Mt Kitchener East Ridge, Columbia Icefields
We climbed the east ridge of Mt Kitchener June 23.
Most parties seem to approach this route from the south but we found the better way is from the north via the Kitchener north face approach. This way you can use the natural rock bridge over the Sunwapta River and not get your feet wet! And the walking is mostly in open forest and on heather, with the exception of the last half hour or so. We bivouacked at 2350 m in a heather meadow amongst the moraines.
Access to the ridge was on snow patches and a bit of moraine, which leads to a snow gully that gains the col between Kitchener and its sub-peak to the east (K2). The snow in this short gully was punchy with some postholing but conditions improved dramatically as soon as we reached the col.
Perfect firn conditions led up the glaciated ridge. The large transverse crevasses that cross the ridge were filled in but the bridges were sagging so we bypassed them easily on snow slopes to the left to gain the spine higher.
The crux notch was its usually spicy self. Guidebooks say 5.2 but I would grade both sides of the notch as having a few moves of 5.6. We added a piton to the anchor in the notch, it now has 2 pins and the slung block.
The upper slopes were easy travelling and we had perfect plunge stepping on descent on the ridge itself.
I've been on this route a few times now and feel it deserves more ascents, it is one of the great roadside ridges in the Rockies.