Auriol Peak


Distance: 9 km
Elevation Gain: 1267 m (4157 ft)
Time: 6 hours
Difficulty: Very Difficult
Region: Kluane
Date Added: July 14, 2013
Last Update: July 14, 2013




Auriol Peak is an impressive rocky peak, perched high between Quill Peak and Mount Martha Black within the Auriol Range. This route is accessible from the popular Auriol Trail in Kluane, and is best combined with camping at least one night either at the Auriol Trail backcountry campground or further into the alpine.


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Scroll below photos for Driving Directions and Trail Description.



Photos


The view of the route to Auriol Peak as seen from the top of the Auriol Trail.



Following the creek up to the back right side of the bowl.



Climbing up the steep snow slope to the low part of the saddle.



The small moraine on the way to the main part of the saddle, with the small glacial lake on the right.



The view northeast from the top of the peak.



The view down the valley to the southwest, beyond the Auriol Range.



Soaking in the view of the glacier on Quill Peak.



Descending the scree slope of Auriol Peak back to the saddle with views of Mount Martha Black and the glacial valley below.




Driving Directions

This hike starts from the bridge at the mid-way point on the Auriol Trail, and the time and distance indicated here are from this point. See the Auriol Trail for times and distances to the bridge and campground.




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Trail Description

Note: there is no official name for this peak.

The first part of this route is straightforward and follows the well-maintained Auriol Trail to the mid-way point at the top end of the trail. There is an old bridge approximately 500 m from the backcountry campground.

From the bridge, follow Auriol Creek upstream as it veers away from the main trail and leads west towards the alpine. There are multiple braided trails and open gravel bar areas along the creek which will allow you to avoid the majority of the bushwacking. Keep in mind you'll likely have to jump or hop across the creek several times to keep out of the tangle of brush. The aim is to head towards the right side of the tongue of the moraine. When you get close to the moraine you have two options either to continue following the creek up through a gully along the right side of the moraine, or to gain higher ground and get up on top of the moraine. The moraine edges can be quite tall and steep with loose rocks, so feel free to continue up the creek until you find an easy spot to climb up. Note at this elevation the creek can often end up going under ground or snow, appearing periodically on the surface.

Now, if you've climbed up onto the moraine, follow along it's right side (above the creek) until you reach the back of the mountain cirque or bowl. If you chose to follow the creek, just continue following it and it will also end towards the back, right side of the bowl. At this point there should be a relatively steep snow or talus slope leading up to a low saddle towards the west. The climb up the snow or talus slope is approximately 350 m elevation gain, where it then levels out slightly onto a large open alpine plateau between two mountains. The true saddle between the two mountains is another 760 m away to the southwest, however you will have to hike up onto another small moraine and follow along it's ridge to the saddle. There is a stunning blue glacial lake that you'll pass by on the left.

At the main saddle you'll get a beautiful view of Mount Martha Black (west) with her snowy, glacial cap as well as the glacial valley directly below. The Auriol - Martha Black Circuit route eventually drops down to this glacial valley, which is essentially uncrevassed and safe and easy to walk along unroped. To continue up to the top of Auriol Peak, head southeast up the rocky ridge and slope. It is 530 m distance over 380 m elevation gain to reach the top. The climb involves some scrambling over loose rocks, so manage the way your group travels together to avoid rockfall, spreading out across the slope and watching out for people below. It's an exciting and beautiful climb and the 360 degree view from the top is well worth it as you can see the many peaks and glaciers of the Auriol Range and beyond, as well as back down the Auriol Trail and towards Haines Junction.

Return the way you came or for an added adventure take a look at the Auriol - Martha Black Circuit as an option.


Note: Overnight trips in Kluane National Park and Reserve require registration and approved bear resistant food canisters. Please visit the Park's website for details.