Observation Peak

Elevation (feet): 10,413
Elevation (meters): 3,174
Continent: North America
Country: Canada
Range/Region: Canadian Rockies
Province: Alberta
Latitude: 51.7333
Longitude: -116.467
Difficulty: Scramble
Year first climbed: 1895
First successful climber(s): Walter Wilcox, Bill Peyto
Nearest major airport: Calgary
Convenient Center: Lake Louise

Thanks to Craig Knelsen for adding this peak.

Park on the gravel road across from the Bow Summit pullout on the Icefields Parkway 40 km north of the Trans-Canada Hwy.  Hike down the road to the first big bend to the left, then cut into the forest to achieve an avalanche gully.  Stay to the right of this gully as it steepens and ascend through several non-problematic ridge like areas to the broad base of the false summit.  I had snow and an ice axe, therefore, zig zagged my up to the false summit.  Be wary of cornices on both sides of you as you approach this 3 ridge precipice.  Descend northward straddling the west side of the ridge towards the true summit.  Angle left to avoid the deeper snow and head for the rockier summit, not the broad summit to your right.  Again, this area is largely corniced. There are 2 cairns and one extends to the edge of solid ground with a large cornice extending further.  Watch your step.  The larger cairn, further west, contains the register.  Although my visibility was limited, I still was treated to fine views of the Peyto and Delta Glaciers and their respective mountains.  I made this summit in under 2.5 hours.  Consider this a fast ascent when calculating your own estimated time.  The col between the false summit and actual summit offers breathtaking views, but wind and blowing snow can make this area less than a desirable place to hang out.  Snowshoes could be helpful early or late season.

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 3 trip reports for Observation Peak.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #19410 - by Dow Williams on Sep 27, 2006
    Nice view of the Wapta Icefield from the summit. Decent back country ski to Sub-Observation Peak as well.
  • Log #18612 - by Stephen Skog on Apr 20, 2004
    1st ascent this season with bro Jim, and Rick and Matt from Edmondchuck (two scramblers we met on the way up).Ice axes buzzed, electri-charged, as swirling mists, blowing snow and a biting west wind...
  • Log #18611 - by Stephen Skog on Apr 19, 2004
    1st ascent this season with bro Jim, and Rick and Matt from Edmondchuck (two scramblers we had met on the way up). Ice axes buzzed, electri-charged, as swirling mists, blowing snow and a biting west...