Mt. Hector was our third and final 11,00r of 2017, on July 21st, Matt Perdeoux and myself drove from Canmore up the ice fields parkway on a small pull over where the climbers trail began. Once we grabbed our packs we began on the small grown in trail that lead up a valley through some steep rocky terrain, and than began to plateau to this amazing alpine meadow surrounded by huge mountains and steep cliffs on all sides. We were only about half way to our cam, and I was blown away by the scenery, we continued to trek up the meadow towards a small pass where we began a small scramble that lead us to a high alpine meadow with a small stream coming from snow pack, this was our camp for the night. It seemed almost to good to be true, so flat and soft, with a small moving water source right beside us, and amazing views of Hector lake and the surrounding valleys and high alpine meadows of Banff National Park. After setting up camp, matt and I grabbed the camera and hiked up to the toe of the glacier to scout crevasses and route for tomorrows ascent. From what we saw there were quite a few crevasses covering the entire glacier moving both latterly and horizontally with our route, we took some phots and head back to camp for sunset. We grabbed our beers and did another small hike to a nice look out spot to watch the amazing colours of the sunset on the surrounding glaciers and lakes. Another perfect day in the Canadian Rockies. After sunset, we got all our gear ready for the next day, and went to bed.
At 4am our alarm went off, and Matt and I both quickly rose like it was Christmas morning. Jumped in to our boots, tossed on our jackets and quickly began making way to the toe of the glacier. At 5:30 we were fully roped up and I began the charge up the glacier. We hugged the cliffs to our right, avoiding the massive depressions to our left, tha slowly moved latterly along the glacier until we got around a massive crevasse, then turned our bearings towards the summit. As we neared the bergschrund, the glacier got steeper and steeper, but we both kept a good pass up. Once reaching the bergschrund, I climbed up slowly looking for a nice snow bridge to cross on, all seemed pretty thin, but one seemed not to bad, but quite narrow. I cautiously approached it, probing to see how stable it was. I continued across than climbed a small vertical step of ice, then set up a small anchor to belay Matt up after. At this point, the sun began to rise and the colours of the sky turned red, as Matt climbed up the bergschrund, the wind began to pick up, temperatures dropped and the clouds blowing below him started to turn red, I quickly pulled out my camera and grabbed a couple short clips of him, than we continued up a short steep pitch to the bottom of the rock step. Once hitting the rock step, Matt took over leads and scrambled up the 5.5 scramble, using a single piton for pro, and continued scrambling to the summit. I couldn’t see Matt as he climbed over the horizon to the summit, but I could here him crying out with stoke. I immediately had a burst of energy and sent it to the summit, greeted by a celebratory/ stoke hug from Matt./ The view was amazing. From the summit we could see the town of Lake Louise, Mt. Temple and our pride and joy Mt. Victoria. looking down towards the other side, we could see the headlights of cars as they drove south on the ice fields parkway. The summit was very windy and cold, my toes were beginning to loose feeling and my fingers were like icicles. But at the time non of that mattered because I was so consumed in the beauty surrounding us. The clouds were rising around the summit as the sun rose, and looking around there were not many peaks higher than us. Matt signed the summit register, we took some photos, enjoyed the view and utter beauty, then began our descent down. The rock step was no problem, no need for a rappel, the bergschrund wasn’t to bad, getting a little slippery and less stable because of the rising temperatures of the day, but still manageable. But crossing the glacier back was by far the hardest part f the day. Our footsteps were gone, and we couldn’t make out what way we took. Because of the sunlight now showing off all the crevasses we walked by/on/over we did not know what route back would be the safest. Leading down the glacier, I took a step that broke right through a snow bridge and fell in just past my hips deep in a crevasse. Hearing the small pieces of ice hit the walls of the crevasse as they fell for what seemed like an endless amount of time, and my feet hopelessly dangling, I swung my ice axe and crawled myself out of the crevasse, while matt kept me nice and taught on the rope, aiding my rescue. Two more times Matt and I put legs through snow bridges on our decent. Once stepping off the glacier, it felt good to be on solid ground again. We un roped and hiked back to camp. Once at camp, we made coffee and breakfast, had a nap, then I felt like I still had energy left, So I went and scrambled little hector in the afternoon. From the summit of little hector, it was cool looking down at our route over the glacier, but scar to see all the depressions from crevasses that littered the entire route.
All and all, Mt. Hector was amazing, easy climbing but tough navigating the glacier, and amazing views from the summit. Maybe one year ill ski tour it!