Mountain Climbing in Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Jasper National Park, Alberta
By Caroline Shin
Explore the famed mountain peaks of Jasper National Park on foot… and by hand. With every mountain climbing grasp upwards, discover new centimeters of the Canadian Rockies and astonishing panoramic views of Jasper National Park.
Climb a huge section of the mountain range from the crest of the Continental Divide along the British Columbia-Alberta border on the west, to the edge of the prairies on the east.
Local mountain climbers distinguish between the higher, often glaciated alpine ranges along the Continental Divide, and the slightly lower, drier ranges to the east. The Icefields Parkway is a scenic highway that parallels the main Divide Range from Jasper in the north to Lake Louise in the south. Some of the most spectacular alpine peaks and glaciers on the continent are found along the highway.
Mountain Climbing in Jasper: When to Go
The rock climbing season can begin as early as May, when the cliffs at the lower elevations along the east side of Jasper National Park begin to dry off. A number of 8000′ peaks near Jasper townsite, in the Colin Range, can become available early in the summer. However, there still may be snow on approach trails and in some of the gullies in June.
The higher alpine peaks (9000’+) start coming to mountain climbing shape in late June and early July as the spring avalanches taper off. The period for difficult alpine climbs is very limited. North faces rock pitches are usually only dry for several weeks in August. Alpine ice climbing on steep ice faces and gullies lasts into September or early October. Avalanche hazards exist at any time of the year in alpine environments.
Popular Climbing Sites in Jasper National Park
This map provides helpful orientation in the vast expanse of Jasper National Park.
Moderate-Level Mountain Climbing in Jasper
- Mount Wilcox and Sunwapta Peak: both at the South end of the Park, scrambling peaks in the Park with non-maintained climber-worn trails to their summits.
- Hawk and Pyramid Mountains: near the Jasper townsite, scrambling peaks in the Park with non-maintained climber-worn trails to their summits.
Difficult-Level Mountain Climbing in Jasper
- Rock Gardens and Lost Boys: two sport climbing areas with numerous high quality routes of limestone and quartzite, respectively. Access trails are not maintained, and overhead and underfoot dangers exist along the way.
- Meisner Ridge: in the Colin Range near the Jasper townsite, provides challenging multipitch limestone rock climbs with spectacular views from their summits.
- Ashlar Ridge: to the East, provides challenging multipitch limestone rock climbs with spectacular views from their summits.
Varied-Level Mountain Climbing in Jasper
- The Columbia Icefields is a spectacular glaciated plateau, which boasts some of the highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies. The Normal Route on Mt. Athabasca (II) or the Grand Central Couloir on Mt. Kitchener are challenging to both the novice and the expert. The quality of the routes combined with roadside access make an excellent climbing trip in Jasper National Park.
- The North Face Mt. Edith Cavell and the Japanese Route on Mt. Alberta are two additional alpine climbs that are among of the 50 Classic Climbs in North America.