Monday, 15 September 2014

Mount Abbott (2465m) & Mount Afton (2553m) Traverse – Glacier National Park, BC      August 9, 2014

This is listed as a "pleasant and popular training hike" in the Rogers Pass Alpine Guide by David P. Jones. That book is meant to be used by climbers though. To us scramblers it was a more difficult outing, but since it was on good rock it was indeed very pleasant. It was mostly 2nd class (easy scrambling) except for the ascent up the East Buttress of Mt Afton which was 4th class (difficult scrambling). 

I really liked the ascent except for the traverse back from the easier descent off Afton back to Abbott ridge. Mostly because it involved more elevation gain at the end of the day. I think if for whatever reason we were to do this again (which is unlikely due to my current list of other objectives, even though this was fun) we would descend back down the same way. Just to see if I could without being too afraid. We'd have to take a rope if we did that. Since we were not descending the 4th class terrain but rather the 2nd class we did not bother to bring a rope and harnesses. 

I really want to get back Rogers Pass or the Bugaboos every year for a solid rock trip. Perhaps one day we will actually get into easy rock climbs. Like about 5.4 and lower. According to the guide book the 5.1 route up the southwest ridge of Uto Peak is an "outstanding route" that is "highly recommended". Most likely before something like that, I would want to invest in a trad climbing course first to make sure we are safe.

The approach is on the Abbott Ridge trail, which has awesome views in itself above treeline, and is well worth the hike up. It is a well maintained trail.

Near the end of the Abbott Pass trail looking down at the Roger's Pass highway. The lake below is Marion Lake which you can see on the way up but didn't give any very good pictures.

After the trail ends we continue along the easy Abbott Ridge towards the traverse. To the left is Mount Abbott and to the right is Mount Afton. The 4th class section of this traverse is the left ridge of Mount Afton shown here: the East Buttress. The rest of the traverse is 2nd class.

Looking back along Abbott Ridge. On return we saw a few parties on this ridge & the hiking trail, for the rest of the traverse we only saw one other group up on the more technical terrain.

Looking down at the Asulkan Valley.

Mount Abbott on the left and Afton on the right from the end of Abbott ridge.

Starting up Mount Abbott. I do love the solid quartzite.

Looking over at the East Buttress of Afton.

The hardest part of the ascent of Abbott we had was this short section below the ridge crest before the really rubbly part. Still wasn't hard though.

The East Buttress of Mount Afton from the summit of Mount Abbott.

Summit of Mount Abbott looking north. Cheops to left of center and Roger's group to right of center.

Summit of Mount Abbott looking south.

Descending from Abbott to the Abbott-Afton col. There was one move we did here that didn't seem like class 2, but maybe we were off route.

Starting up the East Buttress of Mount Abbott, which continues the fun scrambling on blocky quartzite. As the guidebook states, you have to stay slightly climbers left (south) of the crest to find the easiest way up.

Quartzite. Still in love with the quartzite.

Looking back down the route from near the end of the steeper, lower section.

Looking for an easier way up. Again we went climbers left.

The angle lessens near the top and so does the difficulty.

Summit ridge.

On the summit of Mount Afton looking at Abbott Ridge below and the view northeast. After descending the northwest ridge we traversed the bowl below and ascended back up to the col between Abbott Ridge and Mount Abbott. Then we retraced our route along the ridge and back down the trail.

Sir Donald group.

On the summit of Mount Afton, looking east at Mount Sir Donald.

View to the south.

View of Mount Bonney to the southwest.

View to the northwest.

Starting down the descent of the northwest ridge.

Looking back up part of the descent.

Down most of Afton and looking across the bowl we have to traverse. We went more around to the right to try to save some elevation loss and regain. The Abbot Ridge-Mount Abbott col is straight ahead.

Looking back at the Abbott-Afton col on the traverse of the bowl.

Looking back across the traverse of the bowl after completing it, from the Abbott ridge-Mount Afton col.

Back to going along Abbott Ridge. 

Back on the Abbott Ridge trail on the way down, the Illecillewaet Glacier to the right of Mount Sir Donald.

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