Ascent of Mount Odin on 2017-08-18

Climber: Rob Woodall

Date:Friday, August 18, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Odin
    Location:Canada-British Columbia
    Elevation:9747 ft / 2970 m

Ascent Trip Report

Tactics: the Tivy/Stolk approach allows 5-6 days. A hillrunner might do it in a long day (some of the Fastest Known Times are amazing). The focused peak bagger might go for 3 days, with a camp at Big Peter Lake as I did (15, 44, 15km - very long summit day), or to divide the days a little more equally, at Fawn Lake or perhaps better, the dry pond below Gates Lookout, or Lower Gates Pond (23, 26, 23km) (with need to improvise a bear cache/take a bear canister). Best plan might be Lower Gates Pond 2 nights with allowance for 3rd night on way out if needed. I reckoned my summit day should be 40km, about 1500m ascent (Day 1 was 27km/1700m/9hrs incl Fosthall) hence should be doable, (but was actually 41km, 2700m with a 3km shortcut which added 300m - and took 21hrs15 !)

I used a different gully to descend to Gates Ledge, 160m N of the one described by Tivy/Stolk. Theirs sounds a little easier but may be similar.
I didn't use the glacier, as it had extensive lying snow (mid Aug) and I was solo. Instead I used the SE ridge direct from Odin Saddle: this has a 20m pitch of YDS3 scrambling on good rock, exposed; also 1 or 2 other bits of YDS3 and some exposed but easy arete.

For Day 1/ approach hike, see Mt Fosthall TR, as I did that peak on the first afternoon.

Day 2: away at 0525. Good trail to turn off L for Fawn Lake, which is pretty well marked with tape and, higher up, cairns. Crossing Moon Pass and Valley I make an ascending traverse ENE, a few crags to avoid, then descend to find Gates Lookout (names as per Robin Tivy report on However I find a different gully 160m N of the expected one, which looks like it should go - indeed it does; pretty steep in places with some tree assisted scrambling, but nothing particularly alarming, although from the descriptions, the "official" gully sounds a little easier.

I make a level traverse L (N) to join Parallel Creek, passing the dry lake, descending past an austere snowy moraine lake and the tiny Gates Ponds (here or at the dry lake above, should make a good Base Camp location for a 3 day bid- just before the start of the bushwhacking). From here I descended to Woodbound Lake and via a ridge a moderate bushwhack to Rockslide Pond.

The ascent to Silvertip Lake is a little brushy and pretty steep. Staying below the main cliffs, a large boulderfield comes into view on R. At this point a route of grass and easy slabs is evident directly above (ignore a steep brushy gully - doable but more awkward). This crosses a saddle and I drop down the other side, pass N end of lake and make a tree assisted scramble up a slab.

From here, the route to Odin Saddle is a long arcing traverse across an open slope with lots of attractive grey stripy rock, making slabs, a number of scrambly scoops carrying meltwater, and higher up, a large boulder field punctuated by a few patches of soft snow, leading via a short scree slope to Odin Saddle at the edge of the glacier. The glacier route used by Tivy/Stolk evidently reaches the E ridge leading to the False summit, all easy angled but with a lot of snow cover with no visibility of crevasses - not a place for me to go solo. I decide to investigate the SE ridge ie directly from the saddle. If it doesn't go, it's turnaround time (sensibly it was a hour ago - I'll be finishing in the dark). I soon reach a steep slabby face: fortunately the rock is good and I'm happy to scramble it, with no hard moves to reverse. This gets me to a saddle on an arete. The ridge continues with a few scrambly sections, making YDS3 once or twice more; sometimes climbing close to the edge of the snow. The False summit is reached, with its small aerial; then the Tivy route is joined for the final ridge ascent to summit cairn. I'm up in 9h45 from Big Peter camp, 1510, 6hrs to dark! Impressive views of challenging nearby peaks looking only a little lower than this one.

Class 3 downclimb goes OK, the GPS track is precise enough for me to follow down. Below Silvertip Lake I decide to try a shortcut I spotted earlier, direct to the Gates Lookout: stable boulderfield leads easily down to cross creek some way downstream of Rockslide Pool; easy climb onto ridge; 180m descent steep but straightforward, minimal brush; OK crossing of Ledge Creek. Ascent starts brushy (mature slide alder not dense), work R into open flowery area (signs of recentish bear activity); above this I now see cliffs, the flaw in my route! To R I could try scrambling up beside Ledge waterfall, unclear if this would work. The cliffs ahead look to be broken, with trees all the way up: I reckon there will be a way. Indeed there is, although very steep in parts with vertical tree assisted scrambling. This route saves 3km and adds around 300m of climb: I feel it saved some time, but can't say I recommend it!

I head L along Parallel Creek and just make it to the foot of my ascent gully before I need the head torch: I follow my GPS trail upward, with more tree assisted scrambling. The descent to Moon Pass is fairly safe ground and I have my outward GPS trail to follow, but there are a few large slabby outcrops to avoid. After Fawn Lake my GPS track from this morning runs out: somehow the first part hadn't recorded. It's easy terrain but I end up too far east, wasting time before refinding the path back to Peter Lake. Down in 11h30, the darkness having added at least 2hrs to the duration. I retrieve my supper from the bear cache and am fed and abed by 2am. 21hrs15, my biggest day out in a decade, and a superb peak in the bag.

Day 3: After a good sleep I'm away just before 9, hiking down in a weary footsore 4hrs. I meet a group of youngsters heading for Mt Fosthall, one with a bear bell; a girl singing and yelling in fine bear scaring style. Then another group heading for Spectrum Lake.

After a couple of hours at the trailhead catching up on food and drink, I make the short drive to Gold Panner Campground for mid-trip laundry, shower, more food and to prepare for tomorrow's Pinnacles ascent.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3047 ft / 928 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Aid Climb
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3047 ft / 928 m
    Distance:44.7 mi / 72 km
    Start Trailhead:6700 ft / 2042 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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