Several global datasets of glacier thickness exist, but the number of observations from western Canada are sparse and spatially biased. To supplement these limited observations, we measured ice thickness with ice penetrating radar on five glaciers in the Columbia Mountains, Canada. Our radar surveys, when combined with previous surveys for two glaciers in the Rocky Mountains, total 182 km of transects that represent 34 672 point measurements of ice thickness. Our measurements are, on average, 38% thicker than previous surface inversion model estimates of glacier thickness. Using our measurements within a cross-validation scheme, we model ice thickness with the Open Global Glacier Model (OGGM) driven with recent observations of surface mass balance and glacier elevation. We calibrated OGGM ice thickness by optimizing the ice creep parameter in the model. The optimized OGGM yields an ice volume for Columbia Basin of 122.5 ± 22.4 km3 for the year 2000, which is 23% greater than the range of previous estimates. At current rates of glacier mass loss for this region, glaciers would disappear from the basin in about 65–80 years. Disappearance of these glaciers will negatively affect the basin's surface hydrology, freshwater availability and aquatic ecosystems.