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Good information on traveling safely in the Canadian backcountry.

Ice Encyclopedia
Nice site providing route descriptions and photos for ice climbs in Alberta and BC.

Canmore Guide
Where to stay, eat, etc.

Rockies Climbing Cycle
Ice Season Progression--how to plan a trip to the Rockies.
The old Gravsports Ice Page--lots of info on past years, etc.

Mountain Conditions Reports, good resource from guides in the area.

Climbers' access group, worth supporting.

Local org that replaces sketchy old anchors and crappy bolts. Give them money.

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#10072 - 09/01/11 12:34 PM Mt Forbes
AdamB Offline

Registered: 11/27/08
Posts: 31
Loc: Fernie and Canmore
Just got back from Mt Forbes last weekend. (Summited the 27th) The face is in excellent shape as reported in the MCR's. We approached from the West up the Bush road and the Mons Glacier to the West of Forbes and Rosita Peak. I haven't done the approach from Sask Crossing before but this seemed to be shorter and easier from what friends have told me. Also no river crossings....

If anyone is interested in beta on getting from the Mons Glacier to Forbes let me know. It is critical to pick the correct gully or you get cliffed out as the Rosita ridgeline splits in two.

#10073 - 09/01/11 09:56 PM Re: Mt Forbes [Re: AdamB]
JB Paquoir Offline

Registered: 01/02/08
Posts: 97

Hey there AdamB,

We're heading into Forbes/Lyells in the next day or so. Any information you'd care to share would be greatly appreciated. Anything from finding the trail from the road, to finding the Mons Hut, to approach beta for the West Glacier and up over the notch to the upper reaches of the north side of Mt. Forbes.

Of course, anyone who wants to share information about any of the five Lyells (especially Lyells #4 & #5) would be welcomed too!

If anyone has any general information about the snow conditions in and around the Icefields (or even farther south or north) would be helpful as well...


#10074 - 09/02/11 08:45 AM Re: Mt Forbes [Re: AdamB]
Gerry Kent Offline

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 26
JB Paquoir,

There is information about the route to the Mons Hut on the Icefall Lodge website. I had to do a little digging on the website - I think the description of the route to the Mons Hut might be under the link to Private Courses and Instruction (Forbes climb) - but in any event, it is all there, including road directions.

The Mons Hut is about 50 meters above and 50 meters to the east of the headwaters of Mons Creek at the toe of the Mons Glacier. The route along the ledge and through the forest is well-flagged. When you emerge from the trees there are almost no cairns - I only saw two - but if you keep in mind that the hut is at the headwaters of the creek you crossed a short time before on a two-logged bridge, that should help. I ended up countouring around too far, but it was not a problem eventually finding the hut.

I agree that the choice of couloir at the end of the west Forbes glacier is critical. I'll try to upload a picture in a moment, but in case I am unsuccessful, please send me your email address and I'll send it to you that way. My email address is I could also put an 'x' at the start of the couloir if I send you a pdf of the picture by email.

As you approach the end of the west Forbes Glacier there is a wide couloir pretty much directly below the summit and a narrow couloir to the left of the summit - it is the long narrow couloir to the left of the summit that takes you up, over and down to the north Forbes glacier. It was a bit icy when I went up it, and it steepens to about 40 degrees, but it was not a problem.

You will see in the Mons Hut log book that a party crossed a 'notch' to the south Forbes glacier, traversed some ledges and then ascended a wide couloir to access the north Forbes glacier. I didn't check out that route, but I think the long narrow couloir at the west end of the Forbes glacier is more direct. The party that traversed to the south Forbes glacier reported that due to snow conditions, they belayed on the ledges during their descent.

The upper level traverse from the Mons Hut to the Lyell Hut, in good weather is spectacular - great views of the Lyells en route - takes about 6 to 8 hours.

To complete a traverse, you can then descend to the parking lot from the Lyell Hut via Icefall Lodge - takes about 7 hours.

Gerry Kent

#10075 - 09/02/11 05:48 PM Re: Mt Forbes [Re: JB Paquoir]
AdamB Offline

Registered: 11/27/08
Posts: 31
Loc: Fernie and Canmore
To get to the Mons hut the "proper" way you go a fair ways north along the rim of the canyon to bypass the cliff bands through easier slopes. It should fairly easy to tell where to go in daylight. Once above the major cliff band go back SW to reach the hut. I approached the hut straight on left of the waterfall and was able to break through the cliffbands on easy but loose ledges. This would probably save some time if you find an easy way though and don't mind some looseness.

On the glacier the route is pretty obvious to get to the East end. Stay high and you avoid most crevasse issues without loosing too much elevataion. Once you are closer to Forbes and where the ridge wraps around the couloir is on your left. It is the tall skinny one that goes up left of the tower. The middle was bare a week ago but was not an issue. (On the picture below, the left land is the Rosita/Forbes col and the right line leads to the bivi col and South West Col alternate route described later)

If you go up snow slopes right of this you end on a ridgeline isolated as the Rosita ridge splits in two in this area. Once at the top of the col you have a few options. Drop down onto the glacier below, or traverse steep snow above the schrund towards Forbes. My party opted to traverse but it was fairly steep (60?) and exposed above the schrund. If you try to stick to the ridgeline you get cliffed out above the South Glacier Col route. - See next paragraph

The alternate route is to head to the col to the right just before the Rosita couloir to GR 032448 at approx 10,000 ft. My party and a party before us bivied here at the col to make a short ascent day. From the bivi site if you scramble up the ridge to the North you get a pretty good picture of what the area looks like. There is a tarn about 50m south of the col on the ridgeline for water. From here you can traverse on the right (south) side of the peak between you and Forbes. Go towards Forbes on a rock ledge and countour around (2 cairns) to rach the snow slope on easy but loose ground.

Once you gain the SW Forbes glacier go up towards the Rosita/Forbes ridge and climb through the middle (lowest) col on slopes of about 35. The rest is straight forward.

There is still lots of snow in the area. I did the Lyelle traverse last year mid August and there is definately better coverage this year. Lyelle 1-3 are pretty easy. Lyelle 4 is a fun ridgeline. At the top of 4 there is some loose ridgework to do getting around some small towers. I think we went around most of them on the right. Lyelle 5 ridge is a really fun scramble. The descent towards the hut is on snow at first but you can avoid the majority of the snow on the rocks on the right, which is good after the sun has been heating up the slopes all day!

Hope this gets to you in time. Good luck!

#10077 - 09/04/11 06:17 PM Re: Jacket enroute to the Mons Hut [Re: AdamB]
Gerry Kent Offline

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 26
I brought down an Arcteryx men's jacket today, blue in colour, that I found by a creek (on the scree slope) during my hike up to Mon's Hut yesterday.

In one of the pockets was the type of pull-over toque that also protects the neck and one thin glove - maybe a rodent got the other.

Anyway, I'll dry everthing out - the stuff looks salvagable. Anyone know who might have left it there? Looks like it was left there recently.

You could email me at and I'll arrange to send it to the owner.

Gerry Kent


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