Vice President, The


Trip Details
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Trip Date: 
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Summit Elevation (m): 
Summit Elevation (ft): 
Elevation Gain (m): 
Total Distance (km): 
Difficulty Notes: 

Glacier route includes crevasse issues and steep snow slopes. Don't minimize these risks and learn how to manage them before attempting this trip.

Trip Report
The route up the VP looked pretty intimidating from the President but once we started up the snow slope it wasn't too bad. There was ice under the snow so that made things a bit interesting in places. The loose rock was hazardous like all the peaks in the Rockies seem to be - so that was certainly no different on this climb. After about 15 or 20 minutes we topped out on the summit ridge to a fantastic view and a much warmer temperature than we had on the President an hour earlier. The Emerald Glacier was glistening with a coat of snow and all around us were the amazing peaks and valleys of Yoho and Banff National Parks. We quickly made the summit and settled in for some sight-seeing and breakfast. We were a bit surprised to discover that the bump we thought was Michael Peak was actually an unnamed GR and Michael Peak is actually quite a bit lower than this nub. It's a fantastic nub but was not really worth the effort, especially when there was definitely thunder storms moving in quite rapidly from the southwest. Instead, we contented ourselves with the views and the warm sunshine before deciding that we should head down and beat the storms. We all agreed that the summit view from VP is at least as good as the one from the President, definitely worth going up if you're in the area and have clear skies.

[The lower slopes of the VP start off innocently enough...]

[Taking advantage of the snow to kick steps up the VP rather than use the horribly loose scree slope.]

[Gazing out over the col with the President on the left and Kiwetinok at center right.]

[Tom and his clients are visible on the summit snow slopes of the President]

[Awesome glacier view towards Michael Peak with the Lake Louise and Yoho giants in the background including Temple, Victoria, Hungabee, Cathedral, Stephen, Owen, The Goodsir Towers, and Vaux from L to R.]

[The President is obviously a wee bit higher than the VP.]

[Very similar views to the President, looking over Pollinger at Mummery and the Freshfields.]

[Looking over the Iceline Trail and Little Yoho Valley to Collie, Rhondda, Gordon and Balfour (L to R).]

[Group shot on VP]

[Ooops. Might be time to descend with darkening skies in the distance now.]

[The Balfour Glacier is very visible in its entirety from this angle - if you know where to look you can even see the crucial descent gully from near the Balfour High col which gives access to the upper mountain. Hector's familiar shape in the far distance.]

[Looking towards Daly and Niles with Hector in the distant center left.]

[Mount Vaux towers at center left with Carnarvon's lofty summit just visible on the far right.]

[Tom Wolfe and his clients ascend towards the summit slopes of the VP.]

We met Tom and his clients on our way down VP, thankfully right near the ridge so there was no rockfall hazard for either party. We agreed to leave our email addresses in the Stanley Mitchell hut so that we could email some of our pictures of eachother's groups back and forth and we agreed that it was amazing that these peaks were seeing so little activity on such a glorious day (but we were thankful for the solitude). The trip back down the glacier was pretty smooth. Raff and Keith both found "leg biters", or small, hidden crevasses that make one of your legs magically dissapear while your body tilts alarmingly in one direction. Keith was third on the rope and just stepped about 12 inches off Raff's downtrack when his right leg dissapeared. Raff thought to himself that he should be taking a different line but went ahead anyway and found his leg biter! Guess there's a good reason not to solo this simple glacier - there are still holes in it and some of them are still not that obvious!


[Raf descends a steep slope to the VP / P col]

[Back on the rope as Keith waits for Raf to tighten it down from the col and over the large 'schrund.]

[Descending over the schrund]

[Don't want to slip in there!]

[Back to easy glacier strolling, still a long ways to descend into the Little Yoho valley far below.]

[Looking back up our slushy tracks to the VP / P col]

[Still a gorgeous day despite the threatening sky out of sight to the left.]

[Almost off the glacier now - Isolated Peak in the bg looks like more than a tiny bump again!]

[Taking photographs of the incredible Yoho scenery which never fails to impress.]

[Looking back up at the Vice President and President from the lower moraines.]

[Moraines are less fun then they look - the concrete scree is tough to descend!]

We managed to get our tent and sleeping gear packed up just as the first drops of rain and peals of thunder started in the Yoho Valley. We made our way over to the hut and I left my email address for Tom in the hut register. On our way out of the hut we met Tom again! He was quite soaked and obviously happy to be down. He remarked how different the 'schrund was than last time he saw it and we chatted for a bit before parting ways again. We set a good pace back to the parking lot but that 10km trail seemed to never end! I still can not believe the stamina that Andrew Nugara and Kevin Barton had to have to do the whole hike in to bag Mounts Kerr, Kiwetinok, Pollinger and McArthur and then still hike all the way out to the parking lot again in the same day. I think it took them something like 17 hours total! I couldn't link to Andrew's trip report but that is a crazy day out. We had intermittant thunder storms all the way out of Little Yoho Valley so it's a good thing we didn't take the Iceline Trail out.

A highly recommended trip with some of the best scenery you'll ever have, that is pretty well suited to beginner alpine climbers as long as that 'schrund is closed.

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