Mount Victoria
3464m (11365ft.)

Located on the continental divide between the upper Louise Valley and upper Cataract Brook; west buttress of Abbot Pass. on the border of Banff & Yoho parks, Alberta/BC border. Major headwaters Bow & Columbia rivers.
Latitude 51; 22; 30 Longitude 116; 18; 20, Topo map 82N/08

Panorama viewpoint: Chateau Lake Louise; Upper Bow Valley. Can be seen from Highways 1 and 93N

Named by J. Norman Collie and party in 1897. Victoria (The mountain was named to commemorate Queen Victoria.) Official name. Other names Green, Mount

First ascended in 1897 by J. Norman Collie, Charles E. Fay, A. Michael, guided by Peter Sarbach. Journal reference CAJ 38-79.

Photo: Looking southwest to Mount Victoria from near the Chateau Lake Louise
More photos

Other Information
Photo: Looking south-southeast to Mount Victoria (north peak) from the Trans-Canada Highway, near Wapta Lake

Mount Victoria is a long, very high ridge featuring two summits one km apart. Together with Mount Lefroy, it forms the backdrop to the view across the lake from the Chateau Lake Louise. The southern peak is the highest, rising from the so called "sickle" to its south. An extensive glacier lies on the steep, eastern slopes facing Lake Louise. During the summer avalanches often tumble into the narrow gorge below and into what is knows as, "The Deathtrap" below.

Both Lefroy and Victoria were first climbed in 1897 by parties which included the first alpine guide to climb in the Canadian Rockies, Peter Sarbach of St. Niklaus, Switzerland. In the case of Mount Victoria, however, Norman Collie led the climb.

Although there is some confusion regarding the placing of the name Mount Victoria on this peak, it seems that it was named in 1897 to honour Queen Victoria who reigned over the British Commonwealth and Empire for sixty-four years until her death in 1901**. The mountain had previously been known as Mount Green after Rev. William Spotswood Green, a member of the British Alpine Club who visited the Rockies and the Selkirks in 1888. Green''''s book "Among the Selkirk Glaciers," aroused much interest in the "Canadian Alps" and Green''''s visit is said to have marked the birth of mountaineering in Canada. The naming history of nearby Mount Lefroy is a complex one and involves Mount Victoria.

When Green visited Lake Louise in 1888, he was of the opinion that what is now known as Mount Victoria was named Mount Lefroy. In his book, "Among the Selkirk Glaciers," he wrote, "At the head of the lake the great precipice of Mount Lefroy stood up in noble grandeur, a glacier sweeping round its foot came right down to the head of the lake." The caption of an accompanying drawing leaves no doubt that Green was referring to what is now known as Mount Victoria.

**Boles et al in "Place Names of the Canadian Rockies" state that the name Mount Victoria was given to the mountain by J.J. McArthur in 1886 (This was McArthur''''s first year working in the Bow Valley); Karamitsanis in, "Place Names of Alberta" writes that it was named by James J. McArthur in 1897; and E.J. Hart in, "The Place of Bows" states that it was named by Norman Collie''''s first ascent party in 1897. 1897 seems to make sense for the date given the fact that the peak was known as Mount Green after 1888. Collie''''s party climbed the mountain in 1897. McArthur was not active in the area in 1897.

Although Mount Temple and Mount Lefroy are named and appear in their current positions on George Dawson''''s 1886 map he did not place a name at the location of today''''s Mount Victoria.

Please note that Victoria Peak is a prominent mountain located southwest of Pincher Creek in southern Alberta.

Climbing Routes
South Summit, South-East Ridge (Normal Route) II
A typical Rockies scramble on loose rock leads to a magnificent ridge. It is unarguably one of the best of the classic alpine ridge routes in the Rockies. Alpine short-roping was invented for this type of climb. The views of both Lake O''''Hara and Lake Louise areas are spectacular. In the early season the firm snow on your ascent may have turned to mush by the time you come back down. Take care. Dougherty, Selected Alpine Climbs page 96

South Summit, North-East Face III
(This was the FWA of the mountain). The route ascends the vast snow/icefield that covers the upper E face of the mountain as seen from Chateau Lake Louise (a few big holes on the approach glacier provide a route-finding challenge). The final face to the summit ridge offers about six ropelengths of good moderate snow/ice climbing. The route is not recommended in the early part of the summer since it is prone to avalanche. Best at the beginning of May or in August. Dougherty, Selected Alpine Climbs page 98

North Summit, North-East Ridge (Normal Route) II
The Normal Route to the N summit ia an interesting day out for the novice alpinist since it involves a bit of glacier travel, a short face and then a final ridge climb to the summit. However, he/she should be well versed in glacier travel since there are some big holes on the approach to the slope up to the col. The route serves as a possible descent from the N face climb. Dougherty, Selected Alpine Climbspage 98

North Summit, North Face III
The actual N face has little in the way of difficult climbing but the approach to the face through the glacier has become quite technical in recent years due to a lack of snow build-up. Be prepared for some interesting climbing getting around seracs and crevasses. A tricky, if not difficult, approach. Dougherty, Selected Alpine Climbs page 99

South-West Face II
This route offers "the best day out" on Victoria available. You can easily combine it with an ascent of Huber and a descent via the SE ridge of Victoria to make for a very full day. However, if you run out of daylight the Abbot Pass Hut offers a great bivi! This route can also be done in the other direction (see alternative descent for SE Ridge route). Dougherty, Selected Alpine Climbs page 99

Traverse of Victoria IV
A long day out in the mountains but worth every minute. Be prepared to deal with lots of loose rock on easy 5th class climbing. It is described for a north to south traverse, since this leaves you at the Abbot Pass Hut towards the end of the day, but it can be traversed in either direction. Dougherty, Selected Alpine Climbs page 100

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