Rudolph Peak (Lyell I)


Trip Details
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Trip Date: 
Friday, June 26, 2015 to Monday, June 29, 2015
Summit Elevation (m): 
Summit Elevation (ft): 
Elevation Gain (m): 
Round Trip Time: 
Total Distance (km): 
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

Glacier travel in a very remote area of the Rockies. The bergschrund is opening between Lyell I and II making things more interesting.

Trip Report

Edward Peak was easy after the 'schrund on Ernest, but what would Rudolph be like? Well - it was smack in the middle of the previous two. We had no technical issues up it's south ridge, it was a moderate scramble at most. The only difference between it and the other Lyell peaks, is that Rudolph is a rock scramble rather than a snow climb. There was some exposure down the east face, but it was avoidable, if desired.


[Descending Edward Peak towards Rudolph Peak with Arctomys just visible at far right and Willerval right of center.]

[Incredible views on our descent to the Rudolph col, looking northeast towards Mount Saskatchewan over the Alexandra River valley. The Castlets and Terrace Mountain left of center.]

[This is why you don't want to summit the three highest Lyell peaks in a whiteout! Views to the north include (L to R), Farbus, Alexandra, Queen's, Oppy, Bryce, King Edward, Columbia, South and North Twin peaks, Kitchener, Snow Dome, Castleguard, Androlumbia, Andromeda, Athabasca, Terrace and others. ++]

[Farbus, Alexandra, Queens and Oppy all at left of center foreground with Tsar, Tusk, Clemenceau and Bryce at distance.]

[At the Rudolph / Edward col, looking up at the moderate scramble to Rudolph's summit along the rock on the right hand edge of the southwest face. Erasmus and Arctomys to the right of Rudolph.]

[Ben scrambles up the surprisingly rocky ridge.]

[There is some fantastic exposure off the east face of Lyell I if you stray close to the edge of the scramble route.]

[Looking back to the southwest at our easy descent of Edward Peak. Note our track right over a fairly large bergschrund! Christian Peak left of center.]

[It's not a difficult climb or anything to the summit of Rudolph, but the day was getting long for us after approaching the Lyell Hut from the Valenciennes FSR, then approaching and ascending both Ernest and Edward peaks and finally slogging up Rudolph!]

[On the summit ridge of Rudolph Peak - our third 11,000er of the day! ++]


The views from the lofty summit of Rudolph Peak were, of course, supremely excellent but the shadows were getting longer and longer as we finally topped out on our third 11,000er of the day. I was forecasting an 18 hour day by the time we got back to the hut and well over 3,000 meters of height gain on the day. A day filled with mind-blowing views and quite overwhelming to be honest.


[Panorama from the summit of Rudolph Peak looking west towards Christian, Edward, Ernest, Cockscomb, Whiterose, Farbus, Alexandra, Oppy and Queens (L to R). ++]

[Looking east (l), south (c) and west (r) over the Valley of Lakes with Monchy, Erasmus and Arctomys at left. Forbes and Mons Peak at center and Christian, Edward and Ernest at right. ++]

[Fantastic late afternoon views to the north towards the Columbia Icefield. Once again, I'm impressed by the lush greenery on the ridge separating the Alexandra River from the Castleguard River at center.]

[Looking west towards Erasmus, Sullivan and Arctomys with the Glacier Lake valley out of sight at right.]

[Fantastic views deep into the headwaters of the Alexandra River at lower center. Peaks include Alexandra, Oppy, Bryce, King Edward and of course, Mount Columbia (L to R). ++]


For the descent between Rudolph and Edward peaks, we chose to take off the snowshoes and use our crampons instead. The slope was steep with two bergschrunds cutting across it and even a small icefall to pass through. Corbett mentions a route up Edward Peak's east face direct to the summit, that is now an overhanging serac with a pretty large 'schrund splitting across it. Maybe in a very high snow year?! wink The warming climate is certainly having an effect on many of the snow / ice 11,000ers, especially in 2015 with an extremely dry and warm spring / early summer. Eventually the 'shoes came back on and the never ending plod began - back across the main Lyell Icefield, back up and over Christian Peak's south ridge and down and up to the hut before finally descending to a very welcome abode just as darkness settled in around us.


[Descending the first part of the Rudolph / Edward col towards the main Lyell Icefield below.]

[Time to transition from 'shoes to 'pons for a steep descent down the SE slope between Rudolph and Edward.]

[Passing through a small icefall beneath Edward's SE face. The rope is also back on for obvious reasons.]

[The descent was steep, on slurpee snow - this is looking up at Rudolph from the steep descent slopes which crossed over two 'schrunds.]

[Keeping the crampons on as we pass through the small icefall from the steep east face of Edward Peak. ++]

[Stunning views down Arctomys Creek towards Erasmus and Sullivan Peak with Arctomys at foreground right. We would enjoy even more stunning views back in this direction the next day from the summit of Arctomys.]

['Shoes are back on for the long trudge ahead.]

[Finally over the south shoulder of Christian, looking across the SW Lyell Glacier towards Arras, Tivoli, Rostrum, Icefall and Lens Peak (L to R). ++]

[Losing height over the south shoulder of Christian before gaining it all back again to the hut which is above Steven's head here on the rock outcrop.]

[Late evening lighting on Forbes and Mons Peak.]

[A sublime sunset just before we have to regain height to the Lyell Hut. ++]

[Sunset on Mount Forbes.]

[Descending back to the Lyell Hut for the second time this day. ++]

[Darkness sets in as we finish a LONG 18 hour day at the Lyell Hut.]


Our stats for day one were enough to make me tired just thinking of them. I think I set a new personal distance / height gain record for a single day trip, with over 26km distance and 3350m (~11,000) feet of height gain in 18 hours of almost continuous travel. 12km of distance and 2,000 vertical meters were with large and heavy alpine packs on the approach to the Lyell Hut. Considering our egress time of only 4 hours, technically you could approach the Lyells from the Valenciennes FSR with a day pack, climb three or four of them and go all the way back down in less than 24 hours if you're fit and motivated enough. You'd be rushing through some terrain that's better spent with some meditation though.


I had a feeling I might be sore the next day and popped a couple of stretches-in-a-bottle, AKA Vitamin I before consuming some serious calories and heading up to pass out on my bunk until the next morning. Our plans for day two was to scope out Walter Peak's west glacier and possibly ascend this hardest of the Lyell peaks before ascending Christian Peak - the fifth of the Lyells.

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