Titkana Peak – Tatei Ridge – Snowbird Pass

Summit Elevation (m): 2804
Elevation Gain (m): 1200 (from Berg Lake Campground)
Trip Date: September 25 2013
Total Trip Distance (km): 25
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1/2 – you fall, you sprain your ego
Difficulty Notes: Pretty easy scrambling from Snowbird Pass, easy off trail hiking from Snowbird Meadows.
Technical Rating: OT4; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Gaia
MapGoogle Maps

In order to get to Titkana Peak (my objective for the day), I first had to hike to the Snowbird Meadows and perhaps Snowbird Pass. Considering the number of people that must do this hike each year, I was quite surprised to discover how few trip reports are out there on this relatively easy peak. 

Snowbird Pass / Titkana Peak Route Map

I think part of the problem for most folks is how far the hike to Snowbird Pass is (over 20km return) and as it turns out – how much bloody work it is! The views from the pass and the approach are so good already that I think most people are content to turn back at the pass rather than continue up Titkana.

The morning dawned clear but quite cold – probably in the -5 degree area. I didn’t have my watch but when it got light outside I forced myself out of the warm sleeping bag and into the crisp air outside. Robson looked spectacular over Berg Lake as I drank my morning coffee and got my gear together. I knew it would be a full day and after the long approach the day previous I also didn’t want to be pressured to move quickly but rather take my time – as much as it’s possible for me to do that anyway.

Looking back at my approach to the Snowbird Meadows at right with the Robson Glacier plunging down from Robson itself at center left. Rearguard at center right. Extinguisher Tower and Resplendent at left. Mumm and Anne-Alice at distant right.
Resplendent is hidden in clouds to the left, Extinguisher Tower is much lower than Titkana just left of center at bottom.

I’ll let my photos do most of the talking for the Snowbird Pass hike, but suffice it to say that it’s one of the most spectacular hikes / approaches I’ve ever done, and I’ve done more than a few over the years. The trail is obvious and signed where it needs to be. Don’t underestimate the length or difficulty – if you’re not used to 20 km+ days with frozen scree, loose rocks and 800 meters of elevation gain you will feel this one once it’s over. But don’t panic – even getting half way is well worth it, and the Snowbird Meadows are a wonderful place to spend a warm summer or fall afternoon.

After doing the Berg Lake approach the day before and hiking the 11km and 800 meters of elevation gain to Snowbird Pass, I now had to find the energy and will power to continue up Titkana Peak via Tatei Ridge. There is surprisingly little information on the web about Titkana but the route is very straightforward. Actually there are a few different routes. The easiest route is to by pass the false summit and ascent loose scree slopes right to the main summit directly from Snowbird Meadows before getting to the pass. The advantage with this route is less distance and easier scrambling (pretty much just a hike). The big disadvantage though, is the loose scree ascent and no good views of the Reef Icefield on the east side of the pass.

Great views over the Reef Icefield with Lynx on the far right as I ascend Titkana Ridge.
The views towards Robson are incredible as you get higher on the ridge to the summit. Resplendent is hidden in clouds to the left, Extinguisher Tower is much lower than Titkana just left of center at bottom.
Looking back over the false summit at Lynx Mountain with Robson at right.

I chose to ascend from Snowbird Pass and experienced amazing views in every direction and even some hands-on moderate scrambling with brief exposure. It was a bit depressing to lose height from the false summit but it wasn’t much. Views from the top of Titkana are worth the work – big time! Descending scree slopes to Snowbird Meadows is a no-brainer and was fast and fun on loose, small scree. With good weather and clear views this is a top “bang for your buck” peak.

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