Tusk Mountain 3360 m
B.C. Rockies (click to enlarge)
Tusk Mountain seen from Southwest along Cummins Ridge showing route up.
Tusk Mountain is another major Rockies peak located in the remote Clemenceau Icefield area of the B.C. Rockies. Depending on which guidebook you believe (older or newer), it is either just under or just over 11,000 feet high. As the approach from any direction is a multi-day overland trip crossing much glacier, most ascents of this peak have been accomplished with helicopter access and a camp in the area. The ascent involves glacier travel and rock climbing (5.4) or scrambling, depending on your route and conditions. The Alpine Club of Canada built and maintains the comfy Grassi Hut nearby, where we stayed.
Alpenglow on the lower Tiger Glacier of Mount Clemenceau, as we ascend Tusk Glacier. Looks like a fine day ahead here.
Above Tusk Glacier is a 35-40 degree snow gully several hundred feet long, which becomes loose rubble near the top. This gully leads to the Tusk/Irvine col.
View of the ridge we ascended from the col to Tusk's summit. It's farther than it looks here.
Overwhelmingly spectacular Mount Shackleton dominates the eastern view from the col. This is the north face of the triple-summit peak, seldom seen; seldom climbed. Further east was Mount Columbia.
Looking up along the ridge to the top. My partners are in the lower right corner, scrambling along the edge of the rock. This ridge was not too difficult and we were able to climb it or adjacent snowslopes to the summit without the rope.
A thunderstorm arrived from the west as we topped out, zapping us repeatedly with small jolts of electricity. As a result, no time for pictures! Sim is just arriving here, with mighty Mount Shackleton behind. Hurriedly, we scurried back down the ridge hoping we wouldn't get hit by lightning. Our ascent time from Grassi Hut was 6.5 hours, 11 hours RT.
ACCESS: Parties have also reached Clemenceau Icefield from Golden B.C. via Sullivan River logging road which leads close to Tsar Mountain. From near Tsar, ascend north and go up over Apex Icefield east of Mount Somervell, descend to Clemenceau Glacier and continue around so as to camp on the glacier or a small meadow between Tusk and Clemenceau. A camp here would be significantly closer to both Clemenceau and Tusk than the hut is. Most of this entire approach travels over huge glaciers and, as you might expect, not many have done it. It is apparently a tough 2-3 day hike in over rugged terrain, which is why helicoptering (whether summer or winter) is the preferred way in.
Note: Our group flew in with Don McTighe and Alpine Helicopters based in Golden, B.C. Check the phonebook.
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