As part of our Mount Olive trip to the Wapta on February 11 2006, we thought we'd give St. Nicholas Peak a shot at the same time while we were all the way up there anyway.
[St. Nicholas Peak from an ascent of the headwall up the Wapta Icefield on our way to the Olive / St. Nicholas col.]
[St. Nicholas from the Olive col on our way up Olive in the morning. Obviously some exposure is involved to the main summit.]
As we made our way past St. Nick on the way up to the Olive / Nicholas col Jason and I grew more and more apprehensive about doing the Nicholas extension in the 25 minutes (to the summit) that Raff had been promising us - it looked like a very serious climb! As we stared at the peak from Olive about 2 hours later we were growing even more doubtful about making St. Nick this day.
[Descending the north ridge of Mount Olive, St. Nicholas looks pretty small from this angle but still a bit intimidating too...]
After ascending both peaks of Mount Olive, we arrived back at the col with tired legs but charged up to try Nicholas. After some deliberation we decided that we wouldn't even take the rope and left our packs at the col. We decided that we would go along the ridge until the going got dangerous or we felt unsafe.
Once on the ridge the climbing was exhilarating and fun. With crampons and ice axe we never did feel unsafe and were soon scrambling up the crux - a very steep and exposed snow / ice gully that had some rock handholds on climbers left which helped provide some feeling of security.
[JW leads along the summit ridge of St. Nicholas - main summit is just ahead.]
[There's some exposure on the ridge - note our approach tracks far below.]
We topped out to another glorious summit view and after some quick pictures it was time to head down so we could be out to the bow lake parking lot by nightfall. It had taken us about 20-25 minutes from the col to the summit.
[Vern on the summit of St. Nicholas with the twin peaks of Mount Olive in the background.]
[JW celebrates the second summit of the day.]
The crux was very interesting on the way down but thankfully short. In no time we were back at the col and ready for a fantastic ski down the Wapta.
[JW carefully down climbs the crux from the summit of St. Nicholas.]
[Raf down climbs the crux.]
[Don't slip to your right here!]
[Raf is enjoying himself immensely on this gorgeous day.]
[The rest of the traverse back to the Olive col is pretty tame compared to the summit crux.]
[JW is outlined on the ridge back to the Olive col - the false summit is above.]
[A gorgeous view back along the summit ridge of St. Nicholas.]
[Arriving back at the Olive col, ready for the fast ski out.]