Infinite Patience Mt. Robson (Emperor Face) 2200 Meters VI WI5 M5 5.9

F.A. Barry Blanchard, Eric Dumerac, Philippe Pellet, October 23-25 2002.


Either walk up to Berg Lake or take a helicopter. Gain the moraines just right of the mist glacier and ascend these and finally snow slope to the Bergschrund. The beginning of the route starts on a steep waterfall directly below the main gully system at the right hand side of the Emperor Face. Previous attempts have found a way to the right rock climbing up weaknesses then traversing back left. It seemed also possible to go up iced up corner systems just right of our start. Others have even ascended the mist glaciers seracs and traversed right!



Plan on 2-4 days on the face. We had 14 slings, TCU’s 2-3,Cams from .75 to 2, small set of wires, dozen pins and screws. Shovel, radio recommended.


1.             45M WI4+ Climb past schrund to a steep snow tongue, when this steepens, traverse left to the dagger and a stance. The “Tronc Start” is difficult, possible alternatives on rock to the 60-100 meters right, traverse back.

2-3.          75M WI 4/5  Climb 2 pitches of steep ice.

4.             50M WI4 M5 ice then break through rock bands to gain the prominent couloirs- Bubbas Couloirs.               

5-9.          300M climb up Bubbas Couloirs to where it widens to the right. Here under a roof one can dig out a platform on the Aurora bivy ledge.

10-13.                Continue 250 Meters of low angle neve/ice to where the gully splits.

14.           40 Meters Do not take the right hand couloirs, traverse left, “House Traverse” (thin pin traverse) to a stance and where upper weaknesses becomes apparent.

15-16.      120 Meters 5.7/M4 Continue up weaknesses to ice strips in gully feature.

17-19.      200 Meters of 4th class on ice and neve gains the base of a chimney.

20.           45M M4 Climb the nice mixed chimney. (Pack hauls well at midway stance).

21-25.      300M M5/4 Keeping to the easiest ground climb up several mixed pitches. Staying pretty much central, do not get sucked into the steeper gully to the right nor too far over left on the sky lined ridge. Ledgy stepped pitches lead to a small wall with a v notch just left of the right hand gully. Traversing slightly right will lead you to ice smears near the Emperor ridge. The ice smears lead to the Scottish Gully (first traversed into from ridge early 80’ S. Johnstone) and 30 meters below the chimney, on the right, notice a ledge on the ridge with a coral bivy site. Welcome to the Emperor’s Inn, rest well your next day will be a long one… or bail down the ridge tenderfoot.

26.           50 Meters WI3 Climb up the couloirs to the base of the chimney.

27.           35 Meters M5 Be smart and greedy! Somehow fool your partner into letting you lead this pitch of pure ecstasy up the “Love chimney”.

28.           30 Meters 5.9 Now on the ridge climb up a short wall.

29-31.      200 Meters 5.7 Climb up the ridge past several awkward rock steps.

32.           40 Meters 5.9 Come upon a steep section with a roof, climb up and left to bypass roof then back right.

33-35.      200 Meters 5.7 Climb out onto the West face then gain the ridge again past the first several gargoyles until under a green wall. 

36.           60 Meters 5.7 Ascend the wall. Here either boldly continue up the summit ridge weaving through the gargoyles. If the first gargoyles enlightened you then notice an ice ramp traversing the West bowl to the Wishbone Arête. Do not confuse with large ice-field lower down, nor with two narrower ramp systems above.

37-50.      800+ Meters WI 2 The Patience Traverse, follow it across to towards the Wishbone for nearly a kilometer keeping to the ramp.

51-53.      200 Meters WI 3 feels like WI 5! Near the Wishbone Arête notice crossing a significant right facing ice corner “Dumerac’s Delight”. This is what you’ve been waiting for, this feature will lead you to the summit.  Follow corner to a gully feature above that pierces through a roof. Follow this in two more pitches to the summit with the last pitch ascending “the Tube” a steep half pipe right between the summit gargoyles. Congratulations!



Descent: The best descent is down the South face to the Ralph Forster Hut. From there continue down conventional approach for hut. It is also possible to go down the Kain Route.