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Topic "Mt. Joffre (1 of 7)" started by Ferenc Jacso on Jul-01-2008
Topic "Mt Joffre - ACC Calgary (1 of 3)" started by Kyle Oak on Jun-16-2003
Topic "Joffre, Mangin, Cordonnier, and Warrior (1 of 1)" started by Dave Stephens on Jun-30-2003
Topic "Joffre (1 of 6)" started by Ben Bwards on Aug-10-2007

Topic: Joffre (1 of 6)
Author: Ben Bwards
Date: Friday, August 10, 2007 10:47 AM

Mt Joffre

I spent 5 days over the long weekend camping in Aster lakes area with Ramblers. We decide to camp at North Over lakes thereby avoiding the hassle of obtaining a permit from parks. If you camp here it is a wind funnel and we were hammered the whole time. Mt Joffre was very dry the standard approach gully required placing a couple of ice screws on very dirty ice. From the top of the ice, we ascended the right hand gully, a moderate scrambling step. Then it was easy scree to the summit. We rappelled on decent down the dirty ice from a rock horn. The Face still had a considerable amount of snow on it, as did the middle sections of the glacier. The bergshrug was showing up high but another party had no problem climbing in and over it.

Hidden lake was very high and we where forced onto dead fall trail around the lake. The most exciting part of the weekend happen on return to camp from Mount Joffre. I returned to find our tent floating in the Northover Lake. After a quick cold swim to retrieve it (it was about 5 degrees out) I brought it ashore and luckily the sleeping bags survived relatively dry.

Northover was a trilling accent and probably had 1.5 meters of exposed 5.6 on firm rock. On decent we rappelled off a single bolt down the loose north ridge but it could have been down climbed.


Topic: Joffre (2 of 6)
Author: Ferenc Jacso
Date: Friday, August 10, 2007 10:58 AM

Nice job, Ben. You were a bit unfortunate with the weather I guess. Did you see any crevasses on Mangin?

Northover is indeed a thrilling mountain. When I got to the crux last year I stopped and couldn't believe this is the route. Fortunately, it wasn't as difficult as it looked. I also loved Northover Glacier all around it made views quite wild.

Have you climbed any other peaks in the area? They also look so cool!

Topic: Joffre (3 of 6)
Author: Ed Herbert
Date: Friday, August 10, 2007 05:06 PM

Hi Ben,
Congrats on your successful ascents. I was in that party of 2 on Joffre that went up the face that ran into you as we descended the ridge. I was wondering if any of you guys had taken any digital photos of us climbing up the face. If you have I was hoping you could email a few my way. I also found my tent blown halfway up a tree upon return to Aster!

Topic: Joffre (4 of 6)
Author: Jason Wilcox
Date: Sunday, August 12, 2007 10:22 PM

Hey Ben,
Nice work on Joffre. What's the round-trip time like from Hidden Lake? Must add some time to the trip as opposed to Aster Lake? Just wondering how long it is cause I've often wondered about Joffre as a daytrip...

Jason Wilcox

Topic: Joffre (5 of 6)
Author: Frank Nelson
Date: Sunday, August 12, 2007 11:04 PM

Hey Jay,
Joffre in a day from the parking lot would probably be a 14-16hr day with light packs. I just checked my records and I took 13hrs from Aster Lake to summit and return to the car. That's with heavy packs and generally moving slower than normal.

Topic: Joffre (6 of 6)
Author: Bill Kerr
Date: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 08:47 PM

Joffre is a long way in there. When we did it we met several guys at the toe of the glacier as we were on our way down. We saw them top out from Aster lake. They made it down to the bivy site at the glacier toe in the dark. If Hidden lake was low and you left the parking lot at 3 am and you went light .... maybe?
But on skis in March - in the right conditions - it has been done as a daytrip.


Topic: Joffre, Mangin, Cordonnier, and Warrior (1 of 1)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Monday, June 30, 2003 12:48 PM

On Friday through Sunday, 27-29 June 2003, five of us (Blair Piggot, Dan Ronsky, Gervais Henry, Randy Colwell, and myself) took advantage of the nice weather and went after a few peaks above Aster Lake. For those who don’t want the details, we basically went up Joffre, Cordonnier, Warrior, and 90% of Mangin. Terrific conditions existed all weekend. Now for the details:

In our planning stages of this trip, we were only planning to do Joffre, but we wanted to camp higher than Aster Lake. We asked the Kananaskis Conservation Officer, but we were going to have to stay at Aster Lake like everyone else. So, we came up with a much more involved agenda by adding Mts. Mangin, Cordonnier and Warrior to the mix. We told the warden it would be silly to camp at Aster Lake and make repeated trips up to the toe of the Mangin Glacier. I'm not sure if it was our added objectives or our obsessive whining, but we got permission to camp at the toe of the Mangin Glacier. As the weekend came closer, the objectives started to look more reasonable. After all, we only came up with the agenda in order to camp higher up.

So, on Friday morning, Gervais and Randy left the Upper Kananaskis Lake parking lot around 0530 and started their trek into Aster Lake. About an hour behind them, Blair, Dan and myself departed. Shortly before Aster Lake, our group of five was together. A brief argument over which was the trail to Aster Lake took place, and Gervais and Randy went SW, while Dan, Blair and myself went S. Unfortunately, my sub-group went the wrong way. We headed up Foch Creek valley for about 2km, which is when I stopped the group and convinced them that we were in the wrong valley. Rather than backtrack to Aster Lake, we came up with the bright idea of going up and over the NW shoulder of Mt. Marlborough. So, up and over we went. Unfortunately, the west side of Mt. Marlborough brought us back to the same elevation as Aster Lake. Hindsight is always 20/20.

After crossing the valley on the west side of Mt. Marlborough, we ascended towards Mt. Cordonnier, where we found a great camping spot surrounded by slab rocks and running water. Our camp was at GR257026, on 82/J11 (8,500 ft). This was basically at the bottom of the north face (gully) of Cordonnier and due east of the Warrior/Cordonnier col. The slab rocks provided a great place to dry out gear and bask in the sun. The running water was a huge plus, and the snow made for a comfortable place to sleep.

Speaking of snow, there was no snow until we got above Aster Lake. Even at 8,500 ft, we were only postholing about 6-8 inches in the late afternoon.

We reached our camp location around 1230, set up camp, and had a nice lunch. We lounged around on the rocks for a few hours until Dan came up with the idea of going to bag Cordonnier. Dan, Blair and myself headed up Cordonnier’s north face, which leads directly to the summit ridge. The summit ridge was exposed in a couple of places and with the snow on the route, we had to make a couple of careful foot placements, but nothing too bad. There was no booklet in the register container, so we couldn’t sign our names. We enjoyed the views, scoped out Mangin and Joffre, then headed back down. The north-facing gully provided some great glissading for Dan and Blair. I unfortunately, left my shell pants in camp, so I was reduced to plunge stepping my way back to camp. 1:15 up and 0:30 minutes down. One down, three to go. We were now starting to believe in our schedule.

While Dan, Blair and I went up Cordonnier, Gervais decided to go up Warrior. Randy stayed in camp nursing a sore knee.

Once back at camp, we relaxed in the sun, ate a nice dinner, and went to bed by 2000. The next morning, we got up at 0300, had breakfast, drank coffee, and at 0430, we started hiking toward Joffre. Nice frozen snow provided the perfect terrain for crampons. With no postholing to be had, we quickly made our way up the western edge of the Mangin Glacier. We reached the Mangin/Joffre col and started up the north face of Joffre. No crevasses, ‘schrund, or other features could be seen on the glacier. Feeling very safe with the conditions, we all just solo’d up the North Face. Blair was the first to reach the summit by 0700, followed shortly by Dan, then myself at 0730. Gervais and Randy arrived at 0745. It was nice that everybody could just go their own pace.

As I arrived at the summit, the sun has been on the face for about two hours, and the snow was becoming soft. I was starting to posthole about 3 inches as I approached the summit. While on top, we soaked in incredible views, especially of the Royal Group. With no clouds in the sky, we were able to make out Temple, Assiniboine, Sir Douglas, and what really impressed me, was being able to see Crowsnest Mtn to the south. Blair thinks he could see Chief Mtn near Waterton, but I couldn’t figure out which peak he was talking about. Regardless, the visibility was fantastic.

While at the summit, we were thinking of glissading down the north face because of the nice run out. We could probably coast back to camp, but we all chickened out and walked down the NE ridge to the big gully the dumps you back onto the Mangin Glacier. We rappelled the top part of this gully, then plunge stepped the rest. Once back on the Mangin Glacier, Dan, Blair, and I decided to cut across to Mt. Mangin to give that a try. Gervais and Randy returned to camp for a nap.

The gully the Rick Collier ascended on the South Ridge was full of snow, and we had limited rock gear with us, so we decided to walk around to the NE face of Mangin. We went up the second gully from the south, which was very steep. We reached the top of the snow, and Blair accidentally poked through to the other side. As it turned out, it was a big cornice that stood up more vertically than out horizontally. Blair had a peak at the rock step, which would get us onto the summit, and he decided that we would not be able to climb that with the gear we had on us. Dan and I were about 30 ft below Blair at the last rock horn that we could see. We rappelled from there, down the first gully, and back onto the Mangin Glacier. About an hour later, we returned to camp by lunchtime. After a few more hours of lying around on the rocks, we decided to go bag Warrior Mtn. We left camp around 1600, hiked up the snow (postholing about 8 inches), and reached the col very quickly. From the col, up the South face of Warrior, there was no snow. We hiked up to the summit and soaked in more fantastic views. Some unpleasant scree bashing on the way back down, then a couple of nice glissades led us back to camp. 45 minutes up and 30 minutes down. While we went up Warrior, Gervais went up Cordonnier, and Randy stayed in camp.

As we continued to enjoy our campsite, we soaked up the last bit of sun, then decided to have dinner. Then Randy surprised us all by pulling out a nice bottle (yes, glass bottle) of Australian Shiraz (red wine). So, we each had a sip and went to bed around 2100.

The next morning we woke up around 0530, slowly packed up our things, ate breakfast, drank coffee, and started our hike out. Much to our surprise we found about six tents camping at Aster Lake, but nobody (that we could see) tried Joffre. We continued our slog out, and were back at the parking lot by 1130.

We ended the trip with a stop at the Boulton Creek Trading Post, where we each enjoyed a big burger and a couple of beers. It was a fantastic weekend with terrific weather.

I think that this past weekend was the optimal weekend for Joffre. Weekends after this one will have some crevasses showing. They were actually starting to show on Sunday as we headed out. Weekends prior to this one would have had too much snow on the approach. I noticed the ACC trip that went up Joffre two weeks ago, and they were postholing past their knees. What a difference two weeks can make.

On a side note, but sort of related, I came up with an interesting proposition for the Canadian Treasury Department (or whatever the equivilent is called). On my Friday morning drive through Kananaskis, we came across the standard moose and lots of dear. That got me thinking. I was thinking that they should replace the two polar bears found on the back of a Toonie with two male dears. Get it? Two bucks? Two Dollars? Ha Ha. And this was just the start of the trip. :-)

Dave Stephens

Topic: Mt Joffre - ACC Calgary (1 of 3)
Author: Kyle Oak
Date: Monday, June 16, 2003 12:52 AM

A group of eight people including myself ascended Mt Joffre this weekend. We left the Upper Kananaskis Lakes parking lot at around 10:30 AM on Saturday morning. After following the Upper K. Lakes trail for a little over an hour, we branched off to Hidden Lake, then over the talus slope.

Once above Fossil Falls the route to Aster Lake is knee deep in snow for most parts. Half of the time I could stay on top of the crusted snow, but the other half was drudgery. All told it took us about 5 hours to reach Aster Lake. Temperatures were pretty cold on Saturday with low cloud and apprehensiveness among the group. Most of us made supper and relaxed at the lake, while John decided he should make a two and a half hour round trip up Warrior Mtn (guidebook says at least 5). Hes a machine. Anyways by 8:30PM lights were out.

We made a nice Alpine start on Sunday, waking up at 3:00AM to clear skies and off on the trail by 4:20. The route up to the base of the Mangin Glacier is pretty straight forward. The whole upper valley was covered with huge snow patches which made it easier to ascend than scree. The Mangin glacier itself was covered with snow so cravasses were not a big issue. Just as we roped up to ascend the North Face, clouds replaced the blue sky and engulfed the entire face. Visibility was really low and with white snow, and grey clouds all around it was kind of confusing to the brain. The face itself is in excellent condition and the shrund is hidden under alot of snow.

After about ten minutes on the summit with no views, we descended the Northeast Ridge with little difficulty. The described gully we used for descent was pretty icey so we set up a rappel. My memory of the walk out is not so good because I think I was half sleeping for most of it. I reached the parking lot at 8:30PM making it a 16 hour day. A bit too much for my first climb of the season.

Trip Paticipants: Marc Santarre(Trip Leader), John, Sandy, Mike, Jason, John Paul, Phyllis and myself.

Kyle Oak

Topic: Mt Joffre - ACC Calgary (2 of 3)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Monday, June 16, 2003 07:24 AM

Good job Kyle. I was starting to wonder if you gave up climbing/scrambling. I keep checking your website, but no updates. I'm heading into Joffre at the end of the month. Hopefully, a lot of the snow will melt by then.

Dave Stephens

Topic: Mt Joffre - ACC Calgary (3 of 3)
Author: Kyle Oak
Date: Monday, June 16, 2003 04:42 PM

Once a climber, always a climber, Dave! I am actually planning on making a new website but keep on putting it off. You'll have to take lots of summit pics so I can see what the real view is like.

Kyle Oak

Topic: Mt. Joffre (1 of 7)
Author: Ferenc Jacso
Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 09:52 AM

Mt. Joffre

June 27, 2008, 8:26 p.m. I leave Upper Kananaskis Lake trailhead with an unusually heavy backpack, tent, Therm-A-Rest, sleeping bag, even a complete dish packed. The first 5 km around the lake is pleasant but the bushwhack around Hidden Lake is terrible. It's almost a jungle, with some fresh deadfall. I lose my camera and a section of my hiking pole. I go back for the camera, don't care for smaller casualties. Next time I rather swim.
10:30 p.m. It is getting dark and this approach trail is not a trail, really, just a route. I have to pull out my axe to cross two snowfields and hardly manage to cross a cascading waterfall.
June 28, 1:00 a.m. Enough is enough. Too much postholing and bushwhacking. No trace of the trail... that is route. I think I'm lost. I find a small almost flat area below a pine tree and set my alarm to 6:00. Why did I haul my tent all the way?
5:45 a.m. Too much sleeping already, time to watch the amazing orange sunrise.
8:10 a.m. I'm 4 hours behind schedule. The daylight didn't help too much in finding the route to Aster Lake though the good freeze overnight reduced postholing in open areas. Aster Lake is 80-90% frozen still, no sign of visitation. The scenery is astounding with snow and rock alternating in round shapes on the mountains.
9:50 a.m. After shortcutting a bit through the ridge of Mt. Marlborough and hiking along the moraine flats, I'm traversing up toward Mangin Glacier. It is hard to tell where the glacier begins but later I find out I started to climb snow way below. I climb on an east facing slope so the snow is already melting and does not hold that much after a while. Higher up I remove crampons to connect rock islands and then just walk on snow for long.
11:09 a.m. I just finished my meal and third litre of fluid. I'm at 2800 m according to my altimeter so I should be fine with another rest at 3100 m and then push for the summit. The snow is still OK and I need my crampons again. This N face looks so short... I always wondered why anyone would do that C shape route suggested in the guidebook but that is exactly what I do. I just don't feel enough power to climb straight up. The finish is on moderately steep snow probably in the 40-45 degree range. That's where I have to frontpoint.
12:00 p.m. My crampons start to ball. Weird, the snow is alpine variable but not melting at all. Maybe just my crampons are too warm. I certainly don't enjoy the extra weight and compromised performance.
12:41 p.m. Finally on the summit! I dropped my backpack a bit lower, I just had enough of it, and all of a sudden I'm here, much sooner than I expected. The face took forever and the final stretch of ridge that looks just as long on photos was only a short walk. The summit views reach to the endless horizon on this exceptional bluebird day but maybe a bit short of impressive - almost everything is below me... Banded and Glasgow to the east, never seen ranges far west in BC, tons of peaks way north of Assiniboine and who knows what south, I have been just once that far south.
2:30 p.m. After a world class and a so-so glissade I'm back at Aster Lake, roasted. I have been baked by two suns for many hours on the snow by now. My only wish is shade; I have got my fifth litre of water from glacier melt. Two tents are standing at the lake, impressive. Further down I see they came well prepared with axes. I wonder what they would climb tomorrow.
4:30 p.m. I finally find Foch Pond and pick up my overnight gear. A terrible bushwhack and posthole combination adventure begins. I must admit I did a lot better last night. The route just hides below snow, no sign of trail. Finally, I reach the impressive headwall of Fossil Falls and have to climb back up about 50 m to find the trail. At least I do better here at daylight than at night with the snowfields and waterfall crossing...
9:14 p.m. I'm back at my car totally wasted. Is this what I really wanted? Why anyone would ever leave home to exhaust himself to death in almost 25 hours? Two full days or same thing later in the season, maybe. Good thing that while doing Mt. Northover in August 2006, I realized I had no chance to do Joffre in a day...

Photos: http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/563954491ZvUvaN

Topic: Mt. Joffre (2 of 7)
Author: Kerry Vizbar
Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 11:51 AM

Now that's determination! What a fantastic day to be up there.

Topic: Mt. Joffre (3 of 7)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 05:10 PM

Wow - nice trip Ferenc! Obviously no concerns about holes on the glacier? The snow sounds like it was bomber too.

Vern Dewit

Topic: Mt. Joffre (4 of 7)
Author: Frank Nelson
Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 10:40 PM

Lol, yeah Joffre is a bit of a slog especially in those conditions. We had decent conditions on Athabasca Sat morning... would have done Andromeda but didn't want to tempt the soft snow later in the day.

Topic: Mt. Joffre (5 of 7)
Author: Ferenc Jacso
Date: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 02:50 PM

Thanks, Kerry, definitely a beautiful day in the mountains, it doesn't happen too often to me.

Vern, I wasn't too concerned about crevasses this time of the year and also based on other trip reports. The bigger issue is if something happens there is no-one to help. Not that I didn't try to find partners... BTW anyone up for easier glaciated 11ers (like Joffre) this summer I would be happy to be a rope partner, just send me an e-mail.

Frank, if I get it right... congrats to Athabasca! Saturday was a perfect day for these summits.

Topic: Mt. Joffre (6 of 7)
Author: Antri Zhu
Date: Thursday, July 03, 2008 07:51 PM

nice report and pictures. I am kind of shocked to see Aster Lake is still frozen.

Topic: Mt. Joffre (7 of 7)
Author: Keith Bott
Date: Thursday, July 03, 2008 11:19 PM

Sounds amazing Ferenc!

My plan is to take a 'snow and ice' weekend course very shortly... then I'll be looking for some rope partners as well :)