Trip Logistics - Mount Fay & The Neil Colgan Hut

Day 1

 

We meet for introductions in Lake Louise, take care of any last minute logistical requirements, and review the waivers early in the morning. We then make the trip up to Moraine Lake to distribute the food for the trip and do a last minute repack before heading off for the trip. Our ascent to the Neil Colgan Hut climbs via the Perren Approach. 

We follow the summer trail around the shores of Moraine Lake to its source on the south end. From here we cross the wide and often fast flowing source waters to a small forest and onto a large open bowl sitting below the 3/3.5 Couloir and the Huge Walls of Mount Bowlen overhead. From here the route ascends a series of quartzite steps and gullies to a short pitch of easy rock climbing (5.0). At it's top we continue through a large basin to the base of the crux pitches, 3 pitches up to 5.6. The climbing is never too difficult and the position with the Fay Glacier spilling over the cliff next to you is unbeatable.

 

For those with less rock climbing experience, there is large chain attached to the crux pitch allowing an easier bypass to most of the climbing difficulties. Your guide may also be able to haul your pack for you through the crux pitch to help facilitate a quicker, more comfortable ascent.

 

Topping out on the rock pitches, we gain the toe of the Fay Glacier. Weaving in and out of crevasses, we easily follow this to the Neil Colgan Hut on the shoulder of Mount Little, our base for the next 2 days of climbing.

 

Day 2 

 

An alpine start gets us moving across the Fay Glacier to the lower slopes of Mount Fay itself, our objective for the day. The route you and your guide have decided upon, will dictate where you begin to ascend the peak. Whichever route you choose, you can expect a bergschrund crossing, alpine ice faces, exposed rock ridges, and a beautiful summit. We most commonly descend the West Ridge and from there continue back to the hut for appetizers and drinks on the deck of the Neil Colgan Hut.

 

Day 3

 

Our last day in the alpine. For those with energy remaining after the previous day's ascent we often shoot to start the day with an ascent of Mount Little, the peak on which the Neil Colgan Hut sits. A short ascent on snow, leads to a beautiful 4th class ridge and then onto the summit. We descend back to the hut, pack our gear and begin the descent back to Moraine Lake.

There is also an alternate option for descent. The Sheisser Ledges on the return trip to Moraine Lake, give you the option of seeing some new terrain on the trip down. The Perren Route however, is often a safer choice during inclement weather and offers faster descent back to the valley floor.

 

Big thanks, high fives and handshakes, and you're on to the next adventure!