Mt. Edith Cavel - 3,363m (11,033ft)
Date climbed: August 20, 2016
Upper East Ridge
Author's notes: A great ascent via an aesthetic route with superb views. My car to summit time was 5hrs but I soloed the route. If roping up, expect to take closer to 7hrs.
If coming in from the south (i.e. icefields parkway), there is no sign to the Edith Cavel turn-off. Follow the sign to Marmot Basin. If you reach the park gate, you've gone too far. If coming in from Jasper, go through the park gate on highway 93, and take a right at the giant Edith Cavel sign. Follow the winding 14km road up to the parking lot, making a right turn where instructed to do so.
The approach is quite quick on this route which is a nice change from most other peaks in the Rockies. Follow a great trail to an eventual fork with a sign. Take the climbers trail towards the col straight ahead. Ascend the Col via a sometimes faint trail climbers far left. 60-90min
From the col, follow the ridge on great rock staying right of the gully. Once at a bench of sorts with a very exposed view down to the lake on your right, ascend leaning left, where you can cross the gully and gain a rib feature. Ascend this rib on good blocky rock until the lower ridge is behind you. You'll likely find a snowfield in the gully as you gain the rib - stick just left of the snowfield. A few cairns and rap slings help mark the way. The climbing never gets above 4th class.
Now that the upper ridge looms ahead, follow a faint trail across talus slopes to its base, making a few 4th class moves along the way.
A first, and somewhat surprising crux is met prior to getting on the ridge proper. Climb the crux in a small chimney for the first few moves where it's possible to traverse over right to the face on great rock. 30m.
Make your way over 3 steps before getting to an imposing crux. I felt that splitting up the crux in 4 distinct steps made it an easier solo to grasp. Climb the crux mostly on the left side where the rock offers the necessary foot and hand holds. It's great rock, and although steep, it's easily surmounted. A orange cord (aug 2016) at the top can be used to belay, or to rappel on your way down.
Continue up step after step after step to the summit ridge wherever easiest. The exposure here never getting too bad. Loose rock though, so take care not to knock anything down on anyone below.
Once you reach the summit ridge, cross it to the summit cairn (which in my opinion is actually lower that the first bump). Stay left of the snow as these cornices are big.
You have 2 options to come down. The west ridge which I hear is absolutely terrible, and reversing what you've just climbed on the East ridge. Due to the nature of the ridge, you'll likely take just as long coming down the East ridge as you took going up - so I hope you were quick going up. There are 2 rappel opportunities, on both cruxes. If you've brought a single 60m rope along, just know that you're downclimbing 10m of the bottom of the main crux. I'm not sure about the first crux as I just downclimbed that one. Rope might reach - let me know if it does :)
Depends on conditions. I climbed this solo wearing nothing but approach shoes. Didn't need an ice axe or crampons, but in different conditions these items may be required. A 60m rope and a very light rack if you decide to pitch it out. Some extra cord would be good too if you want to rappel more, and downclimb less.
Car to summit: 5hrs
Summit to car: 5hrs
*photos coming soon