On our first day, you will Meet Your Guide Here in the village of Lake Louise at ~ 0600hrs where we'll start with a brief round of introductions and a pre-departure briefing which will include the following:
- Review of any expected changes to weather or climbing conditions.
- Expected Hazards, risk management plan, and associated mitigations for the duration of the trip.
- Distribution and repacking of meal program and trip food for participants
- Distribution of any required technical equipment you require
- Presentation of physical Waiver of Liability Document & Signing.
The Moraine Lake area is often one of the busiest trailheads in the Lake Louise area and Banff National Park through the summer months. So with that in mind, your Guide will travel with you (often leading in their own vehicle) from the Village centre to clear any traffic controls at the lower end of the Moraine Lake Road with you.
After arriving, there may be a short wait to acquire parking at the upper Moraine Lake Parking Lot. Once parked, we'll depart in way of travel along the western shore of Moraine Lake to begin our ascent.
Our ascent route most commonly follows what's know as the Perren Route approach to the Neil Colgan Hut. Check it out here on FATMAP.
Typically ascent times during periods of stable weather and ideal climbing conditions will be on average between 7-8 hours. During more inclement, or slower climbing conditions approach times to the Neil Colgan Hut can reach upwards of 11-12 hours.
After arriving at the Neil Colgan Hut, you'll have plenty of time to settle in, unpack and drink in the views while your Guide begins to prepare drinks, appetizers + soup as well as dinner for the team.
Expect some time in the evening to discuss the following day, the feasibility of specific ascent routes for your Mount Fay ascent, and time to pack and prepare for the following day's departure
Our second day will be our attempt for a summit of Mount Fay. Your Guide will be up at approximately 0400hrs, prepping coffee / tea and breakfast for the team. Typically the team will depart the hut between 0430hrs and 0500hrs. From the hut to the base of the peak typically requires about an hour.
Beginning the ascent, access to the upper mountain will require the team to cross the long bergschrund (crevasse), guarding the bottom of the peak and ascend upward to gain 1 of the ice faces held on the North Face. For teams climbing the West Ridge Route, the ice face ascended is roughly 90m in length and approximately 40˚ - 45˚. For the other route options on the North Face, these ice faces make up two thirds or more of the total ascent. Typically 300m of ice up to 90˚ can make up the route; Center Ice Bulge Direct & The Chouinard Route.
Typically under normal conditions, ascents via any of the routes available will put teams on the summit between 0900-1100hrs. Regardless of the route ascended, descent is almost always via the West Ridge Route, with a return to the Neil Colgan Hut by roughly mid afternoon.
On our last day of the trip, Guests will have a number of options open to them for the day. Immediately surrounding the hut are two additional peaks which can be ascended before departing for our descent to the valley floor.
- Mount Little - 3088m
- Mount Bowlen - 3072m
Despite their summit elevations landing above 3000m, both these peaks can be quick ascents from the Neil Colgan Hut, and great additions to a Mount Fay Summit. For Guests interested on an extra ascent (or two), our morning will start with breakfast around 0500hrs, aiming for departure around 0600hrs. Typically an ascent of Mount Little will take 1hr return from the hut, while Mount Bowlen will require the same.
Regardless of whether teams elect to add these two additional summits, we'll aim to leave the Neil Colgan to begin our descent back to Moraine Lake at approximately 0930hrs. The descent typically requires between 4-6 hours, via a series of rappels, down climbing, and 4th class scrambling.
Teams can expect to be wrapping up their program between 1200-1500hrs depending on the morning's activity.