Mushroom Peak


Trip Details
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Trip Date: 
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Summit Elevation (m): 
Summit Elevation (ft): 
Elevation Gain (m): 
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

Our route involved crossing the Diadem Glacier but this can be avoided if ascending from the bivy site on climber's right. Steep, loose rock through the lower cliffs to access easy slopes to summit.

Trip Report

I have to admit that I was not feeling 'it' on Mushroom Peak. I was ready for some warm soup and a few hours lounging around our excellent bivy site, maybe even reading my e-book for a bit. But there were a few factors that made it sensible to attempt Mushroom while we were half way up it already;


  1. We were half way up it already.
  2. The lower glacier on Woolley was very crevassed and very slushy. Any snow bridges that held us in the morning were no longer guaranteed to be safe. Rock fall and serac fall were an issue on this route as well.
  3. We were half way up it already.
  4. Steven and Ben were ahead of me already - I had to follow them!
  5. We were half way up it already.
  6. It would make Sunday more pleasurable - we wouldn't have to re-ascend from our bivy before depproaching all the way to hwy 93.
  7. We were half way up it already.


Plus, we were half way up it already so we figured what the hell, might as well get it done and over with! Personally I hate climbing mountains when I'm just in it for the summit. I used to only climb that way but lately I've given much more thought to actually enjoying the journey as much as the destination. Nobody ever enjoyed the journey up Mushroom Peak unless they were on mushrooms - I guarantee you that! In that regard, it was a good thing that we just went for it after Woolley and Diadem. It wasn't going to be any better doing it the next day!


The glacier was fairly crevassed but we managed to find a safe route through it. From there it was a scree slog to the west ridge which was mostly still a scree slog, but at least it had some exposure and some great views down to the north side of Diadem. Apparently there's a route up the north face of Diadem - Humble Horse, IV 5.7 W4 | 1984 by Jim Elzinga and Jeff Marshall. 


[Traversing snow covered scree to the Diadem / Mushroom Glacier. Mushroom Peak towers over us now at left. ++]

[The glacier was pretty crevassed but we could avoid the dangers pretty easily.]

[We didn't rope up on the fairly benign glacier.]

[Believe it or not, we have over 500 vertical meters from here to the summit.]

[Ben contemplates ending the slog by leaping into a crevasse. He changed his mind shortly afterwards when he realized the rope was in his pack. ;)]

[Just like on Little Alberta, Woolley and Diadem, there was a ton of Trilobite fossils on Mushroom Peak.]

[The endless scree slope above the glacier was as much fun as it looks. NONE. :)]

[Looking off the west ridge of Mushroom at the north glacier of Diadem towards Mount GEC. ++]

[Ben is high on the summit block. You can see the mushroom that is the apex of Mushroom Peak above him on the left.]

[Great exposure off the west ridge, looking towards the Rockwall across hwy #93.]

[This shot makes the West Ridge look like way more fun than it actually is...]

[The infamous rock 'mushrooms' that are the namesake of Mushroom Peak.]

[Ben on the summit. Shadows getting long already and we have to descend unknown terrain to our bivy yet.]


The scree never seemed to end, and it was the kind that makes you take a giant step and then you lose half the step before you even complete it. It's hard to explain but anyone who's been on that crap will instantly know what I'm talking about. The summit was a mushroom-style peak, very unique! I found a lightening blasted summit register buried deep in the cairn. The register was blown in half and the booklet was burnt. I took the book down since there was nothing protecting it anymore. Most of the entries are unreadable thanks to the fire. The second entry is 1987 and I can read that Liam Harrap was on the summit in 2003 but that's about it... Not many entries due to the slog nature of the ascent and two esthetic peaks right next door. I'd be very surprised if anyone's ever done Mushroom along with Woolley and Diadem on the same day. I know for SURE nobody has done Little Alberta, followed by Woolley, Diadem and Mushroom on the next day! But that's because we're idiots, not because other's are missing any great opportunities! ;)


[Vern on the summit of Mushroom Peak.]

[Summit views west include Alberta, Woolley and Diadem. ++]

[Looking towards the Columbia Icefields, L to R, Athabasca, Andromeda and Kitchener.]

[Stutfield with North Twin and Twin's Tower on the right.]

[Looking west off the summit towards Sunwapta and Tangle Ridge (R) across hwy #93. ++]

[Lightening and summit registers don't mix well.]


With daylight fading way too fast, we didn't linger on the summit. After a very quick descent down the loose scree south face we had to find a way down the cliff bands to climber's right (east) of the main glacier. It was pretty risky to leave it 'til the last minute to find a route down this terrain but we ended up getting away with it. Eric Coulthard had given us a route photo that came in very handy to find a key traverse through and over a waterfall (literally through it!) to traverse out of the cliff bands. Do NOT under estimate this route, it's not very easy to spot. The only cairns were right in the waterfall / stream - there were no other signs of a trail anywhere we could see. Another key was Steven finding a way down another cliff band which involved stemming over another stream / waterfall - thankfully we could stay pretty dry there.


We walked into camp just as darkness settled in for the second night in a row. We were very satisfied with another full day in the glorious Rockies! I can't say I'd recommend Mushroom Peak for anyone other than hardcore peak baggers. It's not really a safer exit than the Woolley Glacier and the views aren't nearly as good as Little Alberta or of course Woolley and Diadem's views. One reason Mushroom makes sense is for parties who go in to do Woolley and Diadem and end up with no other peaks to do in the area. ;)


[Heading down past one of the rock 'shrooms'.]

[Shadows are lengthening and now we have to get down the cliff bands next to the glacier.]

[Traversing scree ledges between cliff bands on descent.]

[This is the terrain you have to get through - a key traverse is getting skier's left through a waterfall before you can walk off, down a steep scree cone.]

[Home free at last! Only a slog left to camp, no more technical terrain at this point.]

[Woolley and Diadem catch the last rays of sunlight as we make camp.]

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