On Saturday, July 22 2006 Wietse and I scrambled up Little Hector and Mount Andromache along the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park.
We started out under sunny and very warm conditions around 08:00 from the pullout along the highway. Following Kane's route description worked well and within 25 minutes we were already hiking onto the open slopes under the headwall in the approach gully. We quickly scrambled up the headwall to the climbers left of the waterfalls and after traversing over the stream we continued up on climbers right.
[After following the trail through the trees lower down, we are now crossing the waterfalls on climber's left.]
[Some scrambling through the headwall near the falls.]
Once in the open valley above the headwall we weren't exactly sure where to do next. We could stick to the left and gain Hector Pass higher up the valley or we could attempt going right, up to the ridge crest that towered above us on that side. We decided to keep things interesting and started angling up to the ridge. The angle steepened considerable near the top but we found a way to break through the cliffs to our left that we were traversing under and after that we gained the ridge and made it to the upper pass no problem.
[Looking back over the top of the headwall towards Bow Peak.]
[Andromache towers above us - it's our second peak of the day.]
[Be careful if you choose to angle climber's right too quickly as you will soon be free climbing rather than scrambling... We got lucky and found this chimney / crack to squeeze through up a small cliff band.]
Little Hector towered above us, at least 400 vertical meters more to go! We followed an obvious trail up from the pass and scrambled up to climbers right to gain the final ridge to the summit.
[400 vertical meters of scree to go!]
I already felt that I had enough scree by the time I topped out, 3 hours 20 minutes after leaving the car. Wietse soon joined me at the summit. We really wished we had brought our axes and crampons because Mount Hector looked so accessible from our vantage point! You would only be on the glacier for a short, steep bit just before Hector's summit - the rest would simply be a ridge walk from Little Hector.
[A heckuva view towards Mount Hector, which I skied in 2009 with TJ and Meghan. This view should help you choose a safe ski route up the peak in winter. Definitely don't wander to climber's left! Folks have died in that crevasse field. :(]
[What a view!! Looking over Hector Lake towards the mighty Mount Balfour - king of the Wapta, which I also climbed with TJ, in 2010. ++]
[Vern on the summit of Little Hector.]
[Gorgeous Molar Mountain with Cyclone in the bg on the right and Cataract Peak in the bg on the left.]
[Looking east towards Dip Slope Mountain across the Siffleur Wilderness and Molar Pass. Cataract just out of sight to the right. ++]
[The distinctive forms of Willingdon, Crown and South Tower rising far above Devon Mountain.]
[Another, wider shot of Mount Hector and its crevassed glacier.]
[A great view south towards Lake Louise includes (L to R), Lefroy, Hungabee, Victoria South and North and the Goodsir Towers.]
[Dramatic view to the Wapta Icefield and the highest peak on the Wapta - Mount Balfour.]
[Awesome views of Cathedral and Stephen. Even Vaux is just showing just right of center.]
After a 40 minute break, admiring views in all directions we began the descent to the pass and to Mount Andromache.