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Deltaform Mountain

  • Grade context: US
  • Photos: 1
  • Ascents: 3
  • Aka: Saknwa
3
YDS

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Summary

The prominent sharply pointed peak at the head of the valley.

Access issues inherited from Valley of the Ten Peaks

Contained within Banff National Park. Be respectful, don't litter. Bivies are restricted depending on route. Moraine Lake parking fills up early in the summer. Moraine Lake Road closes to cars in the winter.

Approach

For most routes, hike up the Wenkchemna Pass trail from Moraine Lake. For the standard Northwest Route, continue all the way to the pass, and approach the Deltaform-Neptuak Col via the Northwest then Southeast Ridges of Neptuak, traversing the mountain.

For the routes on the North Face and Buttress, before Eiffel Lake descend to the lake and cross moraines and the Wenkchemna Glacier (rock covered most of the year) to below the face.

For the routes on the east side of the mountain, take either the Schiesser Ledges or Perren Route to gain the upper plateau of the Ten Peaks, and traverse below Mount Allan (Shappee) and Mount Tuzo (Sagowa).

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Routes

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Grade Route

From Wenkchemna Pass, climb the Northwest Ridge of Neptuak Mountain (see that route's description) and descend the Southeast Ridge on scree, down a short chimney scramble and down a few broken rock bands to the Deltaform-Neptuak Col. Several bivouac corrals are present along the Southeast Ridge and at the col.

Climb the ridge, starting directly above the col. On sections where the ridge steepens, climb the line of least resistance on or right (south) of the crest. As the ridge gets higher, climb steeper rock of variable quality on roughly 30m pitches. Eventually, gain the false summit.

Rappel off the anchor on the false summit, down into a 10-15m deep notch. Climb out of this on the south side, on thin but positive handholds with no gear, setting a belay above. Scramble the last 3-4m to the summit.

To descend, reverse the route, rappelling and downclimbing as appropriate.

NOTE: This route is much more serious and committing than the grade makes it appear, with loose, rotten rock and serious exposure. Many parties take 2 days return from Moraine Lake.

FA: Glen Boles & Brian Greenwood, 1961

From the Deltaform-Tuzo col, take the ridgeline directly above the col. Pass where the Flying Buttress joins, and continue up to the first of a series of 4 gendarmes. After climbing over it, rappel a short distance down to regain the ridge. On the second, pass a steep wall on the left and continue up and generally left to near the top, then step down and scramble back to the col.

Continue up the ridgeline past another two (rotten rock), passing difficulties on the left where appropriate and returning to the ridge afterwards. On the final tower, climb up gullies left of the ridgeline, then just below the summit make some airy, unprotected moves left out of the top of the gully then back right onto the final summit slope.

Descend either back to the Deltaform-Tuzo col, or the standard Northwest Ridge route down to the Deltaform-Neptuak col and over Neptuak to Wenkchemna Pass.

FA: Don Gardner & Charlie Locke, 1965

This route takes the massive buttress to looker's left of Deltaform's North Glacier, culminating on the East Ridge slightly up from the Deltaform-Tuzo col.

Start left of the toe of the buttress, and locate a wet left-facing corner at the top of a snow slope (may be melted later in the season). Either climb this directly, or traverse in from the left to avoid running water and mud when the snow melts. From a belay on the obvious ledge, climb up right and into another left-facing, dusty corner and traverse back left into the main corner. Take this past lots of scree and down-sloping quartzite holds to a ledge.

Unrope and scramble up on rock left and above the large prominent funnel on the right. After reaching the large headwall above, traverse left along its base to a scree-filled but generally solid chimney. Climb this directly, with belayer taking cover around the corner, and belay on top (60m or so). Unrope again and scramble up relatively solid quartzite and shale, trending up and right to ledges left of the gully splitting the upper buttress from the pinnacle of the lower.

Continue up on steepening rock (low 5th, may be pitched or soloed) to the base of an orange, overhung headwall. Step left and climb a wide chimney behind a block, then once on top head up and slightly left to a crack. Climb this and pull onto a large ledge. Either continue pitching above or unrope and climb on super solid quartzite at low 5th to another ledge. Head up reddish rock (looser) and set a belay below an overhanging squeeze chimney.

Climb the chimney (easier than it looks, and good gear) and ideally tagging packs. Continue one easy pitch and belay below a crack splitting a grey wall. Climb up (piton) and up the crack on insecure and loose moves and belay well back on the ledge above. From here, climb 3-4 pitches on easy but exposed and loose rock on and right of the ridgeline to a crest. Move the belay along the crest to below a cracked headwall. From here, walk right about 25m to a slot, and climb up, bypassing a small roof on the right. Continue up and right along the ridge to where it decreases in angle.

Finally, unrope and scramble up the ridge to where it joins the East Ridge. Either descend from here, or climb to the summit following the ridge.

FA: Albi Sole & Don Vockeroth, 1983

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Fri 21 Jul
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