Photo Essay: An Ascent of Mt. Robson

As a photographer, I’ve had a dynamic relationship with Mt. Robson. For my first summit attempt of the 3,954-metre peak in 2013, I was invited by Mike Stuart from Canadian Alpine Guides to document his climb with one of his long-term clients. That attempt ended at the base of the Kain Face, which never hardened enough to allow for safe climbing.

A shot from August 2013, when Mike Stuart, Randy Colwell and I were turned around by warm temperatures. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

A shot from August 2013, when Mike Stuart, Randy Colwell and I were turned around by warm temperatures. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Then in 2014, I worked with BC Parks to capture aerial footage of The King. I wasn’t there to climb the mountain, but the helicopter brought us so close to the summit ridge that I thought my dangling feet might touch down for a moment. The shoot gave me a new perspective on the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, and it was one of the highlights of my career as a photographer.

Then, this year, the stars aligned for me to be back on Mt. Robson for another attempt at the summit. This time, I teamed up with BC Parks Ranger, Jesse Milner, who is an amazing and incredibly skilled mountaineering partner (that and it’s hard to find someone else more knowledgeable when it comes to Mt. Robson Provincial Park!).

Here are some images from our 2015 ascent of Mt. Robson, Resplendent and The Helmet.

All of these images are available as fine art prints

Mt. Robson and the Kain Face (snow route) rising in the centre towards the ridge line. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Mt. Robson and the Kain Face (snow route) rising in the centre towards the ridge line. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Sunset at Extinguisher Tower bivy. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

A memorable sunset at Extinguisher Tower bivy. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Sunrise as we headed up the Robson Glacier. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Sunrise as we headed up the Robson Glacier. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Jesse navigating the maze that is the Robson Glacier. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Jesse navigating the maze that is the Robson Glacier. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Jesse (red jacket in bottom right) looking back at Mt Resplendent. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Jesse (red jacket in bottom right) looking back at Mt. Resplendent. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Aurora on night #2, up on the Dome (3,000m). Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

We saw the aurora borealis every night, but here is a glimpse of the aurora on night #2, up on the Dome (3,000m). Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Our first night at the Dome was too warm to attempt Robson, so we went to check out the Helmet.

Our first night at the Dome was too warm to attempt Robson, so we went to check out the Helmet. This was below the massive north face of Robson at sunrise. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Below the massive north face of Robson at sunrise. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Magical sunrise as we gained the SE ridge of the Helmet. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

A magical sunrise as we gained the SE ridge of The Helmet. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Narrow SE ridge of the Helmet. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Narrow SE ridge of The Helmet. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

A spectacular finish on the Helmet. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

A spectacular finish on The Helmet. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

The following day we wake up to favourable (slightly colder) conditions, and the adventure really begins.

Jesse looking at the work ahead, around 3 AM when we started our Robson summit bid. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Jesse looking at the work ahead, around 3 AM when we started our Robson summit bid. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Incredible sunrise halfway up the Kain Face. Tent visible on the Dome. See my FB entry for a few words about Conrad Kain. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

An incredible sunrise halfway up the Kain Face. Our tent is visible on the Dome. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Eventually, halfway up the Kain Face, morning came and the sun started bathing the heights in an incredible pinkish glow. I faced away from the anchor and could not believe the vista. That black dot on the Dome in the centre of the picture is our tent.

Then my thoughts went to Conrad Kain, who cut 600 steps up that face on his way to make the first ascent of Mount Robson over 100 years ago. Then he and his clients came down the south face. Absolutely amazing.

Things getting steeper on the Roof. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Climbing getting steeper on the Roof. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

esse leading up strange ice features on the Roof. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Jesse leading up strange ice features on the Roof. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Second time was the charm (for Robson, those are pretty good odds)! Here we are reaching the summit on a perfect day.

A summit view down the N Face towards Berg Lake, the Helmet and the Robson Glacier. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

A summit view down the North Face towards Berg Lake, the Helmet and the Robson Glacier. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

At the summit of Mt. Robson. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

At the summit of Mt. Robson. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Downclimbing through gargoyles on the Roof. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Downclimbing through gargoyles on the Roof. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

One last look at our tracks on the Roof. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

One last look at our tracks on the Roof. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Homeward Bound on a perfect morning. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Homeward bound on a perfect morning, but first…. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Before heading home, we detour to climb Mt. Resplendent on the way down.

But first, detour to Mt Resplendent on the way down. Both shots look back at the work done on Mt Robson. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Looking back at the work done on Mt. Robson. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Mt. Robson. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

The illustrious Mt. Robson. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

All of these images are available as fine art prints

 

21 Responses to “Photo Essay: An Ascent of Mt. Robson”

  1. Teresa

    Could you tell me if you sell your prints? Do you print them on Canvas? I would be interested in ordering one, if I could ask for a print of a specified size.

    Reply
  2. Libby

    And the peak was clear! I’ve been photographing Mt. Robson from the visitor’s centre since 1976 & have many that it’s clear & some clouded over (I don’t take many with the clouds). To see it up top is phenomenal. Beautiful work.

    Reply

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