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): 
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 Lyell II towards Lyell I]

[Ben scrambles up the ridge on Lyell I]

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

[On the summit ridge of Rudolph Peak. ++]


The views were, of course, excellent but the shadows were getting longer as we topped out on our 3rd 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! 


[Pano from the summit of Rudolph Peak looking down Arctomys Creek on the left and towards Lyell II and III and Farbus Mtn on the right. ++]

[Fantastic late afternoon views to the north towards the Columbia Icefield]


For the descent between Lyell I and II, we chose to take off the 'shoes and use our crampons. The slope was steep with two 'schrunds to go over / around and even an ice fall to pass through. Corbett mentions a route up Lyell II's east face direct to the summit that is now an overhanging serac with a pretty large 'schrund. Maybe in a VERY high snow year?! :) 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 ice field, 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 col from I/II towards the icefield]

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

[Still on crampons as we pass through the ice fall from the steep east face of Lyell II. ++]

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

[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. Considering our depproach 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 before consuming some serious calories and heading up to pass out on my bunk 'til 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.


[Our route line for the Lyells 1-3 from the Lyell Hut]


(Note: Distance and height gains are for Lyells I, II and III from the Lyell Hut.)


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