The Lyell Peaks 3514 m
Banff National Park (click for map)
Five Lyell Peaks and ascent routes
The Lyells (shown above) are 5 glaciated peaks all of which are over 3353m (11,000 ft). The highest, Edward Peak (#2), is 3514 metres.They sit far west of Icefields Parkway and south of Mounts Edith Cavell, Bryce, Columbia and Columbia Icefields in Banff National Park. Due to a long approach, the Lyells see only sporadic visits. Approaches are almost exclusively on foot via Glacier Lake hiking trail at Saskatchewan Crossing, Icefields Parkway. Since recent localized flooding and eroding of part of the approach trail, it apparently takes about an extra day to reach Lyell Glacier. Previously, it took 2 days in and parties usually spent at least two more days climbing these peaks. I was fortunate to climb here in 1985 with the Calgary Section of the Alpine Club of Canada. We used horses to pack climbing gear for the first day.
Click photos to enlarge
This is a spot perhaps 2000 ft above the valley floor on the approach called "Lyell Bivouac." Some parties have camped here to climb the Lyell Peaks but in reality, you're still much too far away from them here. It's a possible stop on the way in though. Mount Forbes, the triangular big snow face in the centre background is a good climb.
Our camp at the edge of the glacier with Peaks 1,2, 3 and part of 4 in the distance(left). The first three are usually done together as Peak 2 is easily traversed.
Left to right: Peaks 3, 2 and 1 as seen from near Peak 5. Seracs at the edge of picture are below Peak 5. We went up peak 3, traversed #2, went up #1, then walked back to camp, mostly in dark
On Peak Three, which easily reached from Peak 2. Lyell Peak 4 is probably the hardest of the group but still qualifies as moderate(as opposed to extreme) mountaineering. It can be reached from traversing to it from Peak 5, via its north end at the col between Peaks 3 and 4, or by climbing a steep ice slope from the glacier to the col between 4 and 5. A couple of pitons are helpful for the north ridge of 4. From the summit of #2, we could see far off to the west towards Mount King Edward and Tsar Peak and to the north, Mounts Columbia and Edith Cavell were visible..
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© photos copyright by the author 1999.