10 Rampart Routes
The Tonquin Valley is one of the most remote and quiet valleys in the Canadian Rockies. One of the mountain ranges is called the Ramparts and it has been the focus of many climbers’ summer trips over the past 50 years. The original hut in the area was built in 1930 after the Edmonton section of the Alpine Club of Canada ( acc) initiated the idea of a hut in that area. But after 17 years the foundation gave way. The second hut was on Outpost Lake. In 1946, Cyril G. Wates, who was on the first ascent of Mount Geikie, died and the hut was renamed Wates Memorial Hut. That hut had to soon be moved. During the building of the third hut in 1959, Rex Gibson, once president of the acc, died in a climbing accident. The new structure was finished and renamed Wates-Gibson Memorial Hut. The Ramparts and the mountains around the Wates-Gibson have some of the best quartzite climbing in the Rockies. Most of the routes are long technical alpine rock routes, but short cragstyle climbs have been established, though the details are hard to find. The most famous routes climb the north face of Mount Geikie, the highest peak in the range, but conditions are often wet and snowy. In the summer, the best approach is along the Astoria River trail from Mount Edith Cavell about 18 km away. The hut sits at about 1,900 metres and is closed from November to February 15 every year. The hut has a wood stove, propane oven, dishes, books, can sleep 26 upstairs on foam mattresses and drinking water comes from the creek. Contact the acc to book the hut this summer.— Bastion Peak East Face VI 5.7: A long glacier and rock route that finishes on an amazing rock buttress. Dungeon Peak East Face IV 5.7: A big rib route that follows solid rock with great exposure. Redoubt Peak East Face IV 5.7: A rising buttress above Amethyst Lakes that has some rock fall hazard. Mount Geikie Southeast Face IV 5.5: A 1,500-metre route up an obvious feature that is not climbed as often as it should be. Mount Geikie Lowe/Hannibal VI 5.11a: The most sought after route that has been climbed less than a dozen times. A solid 1,500-metre face. Oubliette Mountain East Ridge VI 5.7: The most climbed route in the Tonqin Valley and one of the best ridge climbs in Western Canada. Paragon Peak East Ridge II 5.3: The closest route to the hut and a nice route that gets you up high. Bennington Peak North Face IV 5.7: The glacier to reach this wall has many crevasses but the rock on the upper wall is some of the best in the area. Outpost Peak Southwest Peak II: A nice long mountaineering day up a glacier and long ridge. Mount Erebus North Ridge IV 5.6: A huge rising ridge with solid rock and a few steep moves on the lighter bands of rock.