Albertawow

Mount Hector

  Ratings:    Ratings 4 Star
Level: Difficult Time/Dist: 12 to 14 hours /11K return Elevation Gain: 1584m

Trailhead: Park at a small pullout on the west side of the Icefields Parkway 21kms north of Lake Louise. Banff National Park.

Description: Mount Hector is not a hike, it's a mountaineering objective that requires experience in glacier travel, snow and ice alpine climbing. Cross the highway towards a creek bed then follow the the trail located on the right side of the creek until you reach the bottom of the headwall below Mount Andromache and Mount Hector. The headwall is considered a moderate to difficult scramble and what I thought the most difficult part of the climb. During the winter months avalanche hazard near the headwall is a major concern. Scramble your way up the left hand side of the headwall until you reach a well worn trail that heads towards the East valley in front of you. Once you enter the open meadows you can stay left towards the second headwall straight ahead or turn right towards a very steep scree slope leading up to the base of Mount Hector. I would recommend ascending the left route and descending the right route as it's much easier going down then up on loose scree. Once you hike past the second headwall start working your way right towards the toe of the Hector Glacier. There are several terraced ledges and open flat spots that provide excellent bivy sites if you choose to spend the night. Once you arrive at the toe of the glacier there is a large boulder that serves as a great spot to nourish and gear-up. Crampons, harness, snow/ice protection and ropes are certainly recommended for hectors north glacier as there is large holes and crevasses while some that remain snow covered year round.

We approached left of center towards the view of the summit, negotiating small to large crevasses until working right to avoid a steep ice shelf with broken neve and poor bridges. From the low angle neve work your way to the far end of the bowl right of the summit slope until the first bergschrund is in sight. We climbed Mount Hector in August so the bergschrund was quite exposed and easy to cross and posed little concern. From here you will find rock debris from the cliffs of hector above where you have two approach options. (This would not be a good place to hang around as rock fall is quite frequent) You can start immediately heading towards the summit via snow and ice slopes to 45 degrees or traverse left to lower angled ice. The lower angle being the more popular choice. Negotiate a second bergshrund and work your way to the rocky summit to the right (slightly higher than the left) of Mount hector. Depending on time of year, a small climb (2-3 moves of 5.4) is required to get off the glacier and onto hectors rocky ridge where steeper ice or snow generally awaits. The summit from here is less than a pitch but required some snow and ice protection for peace of mind. Early season conditions, (June, July) would probably require less crevasse navigation, less technical climbing and provide a more direct route to the summit. We found the slopes of Hector to be quite icy and offered good protection while the neve conditions were great for cramponing. Descend the route as climbed. It is a popular ski mountaineering objective in the winter months but even then winter glacier travel requires technical experience and knowledge of winter mountaineering. Photo's below were taken in early August.

Near Here: Local campgrounds include Mosquito Creek, Waterfowl Lake and Lake Louise. Trailheads to Bow Falls, Caldron Lake, Fish Lakes, Molar Pass, Glacier Lake, Helen Lake, Cirque Peak, Peyto Lake Hike, Bow Lake Lookout Hike, Chephren Cirque Lake Hikes, are all located near here. You are in bear country.

PointerArea Map PointerBanff National Park


Mount Hector Banff National Park
   
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  First Headwall
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Lake Hector First Headwall
   
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First Headwall Top  
   
 
   
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Lake Hector Second Headwall
   
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Mount Hector Valley Between Mount Hector And Mount Andromache
   
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Base Of Mount Hector Base of Mount Hector Just Below Glacier
   
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Bow Lake  
   
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Lake Hector Lake Hector
   
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Summit Mount Hector  
   
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Col Near Summit Mount Hector  
   
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  Summit  Mount Hector
   
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  Lake Hector
   
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