Snow Dome

  • Snow Dome
  • 3464 m
  • Primary factor 214 m
  • Alberta, Canada.
  • Location: North 52.18767, West 117.31643 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2
  • Climbed May 17. 2019


How to get there:
Drive Hwy. 93 between Lake Louise and Jasper. To be precise, go a few kilometer (west) on Hwy. 1 from Lake Louise, then fork right onto Hwy. 93. This is called the Icefields Parkway. Drive more than 100 kilometer. Locate the Icefields information center (big building and parking lot) on your right. Make a left off the highway and drive down to a smaller parking located close to the end of the glacier that comes down the valley. This location is at N52.21252, W117.23291, elevation about 1930 meter.
Route description:
This climb is best on skis in the spring before the snow has melted too much off the glacier. However, the best route up the icefall is essentially the same in spring as well as in late summer.
Access the lower part of the glacier directly from the tourist path/road. The lower part of the glacier is pretty flat and largely without crevasses, at least they do not pose any problems. Looking ahead, the glacier has three steps. First, the lower icefall, very crevassed. Behind and hard to see from below, there is a flat zone where the ice is compressed, this area is also essentially crevasse free. Next comes a very rough second ice fall, however this has a somewhat smoother area on the left side when viewed from below. Finally, there is the upper part that has a large snow slope coming down the middle.
The best route therefore proceeds up the lower part, then turns the lower ice on its far right. In this area there are rocks and ice mixed, proceed carefully uphill quite close to the (steeper) slope coming down far right. Next, turn left and cross the flat area between the two broken up ice falls. Locate a smoother looking "minor ridge" that climbs on the left side, but not far left. This area may be more difficult in summer, but one should normally find a way. Once higher, almost to the level of the base of the central snow slope, cross over there following long sections of ice with crevasses on either side. There are several parallel routes that may work. You should now be back at a flat section in the middle of the glacier with a snow slope extending uphill.
In spring, this slope connects nicely with the higher part of the glacier. In the summer, one may need to shift right and continue on a second snow slope that extends higher up. There are crevasses in this area and also higher up where the glacier breaks from more gentle to a steeper slope. These crevasses are largely hidden and utmost care is required to cross higher and finally reach pretty stable snow.
Continue up gentle slopes to the col/base of Snow Dome. From here, ski (or walk) uphill to the summit.
See the trip report for Mount Columbia.