Snow Dome-South Slope, British Columbia

Prominence: 0 m, 0 ft

Elevation: 2940+ meters, 9646+ feet

Approx. Isolation: 0 km, 0 mi
Elevation Info:Elevation range: 2940 - 2960 m
    (20-meter closed contour)
Peak TypeSlope Point, subsidiary to
Latitude/Longitude (WGS84)52° 9' 22'' N; 117° 19' 20'' W
52.156142, -117.322181 (Dec Deg)
477959E 5778454N Zone 11 (UTM)
State/ProvinceBritish Columbia
County/Second Level RegionColumbia-Shuswap

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This point is south of the Snow Dome, a well-named hump near the center of the vast Columbia Icefield, the largest glaciated expanse in the Rocky Mountians. It is the only point on the surface of the earth (outside of Antarctica) where water flows into three oceans. Actually, this magic spot is very indeterminate and probably shifts from year to year with the flows of the Columbia Icefield, and appears to be located a ways south of the Snow Dome's summit. The provincial boundary notwithstanding, it looks to me like the Snow Dome summit sits on the divide between the Athabasca and Columbia Glaciers, both of which lead to the Arctic Ocean. Moving south from the Snow Dome, at some point ice starts to flow southeast to the Saskatchewan Glacier (Atlantic Ocean) and southwest to Bryce Creek (Pacific Ocean), in addition to northward flow to one of the above mentioned Arctic glaciers--which one is difficult to determine and may vary.

From this point, water flows the following ways:

  • Bryce Creek, Bush River, Kinbasket Lake, Columbia River, Pacific Ocean
  • Athabasca Glacier/Sunwapta River (or Columbia Glacier) to Athabasca River, Lake Athabasca, Slave River, Great Slave Lake, Mackenzie River, Arctic Ocean
  • Saskatchewan Glacier, North Saskatchewan River, Saskatchewan River, Cedar Lake, Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Atlantic Ocean

To many, Hudson Bay at first sounds like part of the Arctic Ocean rather than the Atlantic, but a glance at the map shows that both Hudson and Baffin Bays logically seem like arms of the North Atlantic, and the Arctic is off to the northwest of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. If you still think that Hudson Bay is part of the Arctic Ocean, then the world's only triple-ocean point becomes Triple Divide Peak in Montana, where rivers flow to Hudson Bay, the Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Dome Argus, the high point of the great Antarctic icecap, is the only other spot where ice flows in three directions to three oceans. (That is, if you don't accept what I consider the bogus notion of a single "Southern Ocean" surrounding Antarctica.)

You might wonder why there are not more of these triple-ocean points. The first reason is that most continents (South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia) only border two oceans. The second reason is that Asia, which actually borders all four oceans (counting the Mediterranean as an arm of the Atlantic), has vast areas in its center that drain to internal seas such as the Caspian or else dry up in desert depressions. This internal drainage area prevents the basins of the Pacific, Indian, and Arctic oceans from meeting at any one spot, with the headwaters of the Yangste, Ganges, and Ob hundreds of miles apart.

Google Maps Dynamic Map

 Snow Dome-South Slope    Other Peaks
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Web Map LinksAcme Mapper   MyTopo   Gmap4   Toporama
Bing Maps   Google Maps
Prominence  Clean Prominence: 0 m/0 ft
  Optimistic Prominence: 40 m/130 ft
  Key Col: 2940 m/9646 ft
Isolation0 km/0 mi
Nearest Higher Neighbor in the PBC database:
    Snow Dome-South Slope  (N)
Isolation distance is based on NHN and is slightly overstated.
RangesContinent: North America
Range2: Rocky Mountains
Range3: Canadian Rockies
Range4: Central Main Ranges
Range5: Columbia Icefield Area
Range6: Columbia Icefield
Ridges/DividesContinental Divide of N.A.
Drainage BasinsMajor Triple Divide Point
Pacific Ocean

Beaufort Sea
Arctic Ocean
North Saskatchewan
Cedar Lake
Lake Winnipeg
Hudson Bay
Hudson Strait
Labrador Sea
Atlantic Ocean
Topo MapColumbia Icefield 83 C/3 1:50,000

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