak and/or ski the west bowl, bring your skis. The bootpack/scramble is fairly straightforward, but there may be sections with exposure. Once at the north peak, you’ll see the south peak and the ridge leading there. If you’re going for this one as well, continue bootpacking along the ridge. The ridge can be risky so be sure of stability. There will be a band of rocks that will make the ridge traverse moderately difficult. Either pick your route over the rocks, or descend slightly to go below the rock band, then bootpack back up and towards the summit. Ski down the west bowl.

(2) Via the West Bowl: Continue past the Nicholas-Olive Col, towards the west bowl, gaining as much elevation as possible on skins until bootpacking is required. From here, bootpack along the ridge towards either summit. The north peak is easily attainable, however, as in option 1, the rock outcropping makes the south peak more difficult. Ski down your ascent line.

Note: This route involves glacier travel with crevasses. Glacier travel and crevasse rescue skills are a must. Roping up is recommended for all routes involving glacier travel. 

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