Mt. Athabasca/ Silverhorn

Yee haw! My first 11’er, Mt. Athabasca. Might as well wait till July to get it done, eh? After the summit, a 1000m descent via the Silverhorn.

Out the door at 1:30am , hiking up the moraine at 4am. I searched long and hard for the fabled climbers lot and found something that looked close enough and went on my way. More on that later. So, we headed up for a bit till we hit some snow and kept on going as per usual. We got to the base of the Silverhorn in 4 hours and stopped for some lunch.

Andrew The Blur heading toward the Horn Of Speed
Summer is definitely winning, but winter landed a sweet uppercut here
Athabasca N. Face, at the base of the Silverhorn

We had intended to climb the Silverhorn but on the other side of the scrund Andrew wasn’t feeling it. So we went down a bit then up the climber’s route via a big ramp to get the summit.

Up between the two crevasses
Snowfield above the ramp
Me heading up the summit ridge- Photo: Andrew Bird

After tagging the summit and standing over the North face, I spotted a pretty exposed line with great looking pow that would avoid the upper exposed and steep part of Silverhorn before wrapping around onto it halfway down. To get to it however, there was a slope that rolled over to ~55* with crappy snow/ice and then a scrund below that would need to be hopped over. After seeing it from another angle we decided against it and skied the summit ridge down to a short climb to regain the Silverhorn. Once there, Andrew was feeling like the Silverhorn might be alright; it was nice skiing on consistent cauliflower texture snow before the roll into the main part of the face. By then we were pretty much committed, which I was just happy with. The ramp is a pretty off-fall-line ski, and wouldn’t be particularly memorable skiing. After going over the roll onto the main part of the Silverhorn, the snow turned to sometimes couliflower, sometimes icy, sometimes a pocket of fresh powder. After the horn was done, the rest was increasingly mushy fresh snow on the glacier.

The last few turns on Silverhorn

Then some walking to get back down to the car. About that climbers lot, it isn’t there anymore. Apparently they were about to call a tow truck to get my car towed to Jasper. I got really damn lucky. So yeah, don’t park up there or it could go badly.

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