Mount Columbia (Canada)

Coordinates: 52°08′50″N 117°26′30″W / 52.14722°N 117.44167°W / 52.14722; -117.44167
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Mount Columbia
Mount Columbia & King Edward in background
Highest point
Elevation3,747 m (12,293 ft)[1]
Prominence2,383 m (7,818 ft)[2]
Isolation157.6 km (97.9 mi)[3]
Coordinates52°08′50″N 117°26′30″W / 52.14722°N 117.44167°W / 52.14722; -117.44167[4]
Mount Columbia is located in Canada
Mount Columbia
Mount Columbia
Location in Canada on Alberta—British Columbia border
Mount Columbia is located in Alberta
Mount Columbia
Mount Columbia
Mount Columbia (Alberta)
Mount Columbia is located in British Columbia
Mount Columbia
Mount Columbia
Mount Columbia (British Columbia)
ProvincesAlberta and British Columbia
ParkJasper National Park
Parent rangeWinston Churchill Range
(Canadian Rockies)
Topo mapNTS 83C3 Columbia Icefield[4]
First ascent1902 by James Outram, guided by Christian Kaufmann[1] First winter ascent 1944 by Douglas Groff
Easiest routeGlacier climb

Mount Columbia is a mountain located in the Winston Churchill Range of the Rocky Mountains. It is the highest point in Alberta, Canada, and is second only to Mount Robson for height and topographical prominence in the Canadian Rockies. It is located on the border between Alberta and British Columbia on the northern edge of the Columbia Icefield. Its highest point, however, lies within Jasper National Park in Alberta.[5]

The mountain was named in 1898 by J. Norman Collie after the Columbia River.[1] The river itself was named after the American ship Columbia Rediviva captained by Robert Gray, who first ventured over a dangerous sandbar and explored the lower reaches of the river in 1792.[6] Mount Columbia was first ascended in 1902 by James Outram, guided by Christian Kaufmann. The first winter ascent of Columbia was completed on March 14, 1944, by about thirty men led by Major Douglas Groff[7] of Winnipeg, during the course of a three-day patrol on the Icefield, using snow holes as sleeping quarters.

Climbing routes[edit]

East Face

The normal route is on the east face, a non-technical glacier climb that is straightforward in summer, albeit with a long approach (approx. 19 km (12 mi)) up the Athabasca Glacier and over the Columbia Icefield. Camping by King's Trench can reduce the approach down to 8 km (5.0 mi). Other routes include the North Ridge, which is more technical (Grade V, YDS 5.7, W3) but considered more spectacular.[1]


Mount Columbia is composed of sedimentary rock laid down from the Precambrian to Jurassic periods. Formed in shallow seas, this sedimentary rock was pushed east and over the top of younger rock during the Laramide orogeny.[8]


Based on the Köppen climate classification, Mount Columbia is located in a subarctic climate with cold, snowy winters, and mild summers.[9] Temperatures can drop below -20 °C with wind chill factors below -30 °C.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Mount Columbia". Retrieved 2003-11-06.
  2. ^ "Mount Columbia". Retrieved 2007-01-17.
  3. ^ "Mount Columbia, Alberta/British Columbia". Retrieved 2024-05-02.
  4. ^ a b "Mount Columbia". BC Geographical Names. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  5. ^ "Mount Columbia". Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  6. ^ "Cape Disappointment State Park (WA)". National Park Service. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  7. ^ Gibson, Rex (1946). "Alpine Club of Canada Journal". American Alpine Club. Retrieved 2023-04-06.
  8. ^ Gadd, Ben (2008), Geology of the Rocky Mountains and Columbias
  9. ^ Peel, M. C.; Finlayson, B. L. & McMahon, T. A. (2007). "Updated world map of the Köppen−Geiger climate classification". Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 11: 1633–1644. ISSN 1027-5606.


External links[edit]