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East Face

The soaring 1000m high East Face has 8 of the most difficult rock routes on the Island. The East Face of Colonel Foster is the heart of alpine rock on Vancouver Island with its sweeping buttresses and deep couloirs. The rock runs from perfect bullet proof basalt with awesome in-cuts to atrociously loose and with huge run-outs. Most of the climbing is low 5th class or easier, but exposure is great and retreat could be next to impossible. Getting off the mountain often proves just as difficult as climbing; loose rock, tricky route finding and scary rappels all add to the experience. On Foster the summit is definitely only halfway. The glacier around Foster (berg) Lake must be negotiated to reach any of the East face routes. An ice axe is a must and by August a set of light weight crampons is often a good idea. Campsites are on the old moraine around Foster Lake with Colonel Foster standing above.

Tiny
Expressway
5.7

Cross the moat about 50m to the right of the Cataract waterfall. Climb 4th to low 5th class for about 200m on the right side of the Cataract waterfall, until reaching a steep wall and an easier ramp trending out right. Climb the ramp for approximately 400m staying right where gullies/ramps branch off left and up to the Cataract ridge. The ramp finally ends at a crumbly rusty coloured notch and an amazing view down a shear face into Grand Central Couloir. Climb the steep face (5.7) above the notch for 1 pitch to the Cataract ridge (alt. 1700m). Climb the Cataract Arête to finish.

  • 1 person has climbed this route
Tiny
X-Rated
5.9

A bold route that climbs the broken “X” shaped corners up the rock scar on the North Tower of Mt. Colonel Foster. We were intending to re-climb the North Buttress route on the North Tower but when this obvious line came into view we had to reconsider. Route finding would be easy and Mike and I had descended from the Tower before so we decided to give the new line ago. Aaron took lead on the first pitch and I lead the 2nd pitch, both on relatively solid rock. Once into the right slanting corner the rock deteriorated for the next 4 pitches where even the belays were tricky to set. The remaining pitches out left from the center of the “X” were on pretty good rock. The 300 meter tall rock scar was the result of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 1946, which caused over 1,000,000 m3 rock to break off and slide into Landslide Lake. A huge wave spilled out of the lake and scoured the Elk River valley down to bedrock for about 1 Km.

  • 1 person has climbed this route
Tiny
Cataract
5.8

The longest route on the mountain starts up easy gullies and ramps on the far left side of the face. The first half of the routes in mediocre at best but the top half definitely makes up for it. Scramble up mostly 3rd – 5th class mossy gullies and ramps on the lower of the 2 parallel gullies until above the deep chasm into Cataract falls (alt. 5050ft). Make and exciting 55+ m free hanging rappel down to the stream. The rappel anchor is on detached block which can be reaching by down climbing about 7m then traversing around to the climber left onto a small exposed ledge. Great water pit stop. Now for some of the best climbing on The Colonel. Climb a few steep pitches (5.7) out from the stream to the amazing Arête. Climb beautiful arête for 1700ft to the upper glacier (low 5th -5.6). Ascend easy glacier to notch between the Gendarme and SW summit. Climb the steep loose ridge crest up to. Rappelling the snow band route is not recommended.

Tiny
Into the Mystic
5.9

One of the most difficult of the East face summer routes climbs the buttress leading to the NE peak. Start up at the toe of the NW peak then after about 75m traverse left along the big treed ledge to Direttissima Couloir. Stay left to avoid the overhangs and climb towards the gully. Lead a few difficult pitches up steep blocky ground. Generally climb about 25m – 75m to the right of the Direttissima couloir. There is 100’s of meters of 4th class climbing, and then some harder 5th class pitches. The bottom half of the route is the most difficult. The top half is 4th –low 5th class. The climb finishes at the NE col between the NE peak and the main summit. From the NE col climb the blocky ridge south for 30m then traverse along the right (west) side of the main summit on talus ledges. Scramble up 4th class blocks for about 50m to the main summit.Head south over the main summit to the south peaks, then down to the south col and foster lake.

  • 1 person has climbed this route

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