Little Hector and Mount Andromache July 27, 2004

Little Hector height:                                     3,125 m (10,253 feet)
Mount Andromache height:                            2,996 m (9,829 feet)
Elevation gain to Little Hector:                      1,260 m
Elevation loss and gain to
Andromache:           700 m loss; 575 m gain
Ascent time to Little Hector:               
          2:40
Traverse time to
Andromache:                       2:40
Descent time from
Andromache (north ridge): 2:15

Solo scrambles.

This trip was definitely good for my presently fragile ego. After our string of failures last week (6 days – one summit), making two summits in one trip certainly helped relieve my “summit failure blues”! Granted, last week’s goals were significantly more difficult and ambitious than the simple rubble/scree slogs up Little Hector and Andromache, but still,  it’s quite amazing how getting to any summit (hard or easy) can give you a good adrenaline rush and sense of accomplishment.

As has been the case for much of this summer, the weather forecast what quite inaccurate, and I spent most of the day under heavy cloud cover, as opposed to the mainly sunny forecast I was expecting. Nevertheless, the cloud ceiling was high and throughout the trip I was granted some quite spectacular views of the surrounding area.

The only remotely challenging section to the summit of Little Hector was some interesting slab scrambling to the first ridge. After that, it was just a scree slog. From the summit, Little Hector’s big brother (Mount Hector) looked great and a potential route from the summit of Little Hector to Big Hector looked very inviting.

After a 30 minute break, I started down, with the hope that I would have the time and energy to make it to the top of Andromache. My descent route very nicely avoided downclimbing the slabs, as I took a right turn when down the first slope to try and avoid unnecessary elevation loss. When all was said and done, however, I pretty much ended up right at the bottom of the valley, so my attempted shortcuts were pretty much in vain. From the valley bottom, the ascent, up a scree/rubble gully to the Unnamed peak was tedious, but easy. Every two minutes I had to turn around to look at “The Hectors” – the view became increasingly more stunning.  

Another forty minutes and I topped out on Andromache – 2:40 from one summit to the other. Although, approximately 125 vertical metres lower than Little Hector, I much preferred the summit view from Andromache. Some prominent peaks included in the panorama were Temple, Lefroy, Victoria, The Goodsirs, Cathedral, Balfour, White Pyramid, Chephren, Observation Peak, Cirque Peak, Dolomite, and 11,000 + feet Mount Forbes, far in the distance to the northwest.

Initially, I intended to retrace my ascent as a return route, as opposed to completing the loop by descending the north ridge. There was a great deal of snow and ice abutting the north ridge (from the glacier below) and I wasn’t sure how long the optional route would take. The route to the north, however, looked quite interesting and after a some battle between my cautious side and adventurous side, it seems the latter won out and I started down the north ridge. The first part of the descent was in fact interesting – descending blocky terrain alongside the glacier. Later, it became more tedious, as I descended rubble slopes, followed by scree slopes. Some of the scree was surfable, but most of it was the ball-bearing type. Eventually, I made it out onto the road, 2 km north of the parking lot, where a quick 25 minute hike brought me back to the car. My roundtrip time (including breaks) was a fairly quick 8:25. Overall, a very enjoyable trip with some outstanding scenery. I definitely wouldn’t mind repeating this one on a perfectly clear day.

Mount Andromache (left) and Little Hector (right), as seen from the Icefields Parkway

 

The summit of Little Hector

 

Mount Andromache (left) and Unnamed (right), as seen from the ascent slopes of Little Hector

 

Looking at Mount Hector from the summit of Little Hector

 

A close-up of Hector's summit

 

The Louise Group; Mounts Lefroy and Victoria dominate; The Goodsirs are at the far right

 

Bow Lake and Mount Balfour above

 

A closer look at part of the Hector glacier

 

The two Hectors, as seen from the summit of Andromache

 

The glacier on the east side of Andromache

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