Mount Begbie Summit Trail

Rating: 5 stars.

Use: Hiking.

Difficulty: Difficult.

Distance: 10 km return to the campsite. 12 km return to the glacier (signpost kilometre markers on trail are inaccurate).

Description: Another rite of passage for Revelstoke hikers. This is a ‘classic’ Revelstoke trail. Valley bottom trailhead. Steep. Very little views most of the way, eventually leading to a spectacular setting. This trail is not for the faint of heart but well worth the effort. I used to fly helicopter tours to the base of the glacier. I was always excited by the reaction of locals who had stared at Mount Begbie their entire lives, but had never seen it up close. Do it. For those that are glacier travel experienced and equipped, an ascent of the central peak is highly recommended. Do not underestimate the glacier. There have been experienced parties in the past that have fallen into hidden crevasses. The climbing is quality with the exception of the transition from the glacier onto the ledge. After that, its 3rd class scrambling with one or two 4th class climbing sections. 

Directions: Drive south from Revelstoke on Highway 23. About 2.5 kilometres past the Mount Macpherson Cross Country Day Lodge you will see the Trailhead sign on the right.

Trailhead GPS:

  1. Mount Begbie Summit Trailhead: N50 55.343 W118 12.649
  2. Mount Begbie Campsite: N50 53.959 W118 14.677
  3. Mount Begbie Glacier: N50 53.597 W118 15.048

Useful Maps:

Mount Begbie Summit Trail Overview Map PDF

Mount Begbie Summit Trail Detail Map PDF

Mount Begbie Summit Trail KML file on Dropbox

Climbing up the Mount Begibe Trail. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Climbing up the Mount Begbie Summit Trail. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Finally out of the trees on the Mount Begbie Summit Trail. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Tarn just below the Bebie Glacer. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Tarn just below the Begbie Glacier. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Late season on the Begbie Glacer below the ledge. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Late season on the Begbie Glacier below the ledge. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Getting onto the ledge. Ben Wilkey Collection.
Getting onto the ledge. Ben Wilkey Collection.
The ‘Ledge’. Ben Wilkey Collection.
The steps on the ridge on Begbie. Ben Wilkey Collection.
The Begbie ‘Steps’ on the summit ridge. Ben Wilkey Collection.

26 thoughts on “Mount Begbie Summit Trail

  1. What’s the technicality of this hike? I’ve heard some climbers say that its quite basic (non-technical), yet this page implies that you need some level of rock climbing required. How many paths are there to choose from (ie: any less technical ones). I did the hike up to the base of the glacier before, but after that point Im in the dark.

    1. The easiest route goes via the rock ramp that leads to the North ridge and it requires glacier travel. Crampons, rope and basic crevasse rescue skills may be required. As of Aug 18, travel on ice with crampons was straightforward (climbing up on the right side of the glacier). The traverse on the ramp has a couple of exposed areas. Most people use a rope to belay these sections. Once on the ridge, it is mostly a steep walk with some areas of one or two climbing moves to get over blocks or steps. Some prior climbing experience may help with the exposure of the ramp moves specially. Hope this helps.

  2. Can you mountain bike this trail? We rode up Mt Cartier a few weeks ago and loved it. Not sure if this would be similar or if it is too steep? Thanks,

    1. Ryan. Begbie is not recommended as a ride. Even for the most advanced this would be too steep. Cartier trail was originally a horse trail to service the lookout back when it was built. To accommodate horses the trail was built with a very small grade. Begbie however was built for hikers so it is not the same. Very, very steep grade.

  3. Thanks for the great post. I’m looking to get up there at some point since I’ve been looking at the peak since I was a kid and figure it’s time to do so.
    I’ve seen that people are belaying up and rapping down. Are there any rappel/belay stations on the route that you’re aware of? Or any other sort of protection? I can’t tell from the photos I’ve seen whether people are using their own pro or pre-placed pro.

    1. Jeremy. Yes there are bolted rap stations to get off the Rock and back onto the snow. There is also a handful of bolts to get across the skinny section of ledge. However the hardest part, later season when the snow has melting away from the ledge, is getting off the snow onto the ledge. There are no bolts up this section. Depending on the snow this can simply be a small step or a steep, loose scary climb to get to the anchors. Here a couple pieces of protection would be recommended. If you are not comfortable with that its probably better to go early season. Hope that helps.

      1. That does help a lot. I won’t be able to get to it early season this year but thinking in September or October, so we’ll plan accordingly. Thanks.

    1. You could summit any time of the year really. It sees a lot of ski ascents during the winter. Most of the trail to the campground should be snow free by now however.

  4. Hi! Any idea how long the raps are? Or how tall the climb off the snow can be? We are debating between a 30m mountaineering rope and a 70m double. Thanks!

    1. There are I think 2 rap chains. Not sure exactly how high they are off the snow (depends on snow melt on the glacier too) but it is likely that with your 30m rope you will have to use the lower rap anchor. A longer rope would allow you to rap off the higher station which means you don’t have to cross a very narrow exposed section to get to the lower anchor. However there are belay bolts for crossing the narrow parts if you don’t want to carry the long rope.

      When crossing the bergschrund to get onto the ledge, check out your route very carefully. I noticed a snow bridge over a very deep randkluft was starting to fall apart. Really big blocks of snow had dropped down into what looked like a bottomless hole. Scary part is there were foot steps in the snow over the bridge! I crossed the shrund further upslope where it was better supported. If anybody wants to see pictures I have some, can post or email or whatever.

      1. Hey John
        Here are some photos that may help – not sure how or if I can post images here so I hope this works ha ha! I was there in mid-late August, so keep in mind what you find may be different than the conditions when I was there

        View from the glacier with notes

        The remains of the partially collapsed bridge in the previous picture. Notice faint foot steps. I couldn’t see the bottom, just darkness so I didn’t risk crossing here, I went upslope more (next photo).

        From here was one short descent down some mildly overhanging snow to get onto the ledge.

        The ledge. Don’t look down!

        Melting snow bridges

  5. Just had a look at the past postings and photos.

    Amazing how much things have changed.

    About 20 years ago I did the summit with 5 other friends.We were all in our late 30’s and early 40’s. We started early in the morning (after a shift in the Regent) at the highway parking lot and were back in town around dinner time. We packed light as we had no desire or skills to pack or camp overnight.
    Our “team” consisted of the full spectrum of hikers from a couple of mountain killers wearing Sherpa mountain climbing boots to a beer bellied truck driver in worn out running shoes, and the rest of us with day hiking boots and/or good running shoes( we didn’t call them hikers, joggers, trainers, etc. back then)

    The steep mountain trail sweated out all the beers in us and we thought once we were in the open glacier /alpine area we were home free. When you look from Revelstoke it seems that the alpine/ rock area is just a small section on top but in fact it’s closer to only being half way to the summit.

    The glacier back then was considerably larger and higher so although there were some crevasses it was still fairly easy to pick your way up with safety. We had no ropes or other safety equipment. Some were wearing running shoes.
    None of us had every been to the summit and only knew that we had to get onto this “ledge” that can be seen from town.
    The ledge was easy to access as the snow/glacier was high enough to easily climb onto it.The ledge had no bolt hooks and none of us had any safety gear or technical skills. The only concern was our packs were hitting the overhanging ledge so we took them off and carried them in front of us so we didn’t knock ourselves off the ledge. I don’t recall being overly concerned about falling off the ledge as the snow/glacier wasn’t that far below.

    The “steps” were easy and safe but you do get the feeling you can fall all the way to Revelstoke when you look down into the valley but off course the many steps below would prevent that.
    Once above the steps it is a steady steep alpine climb to the summit and the great views to the other side.
    Our beer bellied truck driver made it to the summit although about an hour later then the rest of us. Safety and team work weren’t really part of our plan. The mountain killers wanted to jog all the way up, the rest of us had too much beer to sweat out. We all assumed our trucker buddy gave up while still in the forest as that is when we gave up waiting for him to catch up.( times have changes and this attitude is definitely a no-no these days)

    The climb back down the “steps” was the most uncomfortable for me as it’s easier to climb up anything then to climb back down.

    We all got down without incident, lived to tell about it, and will probably never be on top again unless via helicopter.

    So if your going up Begbie remember to heed the warning of others as to the current conditions but also remember when you’re on the top that a beer bellied truck driver made it to the summit.

    Those were the good old days when fear or common sense didn’t interfere with poorly planned outings. Can’t wait to tell my trucker friend that he is an experienced class 4 climber.

    Take lots of pictures as your children and grandchildren will probably never believe that once upon a time there was a glacier on Mt. Begbie.

    Bring home only good memories. Be safe

  6. Anyone have an current update on conditions via glacier to ledge? How many bolts are there along the ledge? Would a safety line be recommended for our attempt instead of a running belay? Thanks

    1. We were up the other day and the snow is quickly melting away from the ledge creating some overhanging snow big enough to be a hazard over the easier move to the step. We used an ice axe and a 30m rope to belay down from the snow higher upslope to get to the ledge without being under the overhang but we seemed the most conservative of the recent groups. The 30m rope was too short to double rappel down from the hangers so longer rope or a second line to pull your rope down is needed. There are about 4-5 bolts on the ledge for the narrow section (about 7-10m long) if you want to belay or put a line there (it’s an easy traverse but currently a very big fall).

      In short if you are conservative you should bring enough gear and skills to have some options so you can pick a comfortable line. Enjoy!

  7. Thinking about hiking up for the first time.
    Does the trail cross a water source often or at all? How much water to bring?
    Thanks for the help,

    1. There’s not great access to water for a good part of the trail. You can fill up near the bottom, where there’s a spur off the trail that goes down to the creek. After that the trail continuously climbs up a ridge so not a whole lot of water until you get into the subalpine by the first “camp site”. Mind you, this year is pretty wet so you might find little surface streams. Long story short, not much water, take enough to get you into the subalpine and fill it when you can

  8. Hello,

    Any infos on the current conditions on the ledge access and if the Bershrung is still crossable safely?

    Thank you!

    1. Climbed to the summit on Aug 23 and the glacier to ledge transition was in incredible shape, able to walk right onto the ledge.

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