Mountains

Assiniboine Provincial Park

 
 

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is a magnificent place of shimmering lakes, glistening glaciers, sky scraping peaks and sun-dappled alpine meadows. World renowned Mount Assiniboine, at an elevation of 3,618 meters, is situated along the continental divide near the south east corner of the park and has defined mountain splendor in the Canadian Rockies for over 100 years. No roads penetrate this unspoiled wilderness, with trails providing the only land access. Campinghikingmountain climbing and viewing spectacular mountain scenery are the main activities here, as well as fishing, horseback riding, and ski touring in winter - from BC Parks.

 


[The location map for Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park.]
 

Alcantara, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

HMS Alcantara was a liner that was referred to as an Armed Merchant Cruiser of 15,831 tons which was torpedoed and sunk in action with the German raider "Greif" during February of 1916. (from peakfinder.com)

 

Note: The officially listed height of around 9300 feet for this mountain is dead wrong. It looked higher than Brussilof and that peak is 9859 ft. 

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, July 20, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,005

There really wasn't a choice, was there? After a successful, and fun, ascent of Mount Brussilof we almost had to take advantage of good weather and a shared col to ascend Mount Alcantara's south ridge. Previous parties have used easy SW scree slopes to ascend Alcantara, but the south ridge looked absolutely fantastic from Brussilof and was a no-brainer for us to attempt, considering where we found ourselves late in the afternoon of July 20, 2018. 

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/07/20/alcantara-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,859
Elevation Gain (m): 
2000
Round Trip Time: 
15.00
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

The approach is through BC bush - so there's that. From alpine meadows the route is either easy or moderate depending on choice. The final few steps to the top are very exposed and loose.

Assiniboine, Mount

Trip Category: 
MN - Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named by George M. Dawson in 1885. The name is that of the Stoney Indians or Assiniboines. Official name. First ascended in 1901 by James Outram, guided by C. Bohren, Christian Hasler sr. (from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
9
YDS Class: 
5.5
YDS Grade: 
II

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,618

I've been dreaming of the Matterhorn of the Rockies since I first laid eyes on her while on a hiking trip to the area in 2008. I never actually thought I'd be climbing its NE ridge but it was fun to imagine! Towering over everything in its vicinity and visible from almost every prominent peak in south Banff and Kananaskis , Mount Assiniboine is a big, beautiful mountain that has inspired climbers from all over the world to test her charms.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2012/09/22/assiniboine-mount-lunette-strom/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
11,871
Elevation Gain (m): 
2500
Round Trip Time: 
14.50
Total Distance (km): 
23.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 5 : you fall, you are dead
Difficulty Notes: 

Don't underestimate this mountain! Many folks have and many have failed climbing her because of that.

Brussilof, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named after Alexei Alexeivitch Brussilof a Russian General who served in World War I. He went on to hold key military positions under Josef Lenin. (from bivouac.com)

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, July 20, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,005

Somehow, despite planning a trip into the Lyell Icefield to climb the last of the Lyells (IV) that I have left, I ended up in the Mount Assiniboine area yet again this year, with Phil Richards of course! It's a long, convoluted story so I'll cut it short. It goes something like;

 

  • Plan Lyell trip
  • Check weather
  • Keep planning Lyell trip
  • Check weather
  • Start wavering on Lyell trip
  • Check weather
  • Bail on Lyell trip
  • Plan another trip

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/07/20/brussilof-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,859
Elevation Gain (m): 
2000
Round Trip Time: 
15.00
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

A difficult approach through medium BC bush followed by snow climbing, 4th class loose rock and routefinding up ledges and cliffs to the summit.

Byng, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1918; Byng, Viscount Julian H.G. Byng was a frequent visitor to Jasper National Park, Lord Byng of Vimy served in the Boer War and as a general in WW I where he commanded the Canadian Corps. He served as Governor General from 1921 until 1926. (from peakfinder.com

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, July 21, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,940

After a ~900m descent from our Alcantara / Brussilof bivy, I was feeling pretty bagged for some reason. I think Phil was too. It sure felt good to down the cool pop we had waiting for ourselves in Phil's SUV! Technically we had two days in front of us still at this point. We knew that Saturday was supposed to be almost 100% cloudy with no rain and Sunday was supposed to improve to sun again. We felt a wee bit burned out after our monster approach and scramble of both Brussilof and Alcantara the day before and we both wanted to turn off our brains and do something a bit easier than our originally planned 1.5 days on Mount Eon. We decided pretty quickly to do the hike into Marvel Pass and check out some of the scrambles around there. Neither of us had ever done this hike, so why not? Being on a trail again would be awesome!

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/07/21/byng-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,646
Elevation Gain (m): 
1700
Round Trip Time: 
10.00
Total Distance (km): 
22.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Easy hiking and scrambling to the false summit. A moderate, exposed, loose traverse to the true summit.

Cave Mountain

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named by International Boundary Survey in 1916. The surveyors noted that there was, "near the skyline a colossal cave entrance." Official name. (info from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
5
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
Hiking

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, September 5, 2008
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,651
Unless you paid close attention on your hike into the Assiniboine area via Assiniboine Pass, you will likely never know first hand where Cave Mountain gets its name from. Obviously there are caves somewhere on this hunk of rock, but it's so gently angled from the west that it seems doubtful they are of any substantial quality. Since we knew the name of the mountain before we headed up Assiniboine Pass on our trek into the park, we were actually looking for caves on it's much steeper south and eastern aspects. We spotted more than one deep cave and I wonder how far in they go? Would be interesting to explore but since I'm very claustrophobic you won't catch me attempting that any time soon.
 
 

!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2008/09/05/og-cave-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,698
Elevation Gain (m): 
1500
Total Distance (km): 
23.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

No difficulties in most conditions - slopes are gentle to the summit.

Chucks Ridge

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

A high point on a west shoulder of Nub Peak above Elizabeth Lake.

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Low
YDS Class: 
3rd Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,425

After a long and tougher-than-expected approach the day before, I woke up on Saturday, September 24 after a night of rain and snow shower, with the plan to hike a local ridge I'd noticed on the map called "Chucks Ridge", followed by a scramble up Sunburst Peak. Both of these objectives are located near the Lake Magog campground and both of them could presumably be done with some snow.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2016/09/24/chucks-ridge/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Elevation Gain (m): 
430
Round Trip Time: 
3.50
Total Distance (km): 
7.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

A moderate scramble up loose, steep terrain from a well-defined trail. Some exposure. Certainly harder than Nub Peak.

Citadel Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Arthur O. Wheeler in 1913. The mountain was named for its fortress-like shape. Official name. (from peakfinder.com

Trip Category: 
OT - Off-Trail Skiing
Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, June 29, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,610

On a beautiful sunny, wintry May 1, 2011 I was joined by Raff and Mel on a ski trip through Sunshine Meadows to Citadel Pass and up Citadel peak. Our original plan (as per Raff) was to do a winter ascent of Fatigue Mountain but due to an unusually snowy winter we ended up on Citadel instead due to an extremely wind loaded west slope on Fatigue. I repeated the peak again on a much less wintry, but also much cloudier day on June 29, 2018 as part of a three peak extravaganza with Phil Richards that included Fatigue, Citadel and Golden Mountain. 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/06/29/citadel-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,563
Elevation Gain (m): 
1550
Round Trip Time: 
11.00
Total Distance (km): 
33.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

While the summer ascent is fairly short and easy from Citadel Pass, the winter ascent includes serious avalanche risks. Learn how to manage these risks and perform avalanche burial rescues before attempting this trip.

Ely's Dome (Cautley Traverse)

Interesting Facts: 

Naming: Evans, Ely (Ely Evans was Sam Evan's sister. Sam was a well known packer and guide who worked in the Mount Assiniboine area in the 1930's) Unofficial name. (from peakfinder.com)

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
5
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
Hiking

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, September 25, 2016

After being turned around on a traverse from Mount Cautley to Gibraltar Rock and somehow completely screwing up where Cascade Rock was, I started the traverse south from the summit of Cautley, heading towards Ely's Dome and what I thought was the traverse from it, to Cascade Rock. Confused yet? Apparently, so was I...

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2016/09/25/elys-dome-cautley-traverse/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (m): 
2,830
Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,285
Elevation Gain (m): 
900
Round Trip Time: 
8.00
Total Distance (km): 
17.00
Difficulty Notes: 

The partial Cautley Traverse is off trail hiking only. If you include Wonder Peak it might go up to 3rd class.

Fatigue Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

The mountain was named after Mr. Drewry, a surveyor, became quite tired while completing the first ascent in 1888. (from peakfinder.com)

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
5
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, June 29, 2018

For some reason, Fatigue Mountain had been on my radar for many years by the time 2018 rolled around. I don't remember when or where I first heard about it, but it intrigued me as it sounded like a fairly easy ascent that wasn't done very often due to its location far from any parking lots. When I skied to the summit of its tiny neighbor, Citadel Peak, back in 2011, I was even more intrigued. I also remember mixing up what was "Golden" Mountain and what was "Fatigue" Mountain. They both look so close from the Sunshine Meadows and Citadel Pass areas, that they're very easy to confuse with one another. Now I knowlaugh

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/06/29/fatigue-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (m): 
2,959
Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,708
Elevation Gain (m): 
2000
Total Distance (km): 
35.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

Easy hiking and scrambling with some exposure on the summit ridge but mostly avoidable. A long day from the Sunshine parking lot!

Golden Mountain (Fatigue Pass)

Interesting Facts: 

The most interesting fact about Golden Mountain is how little it's apparently ascended. Rick Collier thought he might have had a first (recorded) ascent back in 1993 which is remarkable for a peak that is visible from a very long way off and from both Banff and Assiniboine parks. Nasswald was first ascended around 1913 by Conrad Kain and the Boundary Commission but there is no record of them traversing to Golden Mountain.

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
5
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, June 29, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,911

After successfully completing my second ascent of the diminutive Citadel Peak (with it's not-so-small views), Phil and I returned to our waiting overnight packs at Citadel Pass and prepared for the uphill trudge towards Fatigue Pass. I'd often wondered what this pass looked like and Phil also remembers wondering about it on his way to Mount Assiniboine years previous. We were about to find out. I had no idea if there'd be decent bivy sites at, or near the pass but as part of our July long weekend peak bagging adventure in the area, finding a bivy site was key. We had to stay out of Banff National Park to avoid fines, and Fatigue Pass was really our only option, being just across the border in British Columbia's lovely Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/06/29/golden-mountain-fatigue-pass/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,550
Elevation Gain (m): 
600
Round Trip Time: 
3.50
Total Distance (km): 
7.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

Easy scrambling from Fatigue Pass with some exposure on the ridge that is mostly avoidable. Very long day from the Sunshine parking lot if approaching and returning on the same day.

Hiking Trails into Mount Assiniboine

 

There are various approaches to Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park and I've now done a number of them, excepting the easiest (from the air) and some of the more obscure ones. This is a brief description of each of the four routes I've done, and two that I haven't, with a final comparison matrix at the end. These are also detailed at the Mount Assiniboine Lodge website. One short section of the climber's access route that I haven't done (yet) is the Gmoser Ledges from the Lake Magog Campground to the Hind Hut. You can find more details of that route here. My GPS route for that section is a guess at best.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2016/09/23/hiking-trails-into-mount-assiniboine/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Lunette Peak

Trip Category: 
MN - Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Interprovincial Boundary Survey in 1913. Unknown Official name. Other names Lost Peak (Outram). First ascended in 1901 by James Outram, guided by C. Bohren, Christian Hasler sr.. Journal reference App 10-47. (from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
9
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
5.0-5.2
YDS Grade: 
I

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,398

After enjoying our 4 hour ascent of the north ridge on Assiniboine we were feeling like we might just make it down to Lunette lake before dark. The only problem? Well, as it turns out - the SW face of the big 'A' is not quite as trivial as some might lead you to believe, especially if you didn't ascend that way! While nobody claims it's easy, there are some trip reports on the internet of folks so-called scrambling the SW face. I re-read these trip reports after descending it myself and have concluded that these were all free solo climbs and not really scrambling at all. I think people should not be misled into thinking the SW face of Assiniboine offers an 'easy' route to the summit - in my opinion it has more objective hazard than the North Ridge route due to loose rock, tough route finding and snow / ice on route. You've been warned! :-)

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2012/09/22/assiniboine-mount-lunette-strom/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
11,150
Elevation Gain (m): 
2000
Total Distance (km): 
23.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 5 : you fall, you are dead
Difficulty Notes: 

Lunette is steep and loose. So what's new right?

Monarch, The

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

First ascended in 1913 by Conrad Kain with Interprovincial Boundary Survey. The Monarch lies on the boundary between Kootenay National Park and Assiniboine Provincial Park, just south of the Continental Divide, Banff National Park, and Alberta. It is separated from the Ball Range by East Verdant Creek, from Hawk Ridge by Verdant Creek, and from the Sunshine Meadows area by the North Simpson River. A ridge called the Monarch Ramparts connects the Monarch to Healy Pass to the north. (from Bivouac.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
3rd Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, August 19, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,895

On Friday, August 19th I was joined by the indefatigable Phil Richards and Wietse Bylsma for another longish day trip in the Canadian Rockies. After two previous off-trail adventures to Breaker and Molar, Phil and I decided that it was time for a mostly on-trail objective. We settled on The Monarch, located between Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park and Kootenay National Park in British Columbia. Wietse has had his eye on this peak for many years, since Ben Wards posted on the old RMB forum that his group found a scramble route on it. Since then, Alan Kane has come out with the 3rd edition of his infamous scramble guide and added the same route to it.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2016/08/19/monarch-the/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,498
Elevation Gain (m): 
1700
Round Trip Time: 
11.00
Total Distance (km): 
27.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

A long day. The access gully and summit block are extremely loose, only recommended for small, experienced parties.

Mount Cautley (Cautley Traverse)

Trip Category: 
OT - Off-Trail Hiking
Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1917. Cautley, Richard W. (A surveyor, R.W. Cautley was instrumental in defining the Alberta-BC border.) (see biog.) Official name. (from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
4
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
Hiking

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,880

I woke up on Sunday, September 25 2016 in the Lake Magog Campground and poked my head out of my tent only to be immediately disappointed. This was supposed to be the day of my long-awaited Mount Cautley Traverse - 4 new peaks in one stretch - all located along the same, fairly easy ridge and all with stunning views over the Mount Assiniboine area, including of course, the mighty Matterhorn of the Rockies.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2016/09/25/cautley-mount-cautley-traverse/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,450
Elevation Gain (m): 
900
Round Trip Time: 
8.00
Total Distance (km): 
17.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

The partial Cautley Traverse is off trail hiking only. If you include Wonder Peak it might go up to 3rd class.

Nestor Peak

Interesting Facts: 

First ascended in 1912 and subsequently named by The Interprovincial Boundary Survey. Not to be confused with Mount Nestor near the Spray Lakes.

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, July 8, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,965

On July 8th, 2018, Phil Richards, Eric Coulthard and I spent one of the longer days I've had in the Rockies scrambling and route finding a very likely new route via the north and east ridges of Nestor Peak to its summit. After spending a pretty exhausting 15 hours the day before, approaching the Police Meadows and scrambling both Simpson Ridge and Peak, getting back to the cabin at 22:45, we were quite groggy when my alarm went off at around 04:50 on Sunday morning. There was nothing to do but roll out of my creaky bunk and stumble around in the dim morning light trying to make some coffee and choke down some breakfast. The absolute worst part of the entire day was struggling back into my SOAKING wet approach shoes. That was brutal. Brrrr!

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/07/08/nestor-peak/​ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,728
Elevation Gain (m): 
2400
Round Trip Time: 
18.00
Total Distance (km): 
42.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

A very long and tiring day including remote BC bushwhacking, routefinding, exposed ridges and steep snow with possible ice.

Nub Peak

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1924. Nub Peak is a small bump at the southeastern end of a long ridge. Official name. (info from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
5
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
Hiking

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,755
I was pleasantly surprised when Yolande and Hanneke both said they would try hiking Nub Peak with us, I thought they might want a break after Wednesday's grind into camp. It was later than I would have preferred for a morning start, but by 10:00 we were on the trail. The day was clearing up beautifully and I couldn't resist some more pictures across Lake Magog on our way past it. As we climbed up the Nublet the views behind us only improved. We quickly realized that there was a very large group from the lodge being guided up 'our' peak ahead of us and we passed them at the first viewpoint below the summit of the Nublet.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2008/09/04/nub-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,039
Elevation Gain (m): 
850
Round Trip Time: 
5.50
Total Distance (km): 
10.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

There are no difficulties hiking up the Nublet and the Nub. You should be on trail the entire way up the Nublet with some easy scrambling to Nub Peak.

Og Mountain

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1966. The names Og, Gog, and Magog are all individuals mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. Both English and Celtic mythology also tells of Gog and Magog who were giants. Official name. (info from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, September 5, 2008
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,874
To get to Og Mountain, we first had to hike along the Windy Ridge trail from the Assiniboine Lodge area and our Naiset hut. After getting some sublime morning sunrise shots of Mount Assiniboine early in the day, it was nice to walk past it again in full day light. With a plume of snow peeling off it's lofty 11,871 foot summit it looked incredibly huge and intimidating. I would stand on her summit almost exactly four years after staring up at it on this trip - sure that I would NEVER have the skills or the courage to climb her steep NE ridge! 
 
 

!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2008/09/05/og-cave-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,429
Elevation Gain (m): 
1500
Total Distance (km): 
23.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

Some delicate traverses and down climbs but nothing too extreme. Low difficult scrambling.

Shark - Assiniboine - Wonder Pass Backpacking Route

Interesting Facts: 

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is a magnificent place of shimmering lakes, glistening glaciers, sky scrapping peaks and sun-dappled alpine meadows. World renowned Mount Assiniboine, at an elevation of 3,618 meters, is situated along the continental divide near the south east corner of the park and has defined mountain splendor in the Canadian Rockies for over 100 years. (info from BC Parks web site

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Wednesday, September 3, 2008 to Saturday, September 6, 2008
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,365
My annual fall scrambling / hiking trip took place from September 3rd to the 6th in 2008. Along for the ride was my brother Rod, cousin Jon and his wife Yolande (also known as George for some reason) and Hanneke, my wife. We were all pretty excited to be trying another new area (for us) of the Rockies - the Mount Assiniboine area of British Columbia.
 
 
The Mount Assiniboine area has a rich history in the relatively short mountaineering saga of the Canadian Rockies. James Outram first ascended it successfully in 1901, just over 100 years ago, and since then many more have followed. Numerous alpine camps have been run out of this area and many of the local peaks have a colorful history and interesting stories of ascent. Mount Assiniboine, its namesake, can be seen from 100km away and shows up on almost all my previous summit photos from all around Banff, Kananaskis and Yoho. Reaching up into the clouds at 11,781 feet it stands out clearly from the surrounding terrain like a pyramidal giant among normal folk. Often called the Matterhorn of the Rockies, it's easy to see why when you get close to it's sharply angled east face and summit towering above Lake Magog.
 
 
This trip report will cover the basic hike in and out of Assiniboine Provincial Park and the hiking we did while there. The individual scrambles will be documented on their own pages with links off of this main trip report.
 
 
While researching the trip I was amazed at the lack of information 'out there' on hiking and lodging around Mount Assiniboine. This is a very popular destination for hikers and climbers from around the world but I guess most people who visit don't have web sites or something! Try finding a good picture of the Naisett Huts and you'll know what I mean. So with that in mind, I'm going to try to detail my impressions of the hike into the Mount Assiniboine area via Assiniboine Pass and the hikes we did while there. I'll also share my impressions (and photos, of course) of our exit via Wonder Pass back to the Mount Shark parking lot. The best site that I found (by far) is the Assiniboine Lodge site at http://www.canadianrockies.net/assiniboine/index.html.
 
 

September 03 2008 - Mount Shark parking lot to Assiniboine via Assiniboine Pass

 

Originally I had planned that we would go into Assiniboine via Sunshine Meadows and out via Wonder Pass. With clear, sunny, warm weather this would give us the best views and hiking opportunity that the approach and exit from this area has to offer. Because Hanneke and Yolande weren't so sure about the long hike in (32km via Sunshine Meadows and 28km via Assiniboine Pass ) we planned on choppering in about 40-50 pounds of gear and saving their backs / feet the weight on the approach / exit trails. The plan was to drop one vehicle off at the exit trail head at Mount Shark and then drive through Canmore where we would drop off the gear to be flown in. Than we would drive to the Sunshine parking lot where we would catch a bus at 09:00 to the Sunshine Meadows trail head.
 
 
Unfortunately the weather didn't agree with my well-laid plans! The forecast for Wednesday was nasty even a week before the day arrived and it never improved. By the time Tuesday came around we had changed our plans. Now we would hike in from Mount Shark via Assiniboine Pass and out to Mount Shark again via Wonder Pass. We would drop the gear off in Canmore on the way to the Shark trail head and would not need a car shuttle. This approach is much more sheltered than the Sunshine Meadows approach and was the better option given the rain / snow in the forecast. Later we talked to a fellow who hiked in via Sunshine on Wednesday in snow and rain - we made the right choice. There are two main problems with the Shark - Assiniboine Pass approach. The first is that the trail is so sheltered for the first 14km that it's incredibly boring. There is no entertainment other than strange mushrooms and trying to avoid all the horse by-product on the trail. Avoiding horse poo is fun but 14km of it is excessive! The trail is a road (hard pack and did I mention boring?) all the way till the Bryant Creek hut after which it's half a road (half boring?) till Assiniboine Pass. The other main problem is that there is quite a bit of elevation gain via Assiniboine Pass (520m or 1700ft) and that the gain doesn't really start until you're ready to pass out from the boredom of the first 20km.
 

Packing up at the trailhead. Weather is gloomy but spirits are still high at this point!
 

It's a road. A long, long road ahead. You used to be able to bike the first 14km of it but signs at the trail head and along the road indicate that this is no longer allowed. It's either a horse, your feet or a chopper.


The Spray River


Rod and Hanneke take a break on one of the bridges along the road. At least the views open up in these places, allowing a slight distraction from the monotony.


Jon likes to get closer to the action than a bridge normally allows...


Rod hiding from the bears. Seriously, there are a lot of bears once you get around the Bryant Creek cabin area to the Assiniboine area. We saw lots of sign and people have been attacked and seriously injured in the area. Hiking with 4 or more people is a good way to stay safe from these giants of the Rockies.


Cloudy weather can provide excellent mood photography


One of the breaks along the way. We had a few of these but kept them to a minimum because it got harder and harder to get going again.


These weird mushrooms kept me distracted from the first 20km of boring hiking. And no - not because I sampled them. ;)


Near the ranger's cabin in Bryant Creek Meadows, just past the Bryant Creek shelter. Assiniboine Pass is out of sight around the obvious mountain to the left.


Cave Mountain is straight ahead as we prepare to cross the Bryant Creek flats. Assiniboine Pass trail goes to the left of Cave Mountain. Og Pass trail goes to the right of Cave and Allenby Pass is even further to the right of Cave. The entire area to the right of Cave Mountain is closed due to sensitve grizzly bear habitat.

 
All is innocent and exciting on the first day, so we joked and talked our way through the boredom and were soon huffing and puffing our way up the horse trail to Assiniboine Pass. The sound of the choppers was a bit distracting at first, until we realized that all our food was on one of them - then we didn't mind the noise so much. (By the way, the choppers don't fly on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays so those are good days to hike in if you want some peace and quiet on the approach or exit from that area - they are quite noisy and persistent on the flight days.) So, why were we on the horse trail and not the hiking trail to Assiniboine Pass? There is a bear closure covering the hiker trail up to the Pass as part of the Allenby Pass bear closure initiative so the hikers are re-routed up the steeper, muddier and presumably safer horse trail during the main bear 'problem' season (August-October). I'm not sure how much safer our route really was because we saw the biggest patch of bluebeary jam I've seen in a while on the horse trail! We were yodeling all the way up the trail so every bear within a 30km radius was probably covering their ears in pain anyway - but better safe than sorry I guess. There was certainly a lot of bear sign around almost everywhere we hiked in the Assiniboine area.
 

Heading across the flats towards Assiniboine Pass 
 
 
The steep grunt up the horse trail went by fairly quickly. The trail was muddy and deeply rutted, as you'd expect from a horse trail. The views kept improving as we got higher. Yolande's feet were giving her problems but being the tough girl she is, she didn't let it stop her. We patiently waited a few times while her and Jon sorted out bandages and socks before plodding on. Once we reached the sign for Assiniboine Park we were more than ready for the hike to be done. 27km is so easy to say and think about than to actually hike! The last 3km to the hut was covered quickly, unfortunately we didn't have any good views of Mount Assiniboine because of the cloud cover, but we could sense her lurking across the lake as we covered the last bit of trail to the Jones cabin (Naiset cabin # 1).

 


Taking a break at the camp just before the trail starts climbing up Assiniboine Pass


Told you there were lots of bears around!


Hiking up the Assiniboine Pass horse trail since the hiking trail is closed due to bear activity


Hanneke taking a break near the top of the Assiniboine Pass. The hiking trail comes out here and is closed due to bear activity. Small amounts of snow are starting to show up here.


At the Assiniboine Park entrance. Snow and rain greet us - you can tell we just climbed 500 meters higher!


Some lovely meadows that we crossed on the way into the Assiniboine Lodge area


Lovely weather! Where are the dang huts?!


Finally at our hut and the weather is slowly improving

 
 
The hike in took us about 7 hours of leisurely paced walking with lots of breaks for eating and resting. I'm sure that a fast, fit party could do it in closer to 6 hours. We had lots of time on the first day to simply eat, play cards and enjoy the brand new cook shelter. Unless you really need to stay in a tent, the Naiset cabins are a great experience, especially now with the cook shelter. I enjoyed them much more than the traditional ACC huts since you don't have to share sleeping quarters with 20+ people. The shelter was never very crowded either, although it did get awfully humid from all the cooking. We went to bed at 21:30, ready to bag The Nub the next day.

 


The excellent cook shelter


Awww. The cute couple... 

 

September 04 2008 - Nub Peak and Wonder Peak

 

I woke up bright and early on Thursday, September 4, ready to head out with my cameras to take photos of the mighty Mount Assiniboine. Once out near the lodge (where there are some great views of the 'boine across Lake Magog), I scouted around for the best place to set up my tripod. I found a good spot (which was kind of hard to find and had an old, broken bench for me to sit on - no other photographers found this spot in the 3 mornings that I used it) and waited for the sun to start coming up. Unfortunately the skies were not totally clear but I managed to spend over an hour snapping photos before I returned to the hut to wake everyone else up and get the breakfast water boiling.

 


A great early morning sunrise over Lake Magog with Mount Assiniboine hidden in cloud.

 
The mighty 'boine is clearing off as we pass it on our way to hike up the Nub after breakfast. 


The morning dawns clear and frosty in this view of The Towers (L) and Naiset Point (R) from near our Naiset Hut

 
 
After hiking The Nublet and Nub Peak, most of our group were content to dive into the mountain of food we had left and relax for the rest of the day. Since we left around 10ish, it was now about 15:00 and it seemed like we were running out of time to do anything else before dark. Rod and I didn't feel like sitting around for 6 or 7 hours so after lunch we decided to try scrambling either The Towers or Wonder Peak, both peaks being on either side of Wonder Pass which was only about 2.5km from the Naiset huts.
 
 
After our two peak day on Nub Peak and Wonder Peak, Rod and I ate a hearty meal (ok, believe it or not Rod can pack away a LOT of food when he has to!) and the group played cards till around 21:30 before retiring to our (very) warm sleeping bags. A warning - do not burn a whole fire log, even if it's very cold outside. You will be in a sauna, rather you should break the log in half and open the windows a bit.  Even then the huts are plenty warm if you have a decent sleeping bag. On the subject of sleeping and the Naiset Huts, I will bring my own padding next time, to supplement the provided mats. We all found the mats on the bunks pretty skimpy. Maybe we're just too fussy! 
 

September 05 2008 - Windy Ridge, Og Mountain and Cave Mountain

 

To my amazement everyone still wanted to hike on Friday! I thought for sure some folks would be ready for a break but obviously I had underestimated my group and so we decided to do the 6.5km hike to Windy Ridge and back. Originally I had planned to haul us all up Cave Mountain but a park ranger convinced us that Windy Ridge had great views and I secretly had plans to bag Og Mountain too and since Windy Ridge and Og Mountain share some real estate this worked out very nicely indeed! There are advantages to being a trip organizer. You get to manipulate a group of people for your climbing pleasure. But don't tell them that.
 
 
After freezing myself in order to get some sunrise shots of Mount Assiniboine and feeding the gang some pancakes, bacon and way too much syrup for breakfast we got on the trail by 09:00 and began the march north of Assiniboine Lodge. The Og Pass trail is very well marked but a lot muddier than we expected! Overall, on this trip, there was far more mud than I'm used to in the Rockies. Usually all you get is scree with the odd bit of grass and we would have preferred that to the sticky, slippery muck that we got. Oh well. When we finally got to the lower slopes of Cave Mountain (about 4-5km) we quickly started climbing and left the muddy soup behind.

 


A great sun rise on the might 'A'


Walking past Lake Magog a bit later, after breakfast


Delightful terrain on the way up to Og Pass, hiking through the gap along the Windy Ridge lookout (Og Pass) Trail. Og Mountain barely visible in the upper right of the photo


The rest of the group makes their way across the soggy Assiniboine Flats on the Og Pass trail. Og Mountain's four distinctive summits on the right.


Hiking towards Og Mountain from Og Pass.

 
 
The trail up to Og Pass through the trees on the lower part of Cave Mountain is well marked and obvious. When we reached the crest of this trail, between Og Mountain and Cave Mountain another sign told us that Windy Ridge was up to the left. We continued on an excellent, switch backing trail over and around the lower west end of Og Mountain and proceeded up a low angled trail to the Windy Ridge lookout. The lookout was actually located on the col between Windy Ridge and Og Mountain. Windy Ridge is marked on the map and I regret not spending the 15 minutes it would have taken to get up (and down!) it. An easier summit chance could not be dreamed of. But I wasn't sure the ridge was officially named, the weather was closing in, the air was cold and there was a lot of snow on Og that we had to get up so we left Hann and George to attempt Windy Ridge while Rod, Jon and I headed up the northwest slopes of Og Mountain.

 

 
Windy Ridge is straight ahead. The lookout is at the col.


Hanneke and Vern pose on the Windy Ridge lookout.

 
 
After scrambling Og Mountain Jon and I decided that Cave Mountain looked too easy not to try. We were slightly tempted to get up Windy Ridge on the way past, and now I really wish we had because it's officially marked on the map. Oh well, maybe another time. We met Rod, Hanneke and Yolande back at Og Pass where we re-hydrated and ate some late lunch. I had spotted a weakness on the north side of Cave Mountain which would allow us to access it right from Og Pass. Numerous other options existed on the west side but this would be the easiest way for us so we headed for the mountain while Hanneke and George started the 6km trek back to the cabins.
 
 
After another productive two peak day we relaxed on Friday evening and packed up our stuff for the next day's slog out to the car. There was an amusing moment when I went to the lodge to drop off our extra granola bars. When I barged into the kitchen during supper time (the lodge was packed full of cheerful guests) I got some strange looks. When I dumped about 100 granola bars into the small container they provided, I got some good laughs! At $2 / lb to fly those bars to the lodge, I figure we probably wasted about 20 bucks on all the extras! Oh well. At least we didn't starve right? On our Northover trip I barely brought enough food so this time we overdid it by a wee bit...
 
 
One of the guides that we had run into over the previous few days was curious where we had gone. When I told her that I had done the traverse of Og Mountain and then done Cave she was intrigued. When I explained my pathological need to bag peaks she quickly understood and began giving my route ideas for some of the peaks surrounding Lake Magog. When she mentioned a route up Naiset Point from the lake that could be done in around 2.5 hours I decided to go check out the approach on my own as an evening hike. It was 19:30 when I left the lodge and the clouds where settling in over the surrounding mountains lending a very eerie feeling to the evening. Nobody else was out and with fresh grizzly diggings and two known bears in the area I was a wee bit apprehensive about a solo hike around the less traveled south shores of Magog Lake. My peak bagging desires were stronger than my bear-phobia so I tramped around the lake on a well marked track. This side of the lake is a magical place, especially with the atmosphere of the late evening and the clouds and misty rain. I couldn't find a clear track to the summit of Naiset Point but I'm sure there is a route around that side that would go. Since I would like to do The Towers and Naiset in the same push, it's very unlikely that I would be coming up this side anyway, but it would make for a great alternate descent back to the cabins or the Magog campground.

 


Hiking along the lonely shoreline of Lake Magog, looking back at Assiniboine Lodge


Looking towards Mount Assiniboine, which is shrouded in clouds


Looking across Lake Magog with the Nub in the bg


Enjoying the cook shelter to ourselves again. Think we have enough food?! 

 
 
I returned to the cabin just before dark and we had another night of good fun playing cards and reading.
 

September 06 2008 - Wonder Pass Trail to Bryant Creek Trail and Home

 

We were determined to get an early start on Saturday (OK, really I was the only determined one but everyone else liked the idea of an early start) so instead of waking everyone up after my early morning photography session I made sure they were out of bed before I left for some sunrise shots of Mount Assiniboine. This was the clearest morning we'd had yet and I got some very good alpine glow on the Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies. I think the best part about fall photography is that the sun is rising nice a late (between 06:30 and 07:30) so you don't have to be up at 04:00 like in the spring to get some decent alpine glow!

 


Mount Assiniboine catches the first rays of sunshine on a frosty morning. I still can't believe I free solo'd the NE ridge 4 years later.

 
The cook shelter with Mount Assiniboine in the bg

 
 
After a nice breakfast of granola and oatmeal with coffee and hot chocolate we headed out for Wonder Pass on a very frosty morning. My one big regret of this trip is that we didn't do it 2 weeks later. The larches combined with the snow and frost would be mind blowing scenery! Oh well, maybe next time.
 
 
The grunt up to the pass was a good way to warm up. I was really looking forward to the views from the pass after getting a cloudy glimpse of them from our Wonder Peak attempt 2 days earlier. Since there's a lookout clearly marked on my Gemtrek map, I thought we could easily walk the 600 meters to the lookout and get some amazing photos. So when we dropped in over the pass to see thick rising clouds over the whole area it was a big disappointment. Refusing to accept defeat we tried finding the lookout but after traversing around the lower slopes of Wonder Peak on a clear trail (branched left off the Wonder Pass Trail) we lost hope and backtracked to the Wonder Pass Trail without getting our killer views.

 


The group poses on the front porch of the cook shelter before leaving


Hanneke gets ready for the hike out on a very frosty morning


Hiking towards Wonder Pass - Wonder Peak on the right


Checking out a waterfall along the way


Looking back down from Wonder Pass.


Mount Cautley looks very snowy!


Group shot at Wonder Pass


Heading down from the pass


A gorgeous morning for hiking near Wonder Pass

Looking down at Lake Gloria from Wonder Pass

 
As so often happens with clouds and mountain valleys, as we descended from Wonder Pass the views started to improve dramatically. Soon we could spot glimpses of the emerald green waters of Marvel Lake and the looming masses of Eon and Aye mountains. For the next 4 or 5 kilometers we forgot about our heavy packs and the pressure points of our boots while soaking in the incredible scenery of the Wonder Pass Trail and Marvel Lake area. I will definitely be back to explore this area some day - it's truly amazing. Rod spotted something rather large swimming in Marvel Lake, but even with my 200mm zoom we could not figure out what it was! It could have been rocks but Rod swears that it was moving, relative to the shore line. Is there a monster living in Marvel Lake? It definitely had 3 distinct bumps, or it was a group of 3 swimming together. It kept us occupied for a few minutes anyway.
 

The snow gives way to greenery as we descend steeply from Wonder Pass.


Part of Lake Gloria with Mount Gloria in the background. 


The terrain is imposing as we hike down towards Marvel Lake


We break out into the open avi slopes above Marvel Lake. The clouds have pretty much lifted now.

 

Looking back at Mount Gloria (L) and Eon (R)


Gorgeous hiking along Marvel Lake


We crossed many avy slopes on the way along Marvel Lake


Mount Gloria


Back into thicker trees before the final descent to Bryant Creek

 
 
After a nice break on a bridge crossing Bryant Creek, just across the meadows from the warden cabin we reluctantly agreed that it was time for the 14km slog to the car. (I would recommend bypassing this part of the trail by going to the Marvel Lake camp and then back to the Bryant Creek trail below the headwall to Bryant Creek Cabin.)

 


The gang on the bridge over Bryant Creek in front of the warden's cabin. 

 
 
What a slog it was! With 6km to go George's feet and legs were crying "Uncle!". Any slight downhill section in the trail would stop her dead in her track for a few minutes before she could continue. Even the 4 or more Advil that she took stopped working at this point (!!). She's a nurse so I assumed she knew what she was doing! :-) At this point Hanneke could not stop all the time or she would also be at peril of not making the parking lot. So I led Rod and Hanneke on a mechanical, robotic trudge all the way back to the parking lot with full intentions of turning back (without my pack) to help Jon and George if they needed it. After a 15-20 minute break at the car, just when I was ready to head back up the trail, Jon and George came striding out of the trail head! George actually hiked the last 5km in her flip-flops which was just enough of a relief for her feet (killed her knees though) that she made it out. I'll say this much, Yolande is tough.
 
 
After a greasy burger in Canmore we were ready (not really but...) to face the normal rigors of life again. Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is my new favorite hiking and scrambling destination. It's a slog getting to it but it's chalk-full of amazing views, towering summits and scrambles all over the place. It even has semi-private cabins and a brand new cooking shelter! What more could a peak bagger possibly want?!
Summit Elevation (ft): 
7,762
Elevation Gain (m): 
1045
Total Distance (km): 
46.00
Difficulty Notes: 

This is a backpacking trip that travels through different alpine zones from below tree line to above it. It is rugged in places and remote. There are bears too. :)

Simpson Peak

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Peakfinder calls "Simpson Ridge", "Simpson Peak". Everyone else calls the ridge, "Simpson Ridge" (even though the first ascent party wanted it called, "Mount Edmonton") and don't mention the separate high point between Nestor Peak and Simpson Ridge as a named peak at all! I can't find "Simpson Peak" on any official record for the Assiniboine area (there's a Simpson Peak in the Siffluer Wilderness too). Confused yet? So were we. We saved ourselves any extra confusion by simply combining this high point with our Simpson Ridge / Mount Edmonton trip and calling it "Simpson Peak".

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, July 7, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,874

As you can read in the "interesting facts" note above, Simpson Peak is, well, interesting. Maybe not as interesting as it's neighbor, Simpson Ridge, or "Mount Edmonton", but it has its own charms including the fact, of course, that its officially unnamed and I'm sure we're one of maybe two or three parties at most who've bothered standing on its summit.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/07/07/simpson-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Elevation Gain (m): 
1900
Round Trip Time: 
14.00
Total Distance (km): 
31.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

A long approach on good trails until Police Meadows. Remote BC bushwhack followed by scrambling with possible snow / ice on route.

Simpson Ridge (Mount Edmonton)

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

All maps, books and online sources, name this peak, "Simpson Ridge" or "Simpson Peak" without going into much detail on who exactly gave it this name or when. After doing some serious sleuthing based on a hunch from Eric Coulthard, we realized that this mountain was first climbed in 1920 by H.C. Bulyea, C.G. Wates and Miss M. Gold from the Edmonton ACC and they dubbed it, "Mount Edmonton" which was apparently not accepted by the Geographical Board of Canada at the time. 

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, July 7, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,874

As of July 2018, Simpson Ridge had been on Phil and my peak hit list for more than a few years already. The main reason was an enticing comment from the indomitable Rick Collier about his second ascent of the mountain in 1996 (76 years after the first ascent in 1920!);

 

At the high point on the NE edge, there was a large summit cairn, with - and what a wonderful surprise! -- the original 1920 record by Bulyea, Wates, and Gold, handwritten on ACC stationery. I took a photo of the record, rewrapped this original along with my own note, and placed both in the canister and the canister in cairn.

 

Reading that there might still be an original 1920 summit register waiting to be rediscovered put our imaginations into overdrive. We didn't yet know about the naming confusion or the difficult and multiple attempts at the original ascent - and didn't realize this very interesting part of the mountain's history until after returning from our trip days later. 

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/07/07/simpson-ridge/​ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,430
Elevation Gain (m): 
1900
Round Trip Time: 
15.00
Total Distance (km): 
31.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

A long approach on good trails until Police Meadows. Remote BC bushwhack followed by scrambling with possible snow / ice on route.

Strom, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1960. Strom, Erling (A native of Oslo, Erling Strom played a major role in the introduction of skiing to western Canada after arriving in Banff in 1928. In 1932 he took over the management of Assiniboine Lodge from the CPR and operated it for many years. Official name. (from peakfinder.com)

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, September 21, 2012

We scrambled Mount Strom as part of our Assiniboine approach from Assiniboine Lake. On our way over the col, before we descended to the hut I mentioned to Kev that maybe we should bag Strom "since it's right there anyway". He agreed and we spent 20 minutes (easy) negotiating rubbly slopes to the summit. The views were amazing of course. If it were summer time and we had more daylight I would've trumbled up Wedgewood too but it wasn't and we didn't so I didn't. ;-)

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2012/09/22/assiniboine-mount-lunette-strom/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (m): 
3,023
Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,918
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

This is a hike if you've already done the approach, which is 3rd class from any direction...

Sunburst Peak (Goat's Tower)

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1953. The mountain takes its name from nearby Sunburst Lake which was named by the Interprovincial Boundary Survey. Official name. Other names Goat's Tower. (from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
3rd Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,830

Ever since scrambling Nub Peak, Wonder Peak, Og Mountain and Cave Mountain back in 2008, I've wanted to go back to the Mount Assiniboine area and bag a few other scrambles. It took way longer than expected, but finally in 2016 I managed to get another trip into the area. After a long and tiring approach the day before via Sunshine Meadows and a morning ascent of the lowly Chucks Ridge, I was ready for Sunburst Peak in the afternoon.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2016/09/24/sunburst-peak-goats-tower/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,285
Elevation Gain (m): 
620
Round Trip Time: 
3.50
Total Distance (km): 
4.10
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Moderate scrambling, especially in the conditions I had. Considering some of the routefinding and exposure, I would not rate this as "easy".

Sunshine Meadows - Mount Assiniboine

Trip Category: 
TL - Trail Hiking
Interesting Facts: 

There are several approaches into the sublime Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park area, located off the grid in British Columbia. One of the lengthiest and toughest, but also the most scenic, is via the Sunshine Meadows and Banff National Park, over Citadel and Fatigue Passes and through Golden Valley and the Valley of Rocks, past Og Lake and finally, the Lake Magog campground.

Technical Difficulty Level: 
4
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Friday, September 23, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,373

Ever since I first backpacked into the Mount Assiniboine area in early September 2008 from Mount Shark, I've wanted to go back in larch season - sometime in the last two weeks of September. I did go back to the area on September 22, 2012 but avoided most of the larches by going in via Settler's Road and Assiniboine Lake before climbing Mount Assiniboine and Lunette Peak from the Hind Hut and returning via the same route. In 2015 I thought I'd be going back and for some reason or another it didn't pan out. In 2016 I was absolutely determined to make the hike and scramble trip work out. When the dust finally settled, it turned out that if I wanted to do this trip I was going to have to do it solo. Such is life. I've done many solo trips over the years and I was OK with it for this one too. I settled on some dates where the weather fx was looking pretty fine and reserved a seat on the earliest departing Sunshine Meadows Bus to save myself 500m of elevation gain and 6.5km of approach distance. Boy, am I glad that I did that!

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2016/09/23/sunshine-meadows-mount-assiniboine/​ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Elevation Gain (m): 
1000
Round Trip Time: 
8.00
Total Distance (km): 
28.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

This is a long, difficult hike through remote and rugged terrain but the trail is excellent and the views should keep you entertained enough to forget about your sore shoulders and feet.

Towers, The

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Arthur O. Wheeler in 1917. The mountain features large, tower-like spires. Official name. First ascended in 1916 by Interprovincial Boundary Commission. (from peakfinder.com

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
3rd Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,846

After completing a truncated version of the Cautley Traverse (missing Cascade Rock and Wonder Peak), I found myself a bit dissatisfied with the idea of simply heading back to my camp at Lake Magog. I was feeling disappointed with being turned back on Gibraltar Rock as well. It felt like I had over-complicated what should have been an easy traverse and on hindsight, I had indeed done just that! Cascade Rock was easy hiking on the north end of the traverse (not the south), and Wonder Peak could be accessed via a hidden chimney on climber's right of the seemingly impenetrable cliffs blocking the route from Ely's Dome. 

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2016/09/25/towers-the/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,338
Elevation Gain (m): 
800
Round Trip Time: 
6.00
Total Distance (km): 
13.50
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Mostly easy to moderate scrambling if on route. There are a lot of cairns and flagging but tricky terrain and exposure awaits you if you miss these markers.

Wonder Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Arthur O. Wheeler and Conrad Kain in 1913. The view from the summit of this mountain inspires "wonder." Official name. (info from peakfinder.com

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
3rd Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,852
Rod and I set off from the Jones Naiset Cabin around 16:00 on Thursday, September 4th under a mostly cloudy sky. There was very little wind and quite a bit of snow on the surrounding peaks but we were confident we could either scramble up Wonder Peak or The Towers and return before dark. The trail up to Wonder Pass went by quickly and was an easy 200 meters of height gain out of the way.
 

!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2008/09/04/wonder-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,357
Elevation Gain (m): 
500
Round Trip Time: 
4.00
Total Distance (km): 
10.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Mostly an easy scramble on a scree trail - some steep bits just under the summit.

Banff National Park

 
 

In the fall of 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers stumbled across a cave containing hot springs on the eastern slopes of Alberta's Rocky Mountains. From that humble beginning was born Banff National Park, Canada's first national park and the world's third. Spanning 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 square miles) of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers, Banff National Park is one of the world's premier destination spots - from Parks Canada.

 


[A location map for Banff National Park.]

Aberdeen, Mount (Hazel Peak)

Trip Category: 
MN - Ski Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named by J.J. McArthur in 1897. Gordon, Lord John Campbell (Lord Gordon was the Marquis of Aberdeen and the Governor General of Canada from 1893 to 1898. He visited Lake Louise in 1893.) Official name. Other names Hazel Peak. First ascended in 1894 by Samuel E.S. Allen, L.F. Frissel, Walter D. WilcoxJournal reference CAJ 1-330; AJ 18-109. (from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,150

It seems that every time someone posts a trip report about climbing Mount Aberdeen (and Haddo), folks inquire about an easy ascent via the south slopes - the alternate descent route. While this probably seems anathema to most climbers, it makes perfect sense for folks who simply want to enjoy stunning views from the top of a very well placed peak in the heart of the Lake Louise group without all the messing around with ice climbing and usually taking 2 or 3 attempts to get up the darn mountain since everyone seems to under estimate the 'short' approach the first time around!

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2015/03/08/aberdeen-mount-hazel-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,342
Elevation Gain (m): 
1820
Round Trip Time: 
13.50
Total Distance (km): 
25.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Very complex avalanche terrain when done in winter! Do NOT attempt unless you are very confident in the conditions. And even then, give it a second and third thought.

Alexandra, Mount

Trip Category: 
MN - Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named by James Outram in 1902. Alexandra, Queen (Queen Alexandra was the consort of King Edward VII.) Official name. First ascended in 1902 by James Outram, guided by Christian Kaufmann. Journal reference AJ 35-182; APP 10-147; CAJ 25-25. Other reference Outram 400. (from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
8
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
5.0-5.2

YDS Grade: 
II
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, September 26, 2014 to Sunday, September 28, 2014
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,388

Every once in a while I do a mountain trip that feels like it redefines my approach to climbing, skiing or hiking or whatever activity I happen to be doing at the time. This past weekend I experienced such an event on Mount Alexandra, deep in the heart of the Alexandra River Valley near the headwaters of the Saskatchewan and Columbia Rivers. Here's some words that come to mind from the past few days; bushwhack, lost, confused, rain, sun, clouds, snow, cold, warm, blue sky, crevasses, snow, ice, rock, streams, lakes, boulders, exposure, waterfalls, mountain goat, exhaustion, blisters, bruises, alders, devil's club, slabs, fall colors, bear, rough roads

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2014/09/27/alexandra-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
11,116
Elevation Gain (m): 
3900
Total Distance (km): 
32.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

Long, complicated approach via South Rice Brook. Scrambling up cliffs to 5.2 crux rock step. Glacier travel with huge crevasses and snow, ice or rock scramble to summit.

Amery, Mount

Trip Category: 
MN - Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1927. Amery, Leopold C.M.S. (Leopold Amery was a British politician who twice visited the Canadian Rockies. He was the author of, "In the Rain and the Sun." a book that described his travels in the Rockies. (see biog.)) Official name. First ascended in 1929 by Leopold Amery, B. Meredith, guided by Edward Feuz jr.. Journal reference CAJ 18-3.(from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
4th Class

YDS Grade: 
I
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, September 7, 2012
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,329

Wow. That 3 letter word pretty much sums up this trip. Don't bother reading further unless you're interested in more detail. :-)

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2012/09/07/amery-mount-monchy-hooge-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,922
Elevation Gain (m): 
2000
Total Distance (km): 
25.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

Glacier route includes crevasse issues and steep snow slopes. Don't minimize these risks and learn how to manage them before attempting this trip.

Andromache, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Alpine Club of Canada in 1948. Andromache was a woman in Greek mythology who was the wife of Hector. This mountain stands to the north of Mount Hector. Unofficial name. First ascended in 1887 by James J. McArthurJournal reference AAJ 7-354; CAJ 33-147. (info from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Med
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,996

After summiting Little Hector, Wietse and I began our descent and traverse over to the rubble ascent slopes to the unnamed peak and Andromache's summit. We chose to keep as much elevation as possible and thankfully passed over some snow patches on our traverse. The sun was really hot and with the cold snow we could have very refreshing Gatorade slushies for the remainder of the day!

 

The traverse from Hector Pass to the base of the ascent to the unnamed peak was no problem. About 1 hour and 20 minutes after leaving Little Hector's summit we were staring up at a depressingly large pile of loose rock again! ;-) The 'Chossies' were once again living up to their reputation of loose, crappy rubble. We both tackled the slope head on to get it done and over with. We came over the edge of the first rise only to discover another rubble slope ahead. After replenishing our Gatorade slushies with slightly pink snow (does anyone know if that stuff is bad for you?) we continued on. Wietse was operating on about 4 hours of sleep and by the time we arrived on the summit of the unnamed peak he was looking a little tired. After a quick break we pushed on to the slightly lower summit of Mount Andromache.

 


[Descending a snow bank between Little Hector and Andromache.]


[Wietse grunts up Andromache's south rubble slope with Little Hector rising dramatically behind him.]


[Hiking up Unnamed with Hector and Little Hector in the background.]


[Wietse is getting tired on this HOT summer day. Maybe two peaks was pushing it a bit!]


[The summit ridge of Andromache.]

 

It didn't take long before we were going back up rubble slopes to Mount Andromache's summit. The summit view was less spectacular than Little Hector's, mainly because of the afternoon cloud. It took us about 3 hours and 40 minutes to go from the summit of Little Hector to the summit of Andromache. Wietse started to feel better again after relaxing for a bit at the summit and we started down the Northwest ridge to complete the traverse of Andromache.

 


[Sublime views of Mount Hector and Little Hector.]


[Cataract Peak looms over Molar Creek meadows.]


[More views to the north over Noseeum's ridge towards Bobac Mountain.]


[Vern on the summit of Andromache.]

 

The northwest ridge looks pretty daunting from the summit but you should not be intimidated by the snow and rock. The ridge is actually some of the best scrambling you're going to get in an 11+ hour day so don't ruin it by going all the way back down through Hector Pass! This is the only part of the day that deserved the 'Moderate' rating in my estimation and it was rather fun. The snow (glacier?) can be avoided easily on the left and we never actually had to touch the snow for the remainder of the trip. Every time you think there's no way to avoid the snow a new route possibility opens up.

 


[Wietse comes down the interesting ridge.]

 

My advice would be to simply follow the ridge as far as reasonable (there's a large cliff / block to stop you eventually) and then traverse around that block on skiers left and continue back down the spine of the ridge. Trying to shortcut down to skier's left will only result in side-hilling some of the nastiest slopes I've ever encountered. As a matter of fact I would highly recommend that if you HAVE to traverse this mountain you should ASCEND the descent route and descend over the unnamed peak and back down through Hector Pass.

 

The scree slopes off the Northwest ridge look so inviting from the road but trust me, they are HELL. The scree is a special brand of Rockies rubble that I've only encountered a few times. When you view the slope you think you're in for an awesome scree run but once you're on it you realize that it's rock-hard aggregate! The rock just didn't break up under our feet. It was like running down a cheese grater - and that wasn't fun at all. I will take tricky cliff bands over this stuff any day. Once in a while the rock would be loose and then you'd be the cheese on the grater and you know what shredded cheddar looks like - well know I know what it feels like as it's being shredded!

 


[Looking down a mild looking ridge to Noseeum Creek that is actually hellish concrete-hard scree!]


[Looking over Noseeum Mountain.]


[Looking back up the innocent looking ridge.]


[You can see Wietse is struggling to maintain his footing here!]

 

Wietse was started to feel cold by the time we neared the bottom of the rubble heap and considering it was about 30 degrees in the blazing afternoon sun, that was not a good thing. We took another short break just before tree line where we noticed that something big had been tearing up our slope in search of something to eat. The bear spray was re-holstered to my belt as I led the way off Andromache, down toward the refreshingly cold waters of Noseeum Creek.

 

I walked back along the Parkway 2km to the parked car while Wietse took a well deserved break at the creek. A nervous looking guy was waiting by the pullout near our car and after chatting with him for a few moments I knew why he was nervous. Apparently he was with two other guys who were supposed to be scrambling up (and presumably down) Andromache. He had turned around shortly after starting the scramble but his two friends continued. Now, 9 hours later they still weren't back and when I told him that we had not seen anyone else all day he was really nervous. There was nothing I could do for him at that point so I wished him good luck and drove back to Noseeum Creek to pick up Wietse. (I've been looking for accident reports on Andromache but haven't seen anything so I trust they made it off the mountain safely.)

 


[Impressive looking Little Hector from the walk back along hwy #93.]

 

Once back at the Noseeum pullout we chatted for a short while with an older gentlemen who I think was named 'George'. (I now think this was George Brybycin, a well known local Rockies landscape photographer.) He was considering going for Noseeum Peak but didn't know if he could navigate through the canyon created by the creek. He told us that he'd been climbing for about 40 years and how every year he climbs Mount Hector from Little Hector. I asked him if he used an axe or crampons and he kind of laughed. He just scrambles up there! I mentioned the glacier and snow but he dismissed it as 'not a big deal'. It reminded me how sometimes we can make everything a big adventure requiring all sorts of fancy gear but for some experienced mountain travelers even a glacier can be crossed without fancy equipment, using experience and a cool head.

 

After bidding George "good luck" we headed home.

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,830
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

Other than concrete-hard scree there are no major difficulties on Andromache.

Anthozoan Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1925. A fossilized coral known as anthozoan is found in the Devonian limestone of the mountain. Official name. (info from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, September 8, 2005
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,695
After scrambling Pika Peak earlier in the day on September 6 2005, and then backpacking from the Hidden Lake campground to the Baker Lake campground it was time to traverse Anthozoan Mountain. Before I get into that, I must stress that the bugs at the Hidden Lake camp were terrible, even in early September. This surprised us - we had assumed that a few good frosts would have killed off the mosquitoes, but it didn't. 
 

[The clouds and snow from the previous day are ancient history as we hike towards Boulder Pass under gorgeously clear and crisp skies.]
 

[Gorgeous Ptarmigan Lake with Mount Douglas and St. Bride in the background]
 

[Looking back along the fairly trashed trail towards Mount Redoubt - the very last Kane scramble we'd bag in the Skoki area.]
 

[Looking back along Baker Lake as we approach our camp site. Ptarmigan looming in the background.]
 

[Looking down at the Baker Lake outlet that we'd cross to access Anthozoan / Brachiopod from our camp site.]
 
We didn't originally plan on a full traverse of the mountain. To tell you the truth I was quite surprised by how far apart the Brachiopod and Anthozoan summits are. The two are fairly distinct mountains even though they are part of the same ridge system.
 
I would certainly NOT recommend doing Anthozoan the way Kane has it pictured in the scrambles book. We tried the side-sloping method from the pass and other than losing elevation needlessly and traversing endless blocks of loose scree and slabby terrain we didn't gain anything over the method I would propose! I would suggest that you first tag the north summit via scree slopes directly from the Brachiopod / Anthozoan col and then traverse the entire length of Anthozoan to tag the true summit. The traverse is moderate at most and is quite pleasant.
 

[Vern and Rod start off on a good trail from the Baker Lake camp towards Brachiopod (L)]
 

[Jon and Rod on the traverse into the valley between Heather Ridge (L) and Brachiopod (OOS on the R).]
 

[Looking up at the north end of Anthozoan's ridge.]
 

[Mount Temple peeks over Unity Peak]
 

[Looking down on Heather Ridge from near the summit with Richardson, Pika and Ptarmigan peaking beyond.]
 

[Mount St. Bride]
 

[Mount Douglas can apparently be scrambled (difficult).]
 

[Vern and Jon on the true summit of Anthozoan]
 

[Jon starts the traverse towards the north summit of Anthozoan with Brachiopod behind and Fossil looming over Brachiopod.]
 

[Looking back along Anthozoan's summit ridge to the true (south) summit from the north one.]
 

[Looking back at the west side of Anthozoan as we start up Brachiopod.]
 
After tagging the true summit I would either bail to the valley below (you'll have to regain height to the Brachiopod col) or go back the way you came. Really I would suggest that you traverse Brachiopod from north to south, go down to the col and then traverse Anthozoan, bagging both of its summits before bailing to the valley and enjoying an easy hike back out.
 
I enjoyed the views off of Anthozoan and once we figured out that the traverse (on the way back) was the way to go I rather enjoyed this little mountain. I wasn't liking things so much on the way up though! After Anthozoan it was time to take our lesson and do a complete north to south traverse of Brachiopod Mountain.
Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,842
Total Distance (km): 
25.00
Difficulty Notes: 

A moderate scramble, made only slightly more difficult by doing a complete traverse of the summit ridge.

Arctomys Peak

Trip Category: 
MN - Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Arthur O. Wheeler in 1919. Arctomys is the Latin name for the whistling marmots which are a widespread and popular animal in the Canadian Rockies. Official name. First ascended in 1918 by Interprovincial Boundary Commission Journal reference AJ 39-62. (from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Grade: 
I
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,793

Once we descended from Christian Peak and looped back to our traverse tracks from the day before, we decided to give Arctomys Peak a try. I think we all underestimated the amount of effort required to get all the way over to the eastern edge of the Lyell Icefield from the south ridge of Christian Peak, never mind the effort to then descend 400 vertical meters, cross another small icefield and then re-ascend to the summit of Arctomys. Now reverse it all the way back to the Lyell Hut!! Sometimes we are just suckers for punishment. 

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2015/06/27/arctomys-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,164
Elevation Gain (m): 
1200
Round Trip Time: 
8.00
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

Remote glacier travel with some crevasse hazards depending on the time of year.

Armor Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Also known as the "North End of Protection" - this peak lies at the north end of a long ridge running from North Castle to Bulwark.

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,895

Spurred on by a recent trip report on ClubTread from Jose and Fabrice, I decided that Armor Peak would be a nice objective for the first day of June 2013. Raff and Wietse agreed and we settled on an 06:30 departure from the Petro Canada on Hwy 1 on Saturday morning.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2013/06/01/armor-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,498
Elevation Gain (m): 
1400
Round Trip Time: 
8.50
Total Distance (km): 
20.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Hiking and easy scrambling if dry. Severe avalanche slope if there's snow on it.

Astley, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Naming: Astley, Charles D'Oyley (Together with his brother Willoughby, Charles D'Oyley Astley operated the CPR boat concession on Lake Minnewanka in the late 1800's. The name is no longer official for some reason.) Unofficial name.

 

(from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,900

Mount Astley is interesting for a number of reasons. I wasn't even aware of this peak before I found out that Raf and Eric were planning to ascend it on Sunday, June 7th and invited me along. I did absolutely no research and for some reason Raf convinced me that it was a short day out. I blew off Phil Richards (we were planning Threepoint Mountain) because of a later start on Astley and a feeling of laziness induced by a long drive and ascent of Wildhorse Ridge with my family the day before. Sorry Phil!! ;)

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2015/06/07/astley-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,515
Elevation Gain (m): 
1500
Round Trip Time: 
9.50
Total Distance (km): 
19.00
Difficulty Notes: 

The final summit ridge to the highest point is very exposed and loose, other than that it's a moderate scramble on scree and slabs.

Aylmer, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named by J.J. McArthur in 1890. J.J. McArthur, who completed the first ascent, was from Aylmer, Quebec. Official name. First ascended in 1889 by J.J. McArthur. Journal reference CAJ 10-32. (from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,162

After scrambling up Commonwealth Peak the day before, Keith and I found ourselves driving to the Mount Aylmer trailhead at Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park on Saturday morning, June 27 2009.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2009/06/27/aylmer-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,375
Elevation Gain (m): 
1680
Round Trip Time: 
10.00
Total Distance (km): 
33.00
Difficulty Notes: 

The crux can be bypassed making this a simple mountain hike 'n bike.

Baker, Mount

Trip Category: 
MN - Ski Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named by C.L. Noyes, H.P. Nicholls, C.S. Thompson, G.M. Weed, Ralph Edwards in 1899. Baker, G.P. (A memer of the Alpine Club (London) who accompanied members of the Appalachian Mountain Club to the Rockies in 1897) Official name. First ascended in 1923 by Walter D. Wilcox, guided by Rudolph Aemmer. Journal reference App 9-21. (from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Grade: 
I
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, April 20, 2012
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,172

Approach

We'd originally had a trip planned for the Asulkan Hut in Rogers Pass for the weekend of April 19-23rd. Due to poor conditions the objective was changed at the last hour to Peyto Hut on the Wapta Ice field instead. Some of us could only make it for Friday night while a group went in on Thursday already and left on Sunday.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2012/04/20/baker-mount-tilly-peak-peyto-hut/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,407
Elevation Gain (m): 
1520
Total Distance (km): 
25.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Glacier route includes crevasse issues and steep snow slopes. Don't minimize these risks and learn how to manage them before attempting this trip.

Balfour, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named by James Hector in 1859. Balfour, Professor John Hutton MD (Professor Balfour was a professor of botany at Glasgow University and Dean of the medical school at the University of Edinburgh. He provided much encouragement to the Palliser Expedition.) Official name. First ascended in 1899 by C.L. Noyes, Charles S. Thompson, G.M. Weed. Journal reference CAJ 1-151; App 9-20; 92. Other reference Trail to the Charmed Land-Ralph Edwards. (from peakfinder.com)

Trip Category: 
MN - Ski Mountaineering
Technical Difficulty Level: 
8
Endurance Level: 
High
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,272

Day 2 - Balfour Hut -> Mount Balfour -> Balfour Hut

 

TJ's alarm woke up the hut by going off repeatedly every 2 minutes for half an hour as TJ slept blissfully unaware of the annoyance with his industrial strength ear plugs. By 07:00 Ben had the lights on and the water boiling and we reluctantly left our warm sleeping bags for breakfast. TJ finally decided it was time to wake up and shut down his alarm. I barely managed to choke down some Nutri-grain cereal bars and some instant Starbucks coffee while TJ and Ben stuffed themselves with as much oatmeal as humanly possible. 

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2010/02/20/balfour-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,735
Elevation Gain (m): 
1300
Round Trip Time: 
8.00
Total Distance (km): 
10.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Glacier route includes crevasse issues and steep snow slopes. Don't minimize these risks and learn how to manage them before attempting this trip.

Ball, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named by James Hector in 1858. Ball, John (John Ball was Under-secretary of State for the Colonies and was influential in obtaining funding for the Palliser Expedition; first president of the Alpine Club (London)) Official name. First ascended in 1904 by J.D. Patterson, guided by Christian Kaufmann, Hans Kaufmann. (from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
8
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,311

I woke up at 0315 on Saturday morning, August 14 2010 eager to drive to the Marble Canyon camp ground and a bushwhack up Haffner Creek. OK, I wasn't exactly eager, but I did wake up! I arrived at the parking lot around 06:00 and by 06:30 our party of four was starting up Haffner Creek. I was joined by So, Andrea and Eric for this adventure.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2010/08/14/ball-mount-beatrice-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,863
Elevation Gain (m): 
1850
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

A long approach through heavy burn involves route finding. Snow and ice on route will complicate the upper mountain - ice ax and crampons highly recommended.

Beatrice Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Alpine Club of Canada in 1912. Schultz, Beatrice (Beatrice Schultz climbed this mountain in 1912.) Official name. First ascended by J.P. Forde and party which probably included Beatrice Schultz. (from peakfinder.com)

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,125

After ascending Mount Ball we decided to give Beatrice Peak a go. It seems very minor compared with the bulk of Ball, but it's an impressive height on it's own. It's only 25 meters lower than Stanley Peak.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2010/08/14/ball-mount-beatrice-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,253
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Difficulty Notes: 

A steep, loose gully to exit the peak could be problematic with a large party or snow / ice.

Beehive, The (Lake Agnes, Mirror Lake)

Interesting Facts: 

Named by J. Willoughby Astley in 1890. The mountain resembles a beehive. Official name. First ascended in 1891 by Samuel Allen. (from peakfinder.com

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,270

On Friday, September 25 2010 Hanneke and I did a nice hiking circuit in Lake Louise. Our route took us to Lake Agnes, over The Beehive and down to the Plain of Six Glaciers trail back to the parking lot. The Beehive is not a tough scramble by any means, but it does involve some elevation gain and consequently some very sublime views.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2010/09/25/beehive-the-lake-agnes-mirror-lake/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
7,448
Elevation Gain (m): 
860
Total Distance (km): 
11.50
Difficulty Notes: 

Hiking on trail - some minor exposure and loose scree.

Bell, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Alpine Club of Canada in 1910. Bell, Nora (Miss Bell was a member of an ACC party which made the first ascent of Mount Bell during the club's 1910 Annual Camp held at Consolation Lakes.) Official name. Other names Mount Bellevue. First ascended in 1910 by N. Bell and others. (info from peakfinder.com

 

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,910

On Saturday, October 14 2006, I scrambled Mount Bell with Sonny, Calvin and Jeff. The weather was very acceptable for mid-October with some high cloud and temperatures anywhere from around 10 degrees at the base of the mountain to around 0 at the summit. There are no real route-finding issues on this scramble. We chose to do the 'alternate' approach, going up the scrubby, steep slope above Boom Lake rather than all the way to Taylor Lake and then to the col.

 

There are two things that may color my perception of this scramble a bit more negative than it would otherwise be. The first is that I was sick already before the trip (I was sick on Yukness already the week before!) and it only got worse as the day wore on. By the time I was done I had a good fever going. This made the whole outing quite unpleasant for me, physically. The second is that I really, really, really HATE rock-hard scree slopes. Even worse is that I forgot my trekking poles for the first time in over 2 years - bad timing! So with those two disclaimer statements up front let me continue my report...

 

After getting up to Boom Lake, we took some pictures in the morning mist. After enjoying the stillness of the morning, we headed around the lake on the North side, following a trail right by the shoreline. We followed this till we came to a large pile of rocks, settled between a small pond and Boom Lake. We started up the avi slope coming down to the pond. If we wanted to avoid losing elevation later we should have started traversing climber's left after getting to tree line to gain the col directly. We didn't know this though, so we went straight up to the ridge above us before realizing our route error. But Jeff made a much worse choice!

 


[Calvin and Sonny tramp up the highway to Boom Lake.]


[The highlight of the day was a gorgeous Boom Lake vista with early morning fog and complete silence. I should have stayed here a few hours and headed back.]


[A gorgeous place to meditate life.]


[Hard to be grumpy with views like this towards Chickadee and Chimney Peaks across Boom Lake!]


[Now the fun begins... Looking back down the steep avy slope above the lake that we ascended.]

 

The lower slope above the lake was nasty, hard dirt / scree but the views opening up to the south towards Boom Mountain and west to Chickadee and Chimney Peaks made up for it (almost). Jeff out-paced us quite quickly and was soon headed up to the wrong summit! He didn't realize that we had to go left at the ridge. I wish he had it right because our day would've been a lot easier! Once he was half way up the wrong slope we yelled at him but Jeff decided to bag the nub anyway - a decision that probably cost him the summit in the end but Linda would be proud! ;-)

 


[Calvin and Sonny start working their way slightly left, we could have gone even more. Stunning views!]


[Chimney Peak]


[Apparently Jeff didn't read the guidebook! He's busy ascending the wrong summit here... He should have turned the opposite direction.]


[Pretty good rock on the ridge, starting up to the main summit now.]

 

Once reaching the ridge we realized we were high above the col and reluctantly set off down the ridge about 100m vertical to reach the col. I was feeling quite dizzy by this time but the weather was great, the views were only getting better and the ridge started getting exciting so there was really no good reason to turn back. My favorite part of the day was scrambling up this ridge. Too bad I was so dizzy or I would have stuck to the ridge even more than I did. If you don't like ridges there's lots of nasty, big, loose scree to keep you company on climber's left.

 


[On the summit ridge looking back at our ascent route from Boom Lake at lower right and Jeff's false summit to the east.]


[Fantastic views off the blocky ridge towards Chimney Peak and the glaciers lining it's east face.]

 

Speaking of loose rock, don't climb Bell with lots of other people because you'll probably kill one of them with large rock fall. (or one of them will kill you) I found the rock disturbingly loose in places, even on the cliff bands where rocks the size of a small car would shift with your weight sometimes. Good thing I left my helmet in the car to save weight eh?!

 


[I have to admit the views from Bell are pretty spectacular on a nice day. This is the view towards Castle Mountain.]


[Chimney.]

 

After an eternity of false summits we were finally on top. I couldn't believe that I was actually stubborn enough to make it to the top in my condition and even Sonny professed to feeling lethargic on this particular outing. Jeff was feeling exhausted too and turned back well before the summit. (We never did see him again till the parking lot at the end of the day.) Calvin seemed unaffected so I guess the rest of us just need to exercise more or something!

 


[Summit views across Panorama Ridge to Mount Temple.]


[Looking across the gorgeous Consolation Meadows to Bident, Quadra and Mount Fay on the left and Temple on the right.]


[Closer shot of Bident, Quadra, Fay and Consolation Pass at lower right.]


[Looking over the "Chick-a-boom" col (R) and Chickadee Peak.]


[The always-impressive Castle Mountain massif across the Bow Valley and the TCH.]


[Ball and Beatrice on the left and Stanley on the right. Boom Mountain in the foreground.]


[Mount Fay with Deltaform in the background.]


[Sonny approaches the summit with Whymper in the background.]


[Deltaform is an impressive beast!]


[Calvin, Vern and Sonny on the summit.]


[Heading back down to Boom Lake - Storm Mountain in the distance just right of center.]

 

The views were incredible but the wind was biting. Soon we were headed back down. Here's where the negative feelings towards Bell start for me. The loose, hard, shifting, solid, big, small rocky terrain was not that much fun. Since the views were basically done the only thing to look forward to was a 5km march on steep, unstable terrain to get back to the lake and then another 5km plod on a concrete-hard trail in the trees that seems to go up more than down. Don't say I didn't warn you either! Pick a nice clear day to do this one or you may be disappointed.

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,548
Elevation Gain (m): 
1200
Total Distance (km): 
20.00
Difficulty Notes: 

No major difficulties if scrambling the Kane route in dry conditions. This is a longish day trip.

Bident

Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Friday, July 27, 2007 to Saturday, July 28, 2007

The guide book is obviously out-of-date on these climbs, or at least the access to these climbs but in doing some research on the internet on Thursday night I was a bit more prepared for the actual difficulty. Both Rick Collier (bivouac.com) and Alan Kane indicated quite clearly that they consider these two mountains difficult. If Collier considers something "difficult", I won't take it too lightly! :-)

I don't have too much to add to JW's account except that our trip even started out on a sour note when we were an hour late getting to Morraine Lake because of a shut down on the trans Canada highway. Some trips are over before they even start and this one definitely had that feel to it for some reason!

I should point out that I think JW would have been keen to at least give Bident a try but I was having second thoughts considering the cold, wet weather and my inexperience at traversing steep snow/ice above a gaping crevasse (!) and Kev wasn't too excited about down climbing into the schrund in a whiteout so that's how we came to the decision to back off the route.

There were some successes though. We managed to bivy (no tents) at 9,000 feet in pouring rain and not get cold. We managed to climb some very loose / slippery 5.4 terrain (JW was once again the hero on a basically unprotected lead) in the rain. The terrain was so loose that rocks would come down either on their own or with the slightest nudge. Both Kev and I got some damage from rockfall and there were a bunch of very close misses.

We also learned to make sure our rappel anchor was hanging well over the lip of the rappel. JW climbed back up the rope twice after our rappel to unstick the ropes. The first time it was just caught on something (the terrain was really broken up) but the second time the rope couldn't even get through the rappel anchor (tied off cord) because it was caught between the anchor and the edge of the rappel terrain. We pulled on that rope with three guys and couldn't get it down! JW climbed all the way up our rappel route, again basically unprotected because of the horrible rock, and rescued the rope!

It was a great alpine experience for me, even though it was disappointing to come up so short on our objectives.

Big Bend Peak

Trip Category: 
OT - Off-Trail Snowshoeing
Interesting Facts: 

A big, beautifully situated peak along the icefields parkway that is easily accessed from the road.

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Grade: 
I
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,814

On Sunday, April 21 2013 I joined Steven, Ben and Eric on a two peak day in which we snow shoed Big Bend Peak (BBP) and Mount Saskatchewan Junior (MSJ).

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2013/04/21/big-bend-peak-mount-saskatchewan-junior/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,232
Elevation Gain (m): 
1100
Round Trip Time: 
9.50
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

Winter ascent includes serious avalanche risks. Learn how to manage these risks and perform avalanche burial rescues before attempting this trip.

Bison Peak (MU1, Buffalo)

Interesting Facts: 

This peak was first climbed in 1988 by Graeme Pole and named "Bison Peak". This makes perfect sense since Bison Creek is just to the north and "Bison Tower" lies to the northeast. For some reason the name was dropped and changed to "Peak MU1" - presumably for "Murchison" which lies north. I'm maintaining the original (unofficial) first name of the peak since I think it make sense and sounds better than "MU1". Note that Google Maps also names this peak, "Bison".

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, July 12, 2013
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,926

On Friday, July 12 2013 I was joined by Wietse for an attempt up a relatively unknown peak along the icefields parkway - Bison Peak (see the interesting facts above for a discussion on the naming of this peak). All we had to go on was a terse description by Graeme Pole on Bivouac.com. Well, as it turns out this terse description is pretty much all you need to summit this mountain! :)

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2013/07/12/bison-peak-mu1-buffalo/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,600
Elevation Gain (m): 
1340
Round Trip Time: 
6.00
Total Distance (km): 
7.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Steep, loose gullies to the summit could be an issue with large groups or snow / ice. Caution is advised.

Black Brett

Interesting Facts: 

"Black Brett" is an unofficial outlier of Mount Brett, lying just to the SE of that official mountain.

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Monday, August 7, 2017
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,842

I wasn't sure if I was in the mood for another peak as the August long weekend came to a close. I'd spent the weekend relaxing with family and was still feeling the effects of some pretty long days in the hills the weeks previous. Thanks to wildfires in BC and especially in the Verdant Creek and Ball Pass areas, the air was also very smoky in much of the Rockies. But I had the Monday off and family stuff was done, so how could I realistically just sit there and not take advantage of another beautiful day in my beloved Rockies? Precisely

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2017/08/07/black-brett/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,325
Elevation Gain (m): 
1500
Round Trip Time: 
6.50
Total Distance (km): 
20.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

There are a few moderate steps on the summit ridge that are "no-slip" zones but other than that this is pretty tame scrambling.

Bobac Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Bobac was first climbed in July of 1966 by William Putnam, David Michael, and L.R. Wallace via a long snow gully on the N side, a traverse of a rotten rock ridge to the E, and then back N on firm limestone to the summit. Bobac is the Polish word for marmot, of which there is a plenitude in the area; according to Glen Boles in "Place Names of the Canadian Alps," these critters may have been unintentionally fed by "wind-blown watermelon seeds" scattered by the first ascent party on an earlier climb. (from Bivouac.com)

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
4th Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,088

After spending an amazing morning approaching and ascending Watermelon Peak, Phil and I decided that we had enough time and energy to give Bobac Mountain a shot as part of a day trip from the Helen Creek parking lot. Due to a last minute change of objectives (we had a longer day trip originally planned), neither of us had done very much research on Bobac other than finding Josee's trip report - one of only a few available online. Josee's group found a pretty nifty scree bench traverse along the east face that they first spotted from Watermelon Peak. 

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2017/07/15/bobac-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,131
Elevation Gain (m): 
1625
Round Trip Time: 
14.50
Total Distance (km): 
28.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

The south ridge route that we took involves difficult, loose scrambling with exposure. There are easier routes but they are longer.

Bourgeau, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named by James Hector in 1860. Bourgeau, Eugene (Eugene Bourgeau was the botanist with the Palliser Expedition.) Official name. First ascended in 1890 by J.J. McArthur, guided by Tom Wilson. (info from peakfinder.com)

 

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, June 2, 2006
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,930

On Friday, June 02 2006, Wietse and I hiked to the summit of Mount Bourgeau in Banff National Park. I have wanted to do this one for a while already and even though it was a bit early in the year I figured with the dry spring we should be ok.

 

The only reason I've wanted to this one for a while already is because I suspected that it contained beautiful scenery and I wasn't disappointed in that regard! We started out from a mosquito-infested parking lot at around 07:30 under partly sunny skies. The trail is obviously very well traveled and we made quick time till coming to a raging Wolverine creek with no obvious crossing. We went a bit downstream and found a makeshift bridge of branches and logs that we used to keep our feet dry.

 


[A good bridge lower down on the approach trail.]


[A raging Bourgeau Creek that no longer has a bridge where we want to cross!]


[After the waterfalls the trail steepens considerably and we started encountering snow and mud due to early season conditions.]

 

After the creek the trail rises quite a bit steeper as it gains the headwall where the waterfalls tumble down. It was here that we started to encounter snow and mud and our travel speed started to decrease a bit. We pushed on as the views continued to improve and the trail continued to dis-improve!

 


[More of the raging creek.]

 

After getting briefly lost in the open marsh / meadows just before Bourgeau Lake, due to a flooded trail and large amounts of snow, we found some footprints and followed them up into the forest around Bourgeau Lake. We couldn't follow the lake shore because the water level was too high. Due to avalanche debris and winter blow-down, the trail above the lake to tree line was not in good condition. We ended up losing the trail several times but finally we came out on a scree slope and climbed up to the second lake. The views continued to improve as we got higher.

 


[Near Bourgeau Lake the trail started deteriorating more - mostly due to winter avalanches and the fact that Parks didn't have a chance to clear the very popular trail yet for the summer season.]


[The second lake, above Bourgeau Lake and getting above tree line. Harvey Pass is ahead and to the left.]


[Harvey Pass, looking up at a large slope leading eventually to the summit which is out of sight here.]

 

Once we got up to Harvey Pass we could see that we still had a long way to go. We struggled through some patches of waist deep snow but overall the route was clear. After summiting we had to rush down because of very rapidly changing (for the worse) weather. (NOTE: I was still very paranoid about bad weather at this point in my scrambling career. Now I realize that the clouds were harmless and I was freaking out for no reason!) 

 


[Big terrain as we start up the easy slopes to the summit.]

 
[Looking back over the Healy Meadows towards The Monarch. ++]


[Even an innocent looking snow patch can be problematic in June!]


[A wider view.]


[Looking back over our ascent slopes and towards the Ball Range.]


[Impressive view of Pilot Mountain which I would scramble solo 3 years later in 2009.]


[Dark clouds to the west over the Ball Range which includes Mount Ball and Isabelle Peak.]


[Looking towards Brett and Pilot with Hector in between.]


[Lovely summit view of a man-made structure! :)]

 
[An impressive panorama to the west. ++]

 
[Black Brett is on my list.]


[Mount Ball is a big peak!]


[Wietse starts back down.]

 
[The Monarch at Healy Creek to the left. ++]


[Looking over at Black Brett, which is also ascended from Harvey Pass.]


[It's a long way back down to the approach trail!]


[A close-up of Bourgeau Lake with it's ice breakup.]

 
[Can't get enough of these views! Black Brett at right. ++]


[Back down at Harvey Pass.]

 

Of course as soon as we got down to Harvey Pass everything pushed north and the weather was good the rest of the day. Because I was wearing a pedometer for a contest at work, I know that this is a long hike - 40,000 steps to be exact! Recommended as an early (but not too early) season objective when other, tougher mountains aren't in season yet.

 


[A coffee break near Harvey Pass.]


[A stream runs down from Harvey Pass to one of the small tarns above Bourgeau Lake.]


[Great scenery near Harvey Pass.]


[The section of trail above Bourgeau Lake is really cool hiking.]


[Warm spring hiking is the best!]


[Descending to Bourgeau Lake.]


[A sure sign of spring!]


[The big melt is going on everywhere.]


[Another sure sign of spring - my favorite wild flower - the Lady's Slipper.]

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,613
Elevation Gain (m): 
1540
Total Distance (km): 
25.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Mostly a hike - should be on trail most of the way, even past Harvey Pass. A long day, but easy scrambling.

Bow Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1922. The mountain is very near the headwaters of the Bow River which was referred by the Cree Indians as "The place from which bows are taken." Official name. Other names Goat Mountain (from peakfinder.com).

Trip Category: 
MN - Ski Mountaineering
Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,868

On Saturday, April 09 2011 So and I did the Bow Peak winter slog. This was my third attempt at this diminutive peak. In 2010 I made it all the way to the summit ridge before noticing my partners weren't following me, but rather were leaving me behind! :-) On hindsight I'm glad I turned back that day when I did because I wasn't quite as close to the summit as I thought at the time. Earlier this year we made another attempt but didn't even make it halfway to the pass due to high winds and avalanche concerns.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2011/04/09/bow-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,410
Elevation Gain (m): 
1000
Round Trip Time: 
7.00
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Winter ascent includes serious avalanche risks. Learn how to manage these risks and perform avalanche burial rescues before attempting this trip.

BowCrow Peak

Trip Category: 
OT - Off-Trail Skiing
Technical Difficulty Level: 
5
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, March 10, 2019
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,957

I forget when I first heard of BowCrow Peak but it's been on my never ending and never shrinking list of Rockies summits for years. Something that was frustrating me was that even though I had a general idea where it was located, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how anyone bagged it! It's impossible from the Bow Peak side and improbable from the Crowfoot side - although apparently the Crowfoot Glacier has been used to access it.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2019/03/10/bowcrow-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Elevation Gain (m): 
1300
Round Trip Time: 
14.00
Total Distance (km): 
30.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Some moderate scrambling and exposed terrain along with route finding through challenging and severe avalanche terrain make this a serious winter ski trip. Apparently it's a pretty sweet summer adventure too.

Brachiopod Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named by James F. Porter (a surveyor and alpinist from Chicago) in 1911. Brachiopods and other fossils of the Devonian Period cover the west slopes of this mountain.) Official name. (info from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,660
 
After summitting Anthozoan Mountain it was time to try Brachiopod. We thought we would apply our lessons learned and instead of traversing the slopes to the north summit, we would first tag the south summit of Brachiopod and then traverse the entire mountain to the north and tag the true summit that way. I believe that this is the only way to do it. Actually I would first tag the true summit of Brachiopod, then do the traverse, go down the col and ascend and traverse Anthozoan but we kind of did the reverse of that!
 

[Looking back at Anthozoan's west slope as we start up Brachiopod's south summit]


[The great view of Douglas (L) and St. Bride (R) is what makes Brachipod worth an ascent.]
 

[Looking back up Brachiopod's true (north) summit slope. It's not a very high mountain...]
 

[We even brought a lamp along so we could play cards at night. I don't lug this heavy gear around anymore... ;)]
 
Traversing Brachiopod was not difficult. I would say that the scrambling is actually a more enjoyable 'moderate' rating this way rather than just a boring scree slog. Don't get me wrong! It's still a boring scree slog to reach the south summit but after that it was good fun. Just before the north (true) summit there is some fairly interesting scrambling up slabby terrain that I would also call 'moderate' rather than 'easy'.
 
Like all the mountains in the Skoki area, Brachiopod sported incredible views into the valleys below and the surrounding peaks. All of that aside, it was not my favorite ascent in the area. The next day we did another mountain traverse, Oyster Peak, which I enjoyed more.
Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,727
Total Distance (km): 
25.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Moderate scrambling from the south summit to the north (true) one.

Breaker Mountain (Capricorn Lake)

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Arthur O. Wheeler in 1917. The snow formations on the mountain were thought to resemble the breakers on a beach. Official name. First ascended in 1917 by Interprovincial Boundary Commission. (from peakfinder.com)

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, August 5, 2016

When Rick Collier writes things like the following about any area of the Rockies I sit up and pay close attention;

 

It is a magnificent adventure that can be done only on skis in the winter or early spring – any other time of the year would turn the ascent route into rushing lakes, streams, and waterfalls; it gets one up high and into some fantastic alpine country.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2016/08/05/breaker-mountain-capricorn-lake/​ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (m): 
3,058
Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,033
Elevation Gain (m): 
1800
Round Trip Time: 
13.50
Total Distance (km): 
26.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

A very remote off-trail scramble involving high-consequence terrain, route finding and numerous river crossings.

Brett, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1916. Brett, Hon. Robert George MD (Dr. Brett was a surgeon who first came to Banff in 1885. He later became Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.) Official name.  First ascended in 1916 by A.H. Bent, C.F. Hogeboom, K.D. McClelland, James Outram, E.G. Ritchie. (from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
5.0-5.2
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Monday, August 31, 2009
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,984

After summiting Pilot I decided to take advantage of the long approach up the Redearth valley by bagging Mount Brett while I was in the area anyway. I have to say - this is a long day. When Kane says you'll be bagged afterwards, he's not kidding! After descending into the valley between Pilot and Brett I was left with almost 1000 meters of height gain and some difficult terrain to negotiate - and it was a hot day which didn't help the energy levels. That would leave me with a total of 2500 meters of height gain in a remote area on difficult terrain. It was an awesome day but probably not something I'll repeat too often - especially as a solo objective.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2009/08/31/brett-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,791
Elevation Gain (m): 
1500
Round Trip Time: 
10.00
Total Distance (km): 
22.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

Easy alternate descent is the way to go on this one! Difficult scrambling on the ridge described by Kane.

Brewster, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

First Ascent: 1926 H. W. Greenham, D. Pilley. Named in 1929 by Tom Wilson after John Brewster who was the father of the Brewster family of Banff, and a pioneer dairyman in area. (from bivouac.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, August 26, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,859

Some days are thrown off track even before reaching the parking lot. Remember Cockscomb and the way it started (and ended)? Well, on Friday, August 26th 2016, Wietse Bylsma and myself started our day with similar missteps and continued to stumble and bumble our way towards and then up and then down and then up Mount Brewster. Ironically - or maybe not - Brewster is Cockscomb's twin across the valley and even has a campground named "Cockscomb" on it's lower slopes - I should have known it wouldn't succumb as easily as expected.

 

Our first misstep was forgetting a park pass. Dang it! After that little $20 snafu, we found ourselves at the very front row of the parking lot at the Norquay Ski Resort high above the town of Banff. We were armed with a recent trip report from the Rocky Mountain Ramblers and So Nakagawa's GPS track, along with Alan Kane's guidebook description so we felt very confident of a simple ascent as we left the parking lot in cool mountain air. As pointed out in the Rambler's report, the first navigation challenge is getting through the Norquay ski resort and onto the 40 Mile Creek trail. There are official Banff Park trail signs if you're on route, but they are far apart and there are a confusing number of clearings and possibilities within the resort area. In general you want to head past Cascade Chair and Spirit Chair before following the ski-out (58) trail above the Mystic Express base area and then out of the resort area (here's a map). You will be high above 40 Mile Creek.

 


A misleading sign points down towards the creek and Cascade Mountain. You want to ignore the big arrow and stick to the left here.

 

Thanks to So's GPS track we made it through this maze with no issues whatsoever. We were feeling pretty good with ourselves. (Such a bad mistake to get cocky so early in the day...) The next 1.5 hours were a pretty decent march along the obvious and excellent 40 Mile Creek trail. Yes - it was somewhat muddy and horse-worn, but it was also nice and soft and very easy to follow. We did notice some height loss on the approach which we were expecting. Our first surprise in relation to the route on Brewster was when we passed So's descent route and realized that Kane's gully is nowhere near where So descended. This was unexpected - for some reason we both thought that we'd be ascending So's descent route. (We didn't realize it but hours later we'd ironically be on this route but much higher up - and still not on the Kane route.)

 


The first few kilometers of the 40 Mile Creek trail are prime bear habitat with berry bushes growing on each side of the trail. We made lots of noise here!


This bear is obviously well-fed on berries...


The only bridge crossing along the approach trail.


40 Mile Creek with Mount Louis rising in the distance.


A gorgeous late-summer hike along the creek.

 

After hiking for around 1.5 hours we noticed debris near the trail - as Kane mentions - and found ourselves at a campground. As soon as I saw the name of the campground on the little sign I felt we were screwed. "Cockscomb"?! Seriously?! WTF!! Honestly, if aunt Edna were along I would have turned back already at this point.

 

Instead of returning to the parking lot, we foolishly kept hiking along the 40 Mile Creek trail. Yes. We continued hiking. Why didn't we leave the trail and start ascending here as Kane describes? Well, simply because we were nowhere near 2 hours or 8.5km from the trailhead! I had us at 1:40 minutes and 7.5km - so we promptly walked another 1km down the trail, looking for an unofficial "campsite" of some sort. Of course we didn't find anything and our day started to get seriously messed around as we frantically tried to make some sense out of all the various bits of beta we had. How the heck could we be lost already - on a good trail nonetheless? Thankfully Wietse had the Rambler's trip report on his phone and we soon realized that we should have turned uphill at the Cockscomb Campground. (Update: Multiple further GPS readings, including from Kane have put the distance at around 8.1km from the parking lot to the campground.)

 


FM-10, or Mt. Cockscomb backcountry campground. Or "the campsite". We marched right past it - as it is only 8.1km from the trailhead and not 2 hours either.


Gorgeous views of Louis (L) and Fifi (R) from our turnaround point where we realized we were now off route.

 

Back at the Cockscomb campground we carefully re-read the Rambler's report and noticed some slightly disturbing details. First of all, they seemed to take a long time for their trip. We noticed that they didn't summit until around 14:00 - hours later than we would have thought based on their departure time of 07:30. After getting messed around at the ski resort, they had somehow gone too far climber's left after the big rock and ended up having to traverse some tricky terrain to get back on route. Reading between the lines a bit it seemed like after that they still had some route finding challenges. Armed with this beta, and determined not to go too far climber's left, we started up the lower bushy slopes of Brewster behind the campground.

 

It didn't take long and we were looking at the obvious, giant boulder perched up to our left on grassy slopes. We hiked up the bushy gully beneath it and stayed far away from it - determined not to go climber's left! We ended up in some thicker bushes in the lower gully before finally topping out on rubble with the throat of an obvious gully ahead and above us in the distance. I led the way into the gully on loose rock and we simply pushed our way ahead, always taking the most obvious path of least resistance as mentioned by Kane.

 


In the correct SW drainage with the obvious "big boulder" landmark clearly visible behind us. An easier path here is to hike around the boulder and up along the edge of the forest before contouring climber's right into the gully higher up where it's less tangled.


Determined not to go too far left and get lost a second time, we stubbornly stuck right in the gully. ;)


Looking ahead up the gully towards the choke point exit off the main mountain. You can already notice all the ribs / cliffs that will cause us headaches in another hour or so.

 

A few things conspired to throw us off at this point - despite being in the correct gully. First of all, we were paranoid about the overall route - simply because of the route challenges we had already experienced, and the fact that we still weren't anywhere close to So's routes. Everything felt "off" at this point - a hard feeling to describe but it's happened to me before and it really messes with the decision and route-finding centers of the brain. Once we were in the middle SW gully - there are actually THREE gullies coming off the west side of Brewster - the path of least resistance wasn't at all obvious to us for some reason. There were steep, chossy ribs and ridges descending into the gully from all sides and to be honest, it looked like almost every single path would end at some sort of overhang or nasty down climb.

 


Looking back at Wietse and the big boulder from just below the choke point.


My lens started fogging up part way up the gully. This is a critical decision point - obvious with the balanced boulder. We should have deviated from the main gully here to the right and then traversed left higher up under the pinnacles at upper left. Instead we followed our noses and the path of least resistance.


Again - the obvious pinnacle that we should have shot for (before traversing under it to the left) is visible at upper right. But the path of least resistance is clearly left. So left we go!

 

With no cairns or obvious "easy" routes, I simply ascended the most obvious and easy gully that just happened to be a direct continuation of the main one - ascending straight up towards the summit. How could we go wrong? We kept spotting what looked like fairly recent signs of travel in our slab / scree gully and to be honest we were having a ton of fun in it. The slabs / ribs were very grippy rock and the climbing was quick and enjoyable on these solid ribs just climber's right of the loose gully. We commented more than once that more scrambles should be as fun as this one was turning out to be.

 


Wietse enjoys the slabs in our first ascent gully. We commented more than once that Kane should have mentioned the obvious "hand rail" cliff band that we climbed alongside.


Looking back through my legs as we continue to enjoy the dry slabs / ribs on ascent.


At this point I'm starting to get nervous as our GPS track is starting to deviate too far climber's left of the upper bowl. Still a ways to go before we exit our gully but the scrambling is fun and there's no obvious cliffs to the summit so we keep going.

 

As we climbed the gully I started to get a bit nervous and so did Wietse. Looking at the GPS, I could tell that we were going to top out west of the summit, on a ridge that looked to be fine on the map but didn't seem to align with any of the beta that we had. Hmmm. At this point we were high enough on the mountain that we'd be on the summit by noon, so I kept leading upwards until we were topped out of the gully. From here we ascended a steep, loose slope on the west ridge to our right - but our apprehensions increased at this point. We seemed to be ascending a narrowing scree / boulder pinnacle that had steep cliffs and drop offs on every side - and very likely also at the nose - our route to the top! Sure enough. As I crested the top of the slope my heart dropped. We were totally screwed. Somehow, by ascending the path of least resistance we'd ended up hopelessly stranded about 300 horizontal and 150 vertical meters from the summit of the mountain. :(

 


A pretty darn obvious gully, I'd say! The SW ridge rising from lower center to upper left. Norquay, Edith, Louis and Fifi (L to R) in the background.

 
Topping out of the gully - but looking at what we topped out under makes us nervous. Are we headed for a similar terrain trap?


Wietse comes up the west ridge with a pretty decent panorama opening up behind him. Including (of course!) Cockscomb Mountain at center.

 
Great views but we aren't going to be on the summit of any mountain today (Brewster out of sight at left here). We should have ascended somewhere in the slabby bowl at lower left. Our ascent gully is out of sight here, but there's yet another promising looking gully at center right. 


Looking straight down the nose of our pinnacle - we won't be downclimbing that.


So very close. The summit is tantalizingly nearby, but cliffs / slabs and overhanging terrain is blocking any easy access from our vantage point in any direction.


So many different ribs / gullies and ridges on the west side of Mount Brewster. The blue dashed lines are So's ascent (R) and descent routes. You can see where we went too far up the 40 Mile Creek Trail, but then there's a possible gully route from near there (green line). We backtracked and ascended the middle SW gully, only to ascend it TWICE thanks to route finding issues. Our successful ascent line to the summit follows So's SW ridge descent. Confused yet? So were we. Obviously.

 

I'll admit that I was NOT happy at this point. Of course, neither was Wietse. We'd wanted an easy day in the mountains, with no difficulties and here we were, stuck on a pinnacle within throwing distance of the summit with no easy way to get there. Everywhere we looked was steep cliffs, loose ribs and overhanging rock. We could have tried traversing or descending either side of our slope but the terrain looked tricky and we weren't prepared for class 4 or 5 terrain on this particular day. I simply wasn't ready to give up just yet though. Wietse was FAR from convinced, but I pointed out that even if we had to descend almost 500m and spend an extra 3-4 hours attaining the summit, it was still quicker than coming all the way back on another day. Wietse didn't commit to re-ascend, but did follow me reluctantly back down our ascent gully.

 


Looking back up the false summit as we descend to our nice (and wrong) ascent gully.


Back down our ascent gully.

 

After descending at least 400-500m (we tried traversing several times before this but the terrain was never easy or moderate), we finally found a promising looking alternate gully to our left, the only other "path of least resistance" that looked easy / moderate to us from below. Wietse still wasn't convinced he was in the mood to re-ascend, but thankfully he did agree to put one foot in front of the other for an hour just to see where we got. Worst case scenario we'd discover the proper route for next time. I led up this shallower gully - being very careful to avoid going too far left again.

 


500m below the summit and it's time to try again! Spot Wietse traversing into the shallow gully towards me at far right - note the huge balanced boulder from earlier in the day just behind him.

 

You know what happened next don't you? Yep. We ended up too far climber's right of course! Wow. Sometimes I feel like such an amateur, despite hundreds of hours navigating throughout the Rockies. At a low junction in the new gully, we chose to go climber's right when we should have gone left under a prominent and obvious pinnacle feature that loomed high above us (more on the correct route later). The terrain to the left looked steep and unforgiving so we naturally went right - traversing some treed slopes before ending up on So's descent ridge. We now knew that we were off route yet again and trust me, we were very close to giving up at this point. The SW ridge (as So calls it) was pretty easy at this point however, so we decided to press upwards, counting on yet another "Hail Mary" to save us. So far the hail's hadn't worked out very well.

 


Taken on descent, this shows where we went wrong for the third time of the day. We should have trended up the left hand gully above, instead we went right and ended up on the SW ridge.

 
We are now on So's descent route and just starting up the SW ridge. This is looking down his descent valley - click the photo to view where we came up at far right. 

 

Several times on the SW ridge we thought our day was over. The final straw seemed to be when we arrived at a narrow chimney / gully feature splitting the entire ridge with no easy way down or around it. I made a difficult and exposed scrambling move through the chimney and onto steep slabs on the opposite side but the terrain above me looked complex and difficult and to be honest we were tired and grumpy at this point. Wietse was finished with the mountain and I was right behind him. I had ONE more try in me before I was pulling the plug and giving up. From the top of the slope we were on, I noticed a possible ledge traverse about 50m under us that led into the gully and then up the opposite side on easier angled terrain than what I'd just tried. We descended to the ledge and found two rocks piled on each other (cairn?) and a moderate ledge leading into the gully. We scrambled up the gully and kept going up the SW ridge - always expecting to get cliffed out at some point.

 


Great landscapes on and off the SW ridge, but these same landscapes are problematic for a  pair of scramblers trying to keep things 'moderate'.


Looking back down the SW ridge and over the chimney / gully that almost ended our day for the third time. We backtracked from here and found a way across about 50 vertical meters lower.


Now we're in the chimney a bit lower down where it's still a 'gully'. We will traverse out of it to the right here.

 

Once we were 150 vertical meters from the summit our focus changed. We were going to bag this damn mountain no matter what type of terrain we had to get up, over, around or under in order to get there! We knew there was an easier descent gully so we weren't worried about down climbing anything we'd gone up anymore. Our new attitude paid off and we finally managed to skirt over and around several ledges / drop-offs to the upper summit ridge before popping out on an airy traverse to the apex of Mount Brewster. Yes. We made it.

 


We find yet another escape off the SW ridge via moderate scrambling. Every time we thought we were going to be stopped, we managed to find a way through.

 
One of my favorite views from the ascent - nearing the main south ridge now (visible at left) but still not quite there. The gully system we'd use for descent is out of sight at lower right. 


Looking up at the summit - still not in the bag at this point!


Yet another near-miss escape along the SW ridge.

 
The south ridge at left and SW ridge at center as we near the intersection of the two. 


Still some side slogging and scree bashing along the south ridge to the summit.

 
Wietse traverses along the airy south ridge towards the summit. 

 
The view west and north (R) from the summit - FINALLY!! Hours previous we were at the 'small' bump at lower center. The obvious gully at center is NOT the Kane gully but ironically does depart the 40 Mile Creek trail at around 8.5km and probably would work - it might well be the easiest line to the summit! Peaks visible (L to R) include Edith South and North, Cory, Louis, Fifi, The Finger, Cockscomb, Ishbel and Mystic. 

 
Looking north (L) and east off the summit, over the Elk Lake approach valley with Elk Lake Pass at lower left and the huge Cascade Mountain massif filling the horizon. Mount Rundle and the town of Banff at far right. 


Mount Rundle looms impressively over the town of Banff. Ironically neither of the Kane summits is the true summit of this huge chunk of Rockies rock.

 
From L to R, Cascade, Stoney Squaw, Rundle and Norquay


I think this is Bonnet Mountain.


Distance Mount Ball.


Looking over the dual summits of Norquay at the distant, unique shapes of the Verendrye Range (R) and Split Peak (L).


The always dramatic and impressive Mount Assiniboine looms over everything with Lunette actually looking like a peak for once and Eon to the left.


Mount Aylmer is another lofty peak around Banff - rising over Lake Minnewanka.


First page of the register - a Kane entry, 22 years old.

 

It had taken us 8.5 hours to summit this "easy" peak. :| After snapping pics and signing a surprisingly full register (where the heck was the evidence from all these people?!), we started down the west ridge towards our cliffed out high point from earlier in the day - annoyingly close by.

 


Wietse starts down the west ridge from the summit - headed down towards our high point where we were stranded much earlier in the day. We will drop down into a bowl on our left, out of sight here.

 

From near the bottom of the cliffs that had stopped us earlier, we went skier's left into an obvious scree / slab gully system leading down the SW face towards our approach gully, which was well out of sight at this point. The key word here is "system". We always stuck to the easiest terrain in front of us and managed to find a path down and out into the lower gully without doing anything more than easy scrambling moves. There was lots of opportunities to get side tracked on difficult, slabby terrain. In general we descended straight down the obvious path of least resistance from the upper ridge until getting lower where we traversed climber's left on a goat trail towards our ascent route that had taken us onto the SW ridge. We noticed an obvious pinnacle rising high above us as we traversed under it and then down grass / treed slopes until we recognized where we'd earlier gone climber's right (to the SW ridge) instead of left, which would have led under the pinnacle and into the upper gully system / bowl.

 


Finally in the 'proper' easy descent gully on Brewster! And it IS very obvious on descent.


Looking up along the rock rib that eventually becomes our stranded high point (L). This is a great view of the easiest gully - but good luck finding it on ascent.


There are more than one possibility near the bottom of the upper slab / scree bowl on exit. We choose to follow easier terrain (and a goat trail) that led skier's left towards our earlier ascent line to the SW ridge and under the obvious pinnacle seen here.


Looking back up our descent gully from the same spot as the previous photo, except looking behind me rather than straight up above. Click photo for approximate route line.


A bit further along our descent / traverse, looking up at the pinnacles and back at our descent gully, now becoming quite distant. Click photo for approximate line of ascent.

 
Traversing along cliffs to skier's left. We could have likely stayed in the main gully to exit into the lower one, but we were following easy terrain and a goat path at this point. Eventually we will cross the treed slope at left and exit into the main approach gully at lower center here. 

 
Looking back at the pinnacle from even lower on our descent now. Click photo for our approximate route line.


Looking up at the section just past the last photo where we made our second critical error of the day and ended up on the SW ridge instead of in the easy gully. Red arrow is aiming for the SW ridge, green is the easier traverse to the gully.

 

After finally bagging the summit and exiting the SW gully system we were relieved to be home-free. We checked out the giant boulder (pretty cool) before heading down to the Cockscomb Campground and following the 40 Mile Creek trail back to the parking lot.

 


Back in the main approach gully, looking up. The red arrow is the approximate route we took - the terrain is much steeper than it appears in this photo. The green arrow might also work - but make sure you get under the pinnacles at some point and traverse left into the easy upper scree gully. Note the large 'balancing' boulder just under the green arrow.


Looking over the main ascent gully from beside the big boulder towards Norquay, Edith and Louis (L to R).


Cool scenery around the big boulder - it's really big.


Looking up the main ascent gully from near it's bottom, just before we head back into trees to the Cockscomb Campground.


The 40 Mile Creek trail is soft and luxurious compared to hours of scree and slab - not to mention the almost 1900m of elevation we've already done today!

 

Our round trip time of 12.5 hours should be considered rather silly - most fit parties who don't get lost (TWICE!) should be able to crack 9 hours return on this mountain without trouble. We saw many ascent times of around 4-4.5 hours in the summit register. Despite getting hopelessly tangled up in our directions and doing 2000 vertical meters of total height gain on this trip, I had quite a bit of fun on Brewster. The approach along 40 Mile Creek is excellent and the views from the summit are pretty darn tasty. Just be careful with your directions and route finding on ascent and don't be dummies like us!

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,380
Elevation Gain (m): 
1350
Round Trip Time: 
9.50
Total Distance (km): 
20.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

A myriad of route possibilities with indistinct gullies makes this peak a route finding challenge. There are moderate and difficult ways to reach the top.

C-Level Cirque

Interesting Facts: 
Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Friday, July 27, 2012
Elevation Gain (m): 
500

Caldron Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Naming: The peak lies three km to the northeast Of Caldron Lake. Official name.  (info from peakfinder.com)

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,917

When we were in the small valley, just before heading up Caldron, after already ascending Mistaya Mountain, I glanced at my altimeter. What I saw was not very encouraging. Instead of a 300 meter height gain, we now had over 500 meters! I guess all those ups and downs add up eh?! I decided not to tell Raff until we were half way up - that way he couldn't turn around anymore. What are buddies for right? :-) So we plodded on and on, taking a good number of breaks. 

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2008/09/17/mistaya-mountain-caldron-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,570
Total Distance (km): 
25.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Caldron is an easy scramble but requires crossing Peyto Creek which no longer has a bridge (as of 2016). It is a long remote day so be prepared.

Cascade Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named by James Hector in 1858. The mountain is named for the cascade or waterfall on its southern cliffs. Official name. Other names Minihapa, Stoney Chief. First ascended in 1887 by L.B. Stewart, Tom Wilson. (from peakfinder.com)

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,998

On Saturday August 29, 2009 I decided to make a solo attempt at scrambling up the popular Cascade Mountain in Banff National Park. I figured that since this was such a popular trail there would be tons of people to help scare the local bear population off the trail for me.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2009/08/29/cascade-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,836
Round Trip Time: 
5.50
Total Distance (km): 
19.00
Difficulty Notes: 

If there's snow on the upper traverse / crux this is no longer a scramble and can be dangerous. Wait until its completely dry.

Castle Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named by James Hector in 1858. The mountain was named for its fortress or castle-like appearance. Official name. Other names Mount Eisenhower. First ascended in 1884 by Arthur P. Coleman. (info from peakfinder.com

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,766

On Saturday October 20 2007 Wietse joined me for a repeat slog up into the Castle Mountain environs. This time, thankfully, we actually made it.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2007/10/20/castle-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,076
Elevation Gain (m): 
1300
Total Distance (km): 
27.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Easy to moderate scrambling depending on the route chosen up to the summit and on the return. A long day trip.

Castleguard Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Arthur O. Wheeler in 1918. Location/ Arthur Wheeler felt that, as well as having a castle-like appearance, the mountain seemed to stand guard over the southern portion of the Columbia Icefield. Official name. First ascended in 1919 by Interprovincial Boundary Commission. (info from peakfinder.com

Trip Category: 
MN - Ski Mountaineering
Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Grade: 
I

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,090

Ever since reading the Nugara's trip report on snow shoeing Castleguard Mountain I've wanted to attempt it as a day trip on skis. Kevin Barton was also very interested and since Ferenc and I were turned around due to thick cloud cover in February 2012 while on a Columbia Icefield camping trip, Ferenc was also keen on a day trip attempt.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2012/04/08/castleguard-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,138
Elevation Gain (m): 
1500
Round Trip Time: 
11.25
Total Distance (km): 
35.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

Glacier route includes crevasse issues and steep snow slopes. Don't minimize these risks and learn how to manage them before attempting this trip.

Cataract Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1908. The mountain is close to Cataract Creek. Official name. First ascended in 1930 by J.W.A. Hickson, guided by Edward Feuz jr.. Journal reference CAJ 19-36. (from peakfinder.com

Trip Category: 
MN - Mountaineering
Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
3rd Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, July 29, 2017
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,333

I capped an awesome 9 days off in July 2017, with a long-sought adventure up the distant, obscure and somewhat neglected Cataract Peak, just across the Pipestone River Valley in Banff National Park. This mountain has been on my radar for many years now - mostly because it's high (almost 11,000 feet) without being so high that it gets more attention (i.e. 11,000 feet). When Ben and Steven did it back in September of 2014 I was fairly bummed that I didn't get to join them. Since then it became very slightly more popular than it was before, with at least one or two ascents made using their excellent beta. This had a reverse effect on me, pushing the mountain down my priority list a bit. The last few years have seen many of my long-sought peaks climbed by friends and acquaintances. Often I'll try to wait a few years after a more obscure trip that I've wanted to do is published by someone else - to let the beta and fresh images from others' fade from my awareness and have a fresh experience myself. Cataract was one of these objectives for me. After Raf and Ferenc did the peak in 2015 and no one in my social circles did it in 2016, I knew it was time to put it back at the top of my own priority list before someone else put fresh images back in my consciousness!

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2017/07/29/cataract-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,936
Elevation Gain (m): 
3400
Round Trip Time: 
30.00
Total Distance (km): 
51.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

It's hard to rate this trip. It's obviously a huge objective both distance and elevation-wise but fairly easy technically if dry. I'm rating it as "easy alpine".

Chephren, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named by J. Monroe Thorington in 1918. Chephren, or Khafre, was the fourth pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt and built the second of the three Great Pyramids. Official name. Other names Pyramid Mountain , Black Pyramid. First ascended in 1913 by J.W.A. Hickson., guided by Edward Feuz jr.. Journal reference CAJ 6-94. (info from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
5.0-5.2
YDS Grade: 
I
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,266

After a solo scramble on Observation Peak, I met up with Keith Bott for the trek into the bivy on Mount Chephren on August 07 2009 in the evening. I had Chephren on the radar for a long time already and finally all the pieces of life aligned to allow me a good chance at this giant. And make no mistake about it. Chephren is every bit the giant you may have heard or suspected it is! Just gaze at it from the highway sometime and you'll have a pretty good idea of how big this mountain really is.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2009/08/08/chephren-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,716
Elevation Gain (m): 
1700
Total Distance (km): 
22.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

This is a big mountain with big terrain. Good weather and dry conditions are highly recommended to keep this beast within the realm of 'scrambling'.

Christian Peak (Lyell V)

Trip Category: 
MN - Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Sydney R. Vallance in 1972. Hasler, Christian jr. (Christian Hasler jr. was a mountain guide who worked in the Rockies during the early 1900's) Official name. Other names One of five peaks on Mount Lyell. First ascended in 1926 by Alfred J. Ostheimer, M.M. Strumia, J. Monroe Thorington, guided by Edward Feuz jr.. Journal reference CAJ 16-144. (from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Grade: 
II
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, June 26, 2015 to Monday, June 29, 2015
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,398

Friday, June 26 was a lot longer and involved than we originally planned it - a one day record amount of height gain for me at around 11,000 feet in total. It involved the entire approach to the Lyell Hut from the Valenciennes forestry service road and the subsequent ascents of Ernest, Edward and Rudolph peaks - three 11,000ers. We agreed to "sleep in" on Saturday and therefore didn't get up until 06:00. You know you're an alpinist when 06:00 is considered sleeping in. surprise

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2015/06/27/christian-peak-lyell-v/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
11,150
Elevation Gain (m): 
600
Round Trip Time: 
4.00
Total Distance (km): 
6.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Remote glacier travel and steep snow to the summit and a bergschrund which is becoming problematic, depending on the time of year.

Cirque Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1909. A large cirque lies below the northern cliffs of this mountain. Official name. First ascended in 1899 by H.P. Nichols, C.L. Noyes, C.S. Thompson, G.M. WeeksJournal reference App 9-91, AAJ 6-450. (info from peakfinder.com

 

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Tuesday, July 6, 2004
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,993

What a day! We dragged the kids all the way to Helen Lake! Actually they did very amazing. KC must have hiked about 4km in and 1000ft of height gain and Niko went about 700ft of gain and 3km in. On the way back they only went in the carriers for part of the way. I'm very impressed. This was a warm up hike for our upcoming backpacking trip into the Ramparts this September. Hanneke and I are going with some others so she wanted to make sure that she did some hiking before the trip.

 

We could not have picked a nicer day. It was 25+ degrees and there weren't too many clouds around. We even spotted a grizzly on the way back but it was a LONG ways off. The kids couldn't even pick it out. It was closer to the trail but must have wandered away before we got closer. The kids were disappointed but Hann and I were a bit relieved! There was a lot of people on the trail so we didn't feel threatened at all.

 

 
[Niko bounding up the trail, trying to catch his mom and sister. Let's see how long this lasts.]

 
[Niko is now on Hanneke's back! That's the easy way! Dolomite Peak is in the background across the Icefields Parkway.

 
[This is the upper meadow when you're still about 2km from the mountain, about 1.5 from Helen Lake.

 
[The upper meadow as you get even closer to Helen Lake, Cirque in the background. This is where you could spot a grizzly.

 
[Helen Lake with Cirque Peak in the background. This is where Hann and the kids waited while I bagged the peak.]

 

While Hanneke and the kids took a breather at Helen Lake I continued on to bag Cirque Peak. It took me about 1:40 to go up and down so I was pushing it pretty good. (Especially after biking 160+ km for the past two weeks in a row...) The ascent was very easy with some scrambling right at the very top. There is some loose stuff but no real exposure if you pick your line to the summit correctly.

 

  
[The route to the top is obvious from on top of the pass, which is gained above Helen Lake.

 
[Helen Lake and the trail are quite far beneath me as I gain the summit of Cirque Peak. Bow Peak across hwy #93 and the Lake Louise peaks in the far distance. Mount Balfour rises on the extreme right in the distance.

 
[A look back at the first summit from the true summit. This was the only real scrambling part. Iceberg Lake and Bow Falls in the distant center with Olive, St. Nicholas, The Onion, Des Poilus, Collie, Portal, Thompson and Baker from L to R in the background as part of the Wapta Icefields.

 
[Dolomite Peak with Little and Mount Hector in the background from the summit of Cirque Peak.]

 
[Vern on the summit of Cirque Peak.

 
[A panorama of the Wapta Icefields across hwy #93 looking south and west from the summit. ++]

 
[A panorama looking north to south from the summit includes (L to R), Isabella Lake, Recondite, Kentigern, Willingdon, Crown, Tower, Watermelon, Bobac, Dolomite, Lake Alice, Lake Katherine, Lake Helen, Bow Peak and part of Bow Lake. Wapta peaks on the right including Balfour, the highest peak on the Wapta. ++]

 
[Daddy's back!!! I get a greeting on my way back around Helen Lake.]

 
[Hanneke seems to be doing all the heavy lifting while I take pictures? ;-)]

 
[Hanneke and KC stop to admire the view and smell the flowers on the way back down.]

 

A highly recommended hike / scramble for any clear day - the views are fabulous!

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,820
Elevation Gain (m): 
1010
Total Distance (km): 
18.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Mostly an easy hike, some exposure on the final bit to the true summit.

Cirrus Mountain (Mount Huntington)

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1935. Cirrus clouds form at high altitudes. Official name. Other names Huntington, Mount. First ascended in 1939 by C.B. Sissons, H.J. Sissons (from peakfinder.com

Trip Category: 
MN - Mountaineering
Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Grade: 
I

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, May 31, 2014 to Sunday, June 1, 2014
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,270

As another weekend approached, the familiar email chains started to fly once again. Weather reports and routes were scouted and by the time the dust had settled there were 2 options remaining on the table; Mount Joffre or Mount Cirrus. Joffre was higher on the list (being 600 feet higher) but the weather forecasts couldn't quite agree on how much rain each area was going to get or when it was going to arrive and in what fashion (i.e. snow, t-storms or just a sprinkle). Given our dislike of crappy summit views, especially on peaks with tough approaches, we settled on Cirrus and finalized our plans.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2014/05/31/cirrus-mountain-mount-huntington/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,729
Elevation Gain (m): 
2220
Round Trip Time: 
14.50
Total Distance (km): 
20.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Steep loose hike to base of glacier followed by exposed ridge to summit - snow makes this route much spicier.

Cockscomb Mountain (Banff)

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1921. The outline of the summit was said to resemble the comb of a rooster. Official name. (from peakfinder.com

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, June 12, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,776

Cockscomb Mountain has a few things going for it. No matter how many peaks you've done, as long as it's more than one, you will have a "best" and a "worst" one. I never have to worry about my worst one now - I've apparently just completed it. Another thing in Cockscomb's favor is that I will never have to repeat it. Yes - I enjoyed it that much! ;)

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2016/06/12/cockscomb-mountain-banff/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,108
Elevation Gain (m): 
1400
Round Trip Time: 
8.50
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Pretty easy scrambling if dry and on route. Scrambling can get tricky in canyons and the approach is very rough. This isn't your typical 'easy' Kane scramble that your dear old Aunt Edna would enjoy. You've been warned.

Coleman, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1898. Coleman, Dr. Arthur P. (A geologist, Dr. Coleman was one of the first to explore the area that is now Jasper National Park.) (see biog.) Official name. (from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,135

On Thursday, July 30 2009 I joined Eric Coulthard from Edmonton on a trip up Mount Coleman in Banff National Park. In order to facilitate an earlier arrival back home to Calgary after the scramble, we both stayed overnight near the trailhead and agreed to leave the parking lot around 0530. This was my first scramble with Eric and we proved to have much in common, including our love of the mountains and our method of ascent.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2009/07/30/coleman-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,286
Elevation Gain (m): 
1700
Round Trip Time: 
8.50
Total Distance (km): 
18.00
Difficulty Notes: 

A fall on the crux would severely injure or kill so take necessary precautions.

Conical Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1924. The name refers the mountain's profile. Official name. First ascended in 1924 by Morrison P. Bridgland. (from peakfinder.com)

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
Hiking

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,840

8.5 hours after leaving the car along highway 93, Phil and I were finally done with Quill Peak and turning our collective attention towards a distant Conical Peak, rising through the smoky skies to the SE of our little perch at the edge of Quill's access glacier. Conical Peak had been on my radar for many years already - mostly due to a rumored shortcut route over, or near its summit from hwy 93 to the Dolomite Creek valley and Isabella Lake. We were planning to use this shortcut for our Recondite trip in 2013 but decided a trail approach via Helen Creek the was better option - thank goodness for that decision.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2017/08/12/conical-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,318
Elevation Gain (m): 
2700
Round Trip Time: 
15.00
Total Distance (km): 
31.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

No more than moderate scrambling on the approach. The main challenges are the sheer distance and elevation gains involved.

Copper Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named by George M. Dawson in 1884. Joe Healy and J.S. Dennis found copper near the summit of this mountain. Official name. First ascended in 1885 by J. Macoun, W.T. Macoun. (from peakfinder.com

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,795

On Thursday, July 1 2010 I was joined by Bill Kerr to celebrate Canada's birthday with an ascent of Copper Mountain in Banff National Park.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2010/07/01/copper-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,170
Elevation Gain (m): 
1425
Round Trip Time: 
8.00
Total Distance (km): 
23.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Upper moderate scrambling and some route finding make this more than just a hike. Do not follow this route if there's snow or ice on it!

Cory / Edith Pass Loop

Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Sunday, September 2, 2012

The September long weekend found our family camping in Banff National Park. We decided to finally do a hike that's been on my mind for a long time already - pretty much since I completed the scramble traverse of Mount Edith a number of years back.

The Cory Pass / Edith Pass hike is the only hike with the rating of "intense" in the Banff / Lake Louise hiking pamphlet guides. It has 1000 meters of height gain and is around 13km (loop) distance so you can imagine that it's a bit of work!

We took around 6-6.5 hours with a relaxed but steady pace, we didn't see any other kids on this hike. My kids were 11 and 13 and they carried the dog (6.5 lbs) but Hann and I carried all the rest of the food / water.

This hike is a surprising amount of work but it's worth it. The views are incredible and there's even some scrambling on the way up the ridge to Cory Pass. I would not suggest this hike for anyone with a fear of heights or exposure because they will not like the scrambling bits. I would also suggest going down the Edith Pass trail - not UP that way! It's a great descent compared to the bone jarring descent down from Cory Pass and you get exciting views of Mount Louis when you descend right past it.

Elevation Gain (m): 
953
Round Trip Time: 
7.00
Total Distance (km): 
13.00

Cory, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1923. Cory, William Wallace (William Cory was the Deputy Minister of the Interior from 1905 to 1930.) Official name. Other names Hole in the Wall Mountain. (info from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, October 21, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,812

I very rarely repeat mountains. Very, very rarely. I just don't see the point. The name of my web site provides insight to the whole point of hiking, scrambling, skiing and climbing for me - exploring new areas. But every once in a while I get an itch to do a repeat for whatever reason. Sometimes it's just that the mountain is that much fun but usually it's because I didn't get great photos or views the first time. Such is the case with Mount Cory. (For the original 2004 trip report click here.)

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/10/21/cory-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,193
Elevation Gain (m): 
1480
Round Trip Time: 
8.00
Total Distance (km): 
9.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Upper easy to moderate scrambling, depending on route choice and snow cover. There's enough confusing route options to rate it "moderate".

Cross Ridge (Lake)

Interesting Facts: 

"Cross Ridge" sits above Cross Lake to the north and just west of Mount Currie. The history of this area and White Man Pass in particular is fascinating. See the main text for more details.

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
5
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, June 24, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,529

As we traversed to the summit of Mount Currie, my eyes were immediately drawn to a distinctive ridge running west of Currie, lower down and guarding Cross Lake (which wasn't visible from our vantage). This ridge was obviously connected to Mount Currie and it looked to be very reasonable to traverse it before descending past Cross Lake to the historic White Man Pass before following the trail back down to our original ascent line and of course to the bikes at Bryant Creek. Given the historic nature of the pass and the surrounding area, I was immediately excited to add this not-inconsiderable distance and height gain to our (already long) day trip. Phil, in characteristic enthusiasm for side, exploratory excursions, replied, "why wouldn't we do that?", and so it was decided. Of course we still had to tag the actual summit of Mount Currie at this point!

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/06/24/cross-ridge-lake/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,300
Elevation Gain (m): 
2000
Round Trip Time: 
12.00
Total Distance (km): 
42.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

Despite some scrambling moves to the immense summit cairn, the biggest challenge on this ridge is getting to it - it's very remote.

Crowfoot Mountain (Redux)

Trip Category: 
MN - Ski Mountaineering
Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,050

On Sunday March 27, 2011 So Nakagawa and I skied to the summit of Crowfoot Mountain and on Saturday March 16 2019 I repeated it with Wietse Bijlsma. I always figured I’d repeat this mountain since it’s relatively easy and a surprisingly short day despite being over 1200 meters of height gain and almost 20 km of distance from the Bow Lake parking lot. The weather forecast wasn’t perfect but SpotWX was showing enough clear sky to justify getting up at 05:30 and making the effort. Avalanche conditions were still OK for Saturday but were forecast to shoot up dramatically on Sunday thanks to a drastic warming trend.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2019/03/16/crowfoot-mountain-redux/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Elevation Gain (m): 
1250
Round Trip Time: 
6.50
Total Distance (km): 
19.50
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

Winter ascent includes serious avalanche risks. Learn how to manage these risks and perform avalanche burial rescues before attempting this trip.

Crowfoot Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1959. The mountain stands to the west of Crowfoot Glacier which was named for the glacier which resembles a crow's foot. Official name. First ascended in 1950 by Mr. and Mrs. E. Cromwell (from peakfinder.com)

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,050

On Sunday March 27, 2011 So Nakagawa and I skied to the summit of Crowfoot Mountain under a clear, nearly windless spring / winter day. I haven't stood on a peak since I scrambled Midnight Peak way back on October 30 2010! I think that 5 months between peaks has to be some sort of new record for me.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2011/03/27/crowfoot-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,007
Elevation Gain (m): 
1250
Round Trip Time: 
6.00
Total Distance (km): 
20.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Winter ascent includes serious avalanche risks. Learn how to manage these risks and perform avalanche burial rescues before attempting this trip.

Crowfoot Pass

Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hmmm. What do I say about this particular day? I'll make it short and sweet (ish). On Wednesday, March 10 2010, Wietse, Kevin (Papke) and I headed into the Wapta area to ski Crowfoot Pass and scramble the west slopes of Bow Peak before reaching its summit.

The Good

Beautiful day in the mountains! There was some moderate wind once we got higher up but the sky was bluebird and the snow was deep and fresh. I had excellent views from the summit ridge. This is indeed a small summit with stunning views.

The ski down was quick and fun in boot top to knee deep powder.

The Bad

We followed a down track on the way up. This cost us time and energy. We should have followed the well beaten trail (somewhat buried for us by fresh snow) about 200 meters further before turning left up the ascent gully. Oh well. Now we know...

There was some avalanche concerns including some soft slab releases of about size 1.5. These were on North / East aspects (lee slopes). We didn't trigger any slides but did trigger settlements on several occasions, on the steep rolls up to the pass.

The Ugly

Yeah - there's some ugly too! :D Wietse was understandably tired with a newborn baby in the house so he started running out of gas before the pass. Kevin also started running low on gas. What really happened (I think) was that they didn't pace themselves properly and felt wiped at the pass. I think with a nice long break and a bit better pacing (partly my fault because I was breaking trail at a pretty fast pace) they easily could have followed my tracks up to the summit.

What happened instead is that they talked themselves out of the summit and I ended up high on the ridge by myself. Wietse and Kev tried to wait for me at the pass but they got cold. I saw them heading back and became concerned about heading back solo through some avi terrain. I had two choices. Continue slipping, sliding and bashing my way through knee to waist deep snow on the summit ridge for another hour and then go solo back down from the pass through some avi terrain or head back immediately and forego the summit.

It wasn't really a choice.

Kev and Wietse seemed surprised when I told them I turned around because they had left the pass but I don't think they realized that there was some avi terrain I had to travel through solo - or how I couldn't really see the point of them skiing 1-2 km away from me from a safety point of view? How were they supposed to rescue me if they couldn't even really see me, much less would be so far away if something did happen? 

So I turned back relucantly.

The Conclusion

All in all it was a great day out. I learned that I have to make sure I pace the group correctly and 'force' other members to slow down, eat, drink and take a break when needed.

I learned to set my own expectations a bit differently. I also found a new favorite pass to ski in the Rockies! My previous favorite pass was Burstall. Crowfoot has the same stunning views (maybe better) but a shorter approach and probably better snow on average. It's nice to have choices! :-)


Skiing on the south end of Bow Lake on our way to the pass.

Crowfoot Mountain on our right and the pass on our extreme left:

After struggling up to the bench I can finally see Bow Peak ahead (right of center).

Looking ahead to the pass. Bow Peak on the left:

Wietse skis up the pass:

Wietse and Kevin look tiny underneath Crowfoot Mountain:

Looking back at Wietse and Kev as I start up Bow Peak:

Looking north across Bow Lake from the summit ridge on Bow Peak:

Howse, White Pyramid and Chephren show up on the left with Weed and Murchison on the right and hwy #93 in the middle!

Mount Daly looks impressive from here:

Mount Willingdon with the two sub peaks on its right:

Mount Balfour with Lilliput to the left:

Summit ridge panorama (click to view full size):

Looking back at the descent slope from just under the pass:

Tracks:

Looking back at Bow Peak:

The setting afternoon sun on the peaks around Bow Lake:

Mount Jimmy Simpson:

Elevation Gain (m): 
500
Round Trip Time: 
6.00
Total Distance (km): 
12.00

Crown Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Crown Peak is clearly over 100 vertical meters from it's col with Mount Willingdon - making it a separate peak that very few people bother with. The facinating thing about Crown Peak is that it measured well over 11,000 feet on my GPS (3361) and even on my calibrated altimeter watch (3354) so I am considering it another candidate for the 11,000er club...

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,354

After enjoying a spectacular summit on Mount Willingdon it was time to head over to two sub peaks (and separate peaks) to the south east of the main summit. These peaks both have unofficial names - Crown Peak and South Tower and should be considered somewhat official, considering that they are some work to attain and well over 100m vertical separates them from each other. 

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2013/08/31/crown-peak-willingdon-south-tower/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
11,004
Elevation Gain (m): 
2400
Total Distance (km): 
40.00
Difficulty Notes: 

With snow and ice there is some difficulty on the traverse but nothing too extreme.

Crystal Ridge

Interesting Facts: 

A ridge running north-south, located east of Bow Lake and above Dolomite Creek. 

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, May 10, 2013
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,608

After traversing Parker Ridge earlier in the day, I found myself with plenty of time and a gorgeous spring day still ahead of me on Friday May 10, 2013. Since my snowshoes had done a great job of keeping me on top of the punchy spring snow pack, I decided to try one more ridge ascent before heading home.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2013/05/10/crystal-ridge/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,556
Elevation Gain (m): 
650
Round Trip Time: 
4.00
Total Distance (km): 
7.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Some route finding and easy scrambling.

Currie, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

During World War I, Gen. Sir Arthur Currie became first Canadian commander of the Canadian Corps and later the Canadian Army. First ascent in 1916 by the Interprovincial Boundary Commission. (from peakfinder.com)

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
5
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, June 24, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,810

After our trip up Mount Morrison and Owl Peak earlier in the week, Phil and I had been thinking (obsessing) about its supposedly easy neighbor to the south - Mount Currie. This might seem strange to some folks, but Phil and I don't just love peakbagging, we love getting to peaks that are not done very often and are remote and somewhat challenging to access. For us it's about the backcountry experience as much as the summit. Lucky for us, Mount Currie happened to have a bit of everything that we love including a bike approach, hiking along a scenic river with ever diminishing trails, wild creek crossings and some pretty remote wilderness. We were also the 4th or 5th recorded ascent party in the last 31 years to sign the register, so even though the peak is technically quite easy and apparently even visible from the Spray Lakes road, it's remoteness and relative obscurity have resulted in only a few ascents.

 


!Attention! Explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/06/24/currie-mount/. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,220
Elevation Gain (m): 
2000
Round Trip Time: 
12.00
Total Distance (km): 
42.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

While there's no technical terrain on our route, there is very steep, vegetated slopes which are exposed to cliffs below. Remote peak with unbridged stream crossings.

Cyclone Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named by J.W.A. Hickson in 1910. A storm was raging on the mountain when its name was chosen. J.W.A. Hickson, E. Feuz sr., and E. Feuz jr. were looking for a route on the mountain at the time. Official name. (from peakfinder.com)

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
5
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,050

Over the years, Dr. Phil and I had been eyeing up a couple of easy ascents, rising over the Red Deer Lakes in the Skoki backcountry of Banff National Park and on the western edge of the Drummond Icefield. When we finally scrambled up Mount Drummond in late September, 2015, our interest in Cyclone Mountain and Pipestone Mountain increased. In late September 2017, it was finally time to go check them out a bit closer. Rick Collier details a trip that he and Mardy Roberts did back in June of '92 where they traversed from Pipestone to Cyclone Mountain as a day trip. 

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2017/09/28/cyclone-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,007
Elevation Gain (m): 
1800
Round Trip Time: 
12.00
Total Distance (km): 
27.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

The long approach and endless ascent slopes combined with the total elevation gains are the biggest challenge on this peak. No technical difficulties.

Devil's Thumb

Interesting Facts: 

Devil's Thumb is an eastern outlier of Mount Whyte, rising above both Lake Agnes and Lake Louise in Banff National Park and shares an approach with the Big Beehive.

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, July 29, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,458

If you've read my Cockscomb Mountain trip report, you should not be surprised that it's been weeks since my last summit! I jest. Although my mountain mojo was a bit depleted in June / July, this isn't the real reason I haven't summitted a mountain in the last 7 weeks. There are two reasons for the break. The first was a three week holiday in July which saw me and my son do an epic 16 day canoe trip in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, followed by a week camping with family in Nutimik Lake, Manitoba.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2016/07/29/devils-thumb/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Elevation Gain (m): 
800
Round Trip Time: 
4.50
Total Distance (km): 
11.00
Difficulty Notes: 

One short easy / moderate scrambling step and a steep, packed slope to the col with Whyte. Make sure the route is free of snow before attempting.

Devon Mountain

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Morrison P. Bridgland in 1919. The mountain is made of Devonian Age rock. Official name. First ascended in 1919 by Topographical Survey. (from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,004

I've had plans for years involving a trip into the Devon Lakes area near the Siffleur River Valley and the head of the Clearwater River in eastern Banff National Park. My plans involved summits such as Dip Slope, Three Brothers, Clearwater and of course the 11,000er in the region, Willingdon. Originally the plan was to go in the fall when all the brilliant color was at full height but when an opportunity came up to go with the 3 amigos from Edmonton (Ben, Eric and Steven), I couldn't say no.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2013/08/29/devon-mountain-devon-lakes-via-quartzite-col/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,856
Elevation Gain (m): 
1767
Total Distance (km): 
28.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Some exposure on the final ridge to the summit. Would be dangerous when wet or snowy.

Divide Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1998. The mountain is situated on the Continental Divide. Official name. (from peakfinder.com) NOTE: The height listed as 9400 feet is much too high for this peak which is closer to 7900 feet high.

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
4th Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, July 7, 2017

On Friday, July 7 2017 I finally managed to get out with a couple of Facebook friends that I had never actually met in person. I met Liz and Mike at the gate blocking the old highway 1A near the Lake O'Hara parking lot for an attempt at one of the newest Alan Kane scrambles, rated difficult. Kane mentions Divide Mountain in an interview with Gillean Daffern as one of his new favorites. This personal recommendation from Kane, and the limited, encouraging beta slowly coming out on this diminutive peak that sits on the border of Banff and Yoho National Parks elevated it on our respective summit lists.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2017/07/07/divide-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (m): 
2,409
Elevation Gain (m): 
1200
Round Trip Time: 
8.00
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

The crux looks worse than it is - thankfully - but a slip or fall on the steepest section will almost certainly kill you. A classic Kane difficult, but with a short crux compared to mountains like Steven or Chephren.

Dolomite Circuit, The

Interesting Facts: 

A classic ski tour around Dolomite Peak in Banff National Park along the Icefields Parkway.

Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Sunday, March 2, 2008

Trip Report

On Saturday March 02, 2008 I completed the Dolomite Circuit on skis with TJ, JW, Ken, Ian and Kathy under a mixed bag of weather. The day didn't start out on the Dolomite Circuit though...

Originally we had a much loftier (both figuratively and literally) goal; namely to summit Mount Hector. This is a detailed trip report of how the day actually panned out.

Saturday started out on a halting gait with JW arriving half an hour late to the parking lot. He claims innocence; that he thought it was a 06:30 start but no-one is sure if he actually just slept in or not... ;-) Martin Siddles was also supposed to join us but thanks to his condo neighbor's love of work boots and dancing he only got one hour of sleep and begged off for the day.

On the way to the trail head JW and I went over the ALPTRUTH acronym to determine what our odds of summiting Hector should be that day, or if we should even bother making an attempt. ALPTRUTH is an objective strategy designed to assist back country users in their terrain and trip making decisions based on 7 'yes/no' questions. Three or more 'yes' answers and you probably should reconsider your trip choice. Here is a breakdown of our trip assessment before even leaving the parking lot for Hector:

  1. - Are there signs of recent avalanche activity? No (although there was one slide across the valley on an opposite aspect due to cornice failure - so maybe a half yes?)
  2. - Is there recent loading of the snow pack? Yes (wind up high)
  3. P - Will you be crossing or skiing any avalanche paths? Yes (we would be going straight up one and crossing several more)
  4. - Are you going to be in any terrain traps? Yes (the headwall section is a terrain trap on this trip as is some terrain through the valley bottom above the headwall)
  5. - Is the avalanche rating considerable or higher? Yes (the rating was 'considerable' on Saturday)
  6. - Is there obvious signs of unstable snow? No (we haven't left the parking lot yet!)
  7. TH - Was there recent thawing temperatures? Yes (although it's been that way for over a week so maybe not exactly recent...)

So before even leaving the parking area we knew that we probably shouldn't even attempt the trip with 4 or 5 'yes' answers. So why did we? I believe that we all wanted the peak pretty badly and it just didn't seem that dangerous. There was nothing really sliding around us (although lots of evidence of recent past slides) and the weather was beautiful and calm down in the valley. I really think that no-one wanted to call it quits without first heading up the trail and 'seeing for ourselves'! 

Not everyone in our group agreed with the ALPTRUTH assessment. I agree that if you use ALPTRUTH religiously in the Alberta Rockies you will almost never do any interesting trips in the winter. The reality of the mostly shallow Alberta snow pack and winter weather pattern is that the danger scale seems to always be at or near the 'serious/extreme' level on the avaluator. Experience and good judgment is still paramount for actually getting out and enjoying a good winter trip - even if the avaluator may indicate that you should stay home on your couch for the day!

So off we headed - just to check out what the headwall area looked like. JW led the way up Hector Creek at a good clip. I knew right away that I was in for a tougher day than I had hoped. My legs didn't have their usual energy reserves but I managed to keep behind JW. The snow beside the hard-packed ski trail was absolutely AWFUL. It was the worst snow I've ever had the 'privilege' of experiencing. Imagine skiing in a slurpie and you'll know what it was like. There was no supportive quality in the snow pack and if you slipped off the trail your skis would sink all the way to ground. The unusually warm temperature of the past few weeks had done it's damage and we were stuck with a late-spring snow even though it was still early March.

Eventually we came to the headwall and re-assessed our objective. I think it was at this point that I suspected we would be turning around. Nobody committed to abandoning our attempt but we weren't exactly enthusiastic about it either. There was a lot of "yeah, maybe" answers to "should we keep going then?" JW led the way up the headwall on rock-hard avalanche debris. This stuff had slid within the last week - probably due to the very warm temperatures. The problem with the route up the headwall is that it's a true terrain trap. You really can't see the slopes above you and even a small sluff would do some serious damage coming from high up the cliffs above. You should move quickly and alertly through this area. We tried to go quickly but it became a challenge once we hit waist-deep slush above the most recent slide! :-)

It was at this point that I thought things were getting a bit desperate - wading in waist-deep slushy snow is not that much fun! Six more hours of wind-loading and warm spring sun would make things much more unstable and the skiing even worse than it was already on the lower section of our route. I yelled back down at Ian (who's done this route a bunch of times already) asking his opinion. He wasn't very enthusiastic either. So I called for a vote. Everyone had to give a 'yes' or 'no' answer (no 'maybe' allowed). I started off with a 'no'. JW quickly backed me up and everyone grudgingly admitted that this wasn't the best day to be bagging one of the best ski descents in the Alberta Rockies. We all wanted good snow for this one! So we promptly turned back. The 'ski' back down to the parking area was dubious at best. I did a beautiful face plant on the hard, icy slopes near the avalanche debris which provided some great entertainment for everyone but myself. My face still feels like carpet burn on the left side and my left arm is a bit stiff. On the bright side, I now assume the nickname 'Yardsale' from JW. He got it after a spectacular crash on the French-Haig-Robertson traverse the weekend before. In order to gain this honorary title you have to lose at least one piece of attached equipment in a unique way while skiing (poles don't count unless you're Raff and are actually a Pol...). 

We descended the creek bed, off trail, and this wasn't the best idea we had all day. The snow was so crappy that unless you had some speed you would sink wayyyyyy down. Not cool. Eventually everyone made it back to the vehicles and it was time to decide what to do with the rest of our day. The weather was very warm and sunny at this point and I really wanted to rescue the day by doing something of value (i.e. not just yo-yo ski some slope off the highway).

Eventually everyone agreed to ski the Dolomite Circuit so we headed off to get some exercise! The circuit is about 19-20km and forms a loop around Dolomite Peak, which I've summited before. It was supposed to have great views and is popular enough that we suspected there would be a nice packed trail to get around the crappy snow conditions. We were right on both counts.

After dropping off a vehicle at the end of the loop (it's not a perfect loop I suppose) and taking all the glacier gear out of our packs (Hector has a large glacier and we didn't need all our crevasse rescue gear for Dolomite), JW led the group on a blistering pace up the trail. Since I was the one pushing the others a bit to do this circuit, I couldn't complain about the pace too much - but part of me wanted to! :-) I knew right away that I was in trouble to finish the circuit at this pace. My legs had absolutely no energy and my breathing was way to heavy to keep it up for 19km! I wanted to cut my pace in half or even bail on the trip totally but forced myself to dig deep and keep at it. I honestly don't know how I managed to survive the trip but at least I wasn't the only one doing some huffing! I'm pretty sure that Ken, Ian and Kathy had their moments of deep breathing as well. Of course TJ kept up to JW no problem.

When we got up to Katherine Ridge, above Katherine Lake the weather deteriorated to the point that we were all feeling a bit blue about our second choice of objective for the day! The ski run to Katherine Lake from the highpoint on the ridge was great snow but no visibility at all! It was a very weird sensation skiing down that slope. Our eyes were playing tricks on us and the whole world was blindingly bright - even with sunglasses and goggles. Once at the bottom of this slope I quickly skinned back up and headed off around the north end of Dolomite because I knew I needed a head start on the others before we climbed back up to Dolomite Pass - where they would all pass me again. At this point the weather cleared up nicely and I took tons of pictures on the traverse around the east side of Dolomite and up to the pass. As I suspected, everyone managed to blow by me before I hit the pass but thankfully I didn't slow the group down too much - I'm not used to being the slowest one in the group and I didn't like it! :-| (I see lots of running in my near future.)

The ski run back around the south end of Dolomite varied between fast and smooth and faceted terrain in dense forest. Most of it was fun except for the slightly uphill traverse around the southeast end of Dolomite which really sucked on our freshly waxed A/T gear right Ken?! We ended up doing the entire circuit, including the extra height gain on Katherine Ridge in just over 4.5 hours. That partially explains my exhaustion as I haven't heard of any faster time for this circuit, although on lighter gear I'm sure someone's done it.

I felt really good about completing the route, even though I felt like vomiting for almost half of it. It's a great feeling when you push yourself to your physical limits and make it back in one piece! It's been a while since I was pushed that hard. Thanks (I think) JW!


 
Struggling up the avi slope beneath the headwall on Hector - our original objective for the day.
 
JW prepares for the dash up the avi terrain to the headwall.
 
On the Dolomite Circuit! The trail starts out nice and steep in the trees.
 
You lose some elevation to get to the dolomite meadows - this is exactly the same route as the scramble route. You can make out Mount Hector in the far distance.
 
Ian and Kathy pass me on the steep grunt up Katherine Ridge.
 
The group pushes up Katherine Ridge, above Katherine Lake which is in the lower right of the photo. You don't have to ski up the ridge to do the circuit but it was the best snow / skiing of the day so I think it's worth it.
 
At the top of Katherine Ridge the group de-skins. The weather moved in at this point and we lost all visibility.
 
After the nice run to Katherine Lake we are now coming around the northeast end of Dolomite Peak.
 
Looking back north at the great scenary tucked in behind Dolomite on the east side of the Parkway.
 
TJ and JW head up towards Dolomite Pass.
 
Again, TJ and JW are ahead of me. The climb gets steeper as you near the pass.
 
Ian and Kathy are catching up to me on the steep part - I was sucking wind this particular day!!
 
Ken and the ski track along with part of Dolomite Peak on the upper right.
 
The group de-skins for the second run of the day down from Dolomite Pass.
 
JW looks ready to rock 'n roll! :-)
 
The group heads down from Dolomite Pass.
 
JW skis out of a small gully. The ski down from the pass is quite fun in sections.
 
Skiing past the east face of Dolomite.
 
TJ skiing backwards - I was hoping to catch a trip! (But sadly he didn't and I didn't...)
 
Most of the fun skiing is over but the views are still steller near the south end of Dolomite.
 
Done for the day! (Almost - we still have about 1km back to the cars.) At least we managed to do a classic ski traverse even though Hector shut us down.
Elevation Gain (m): 
750
Total Distance (km): 
20.00

Dolomite Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Charles E. Fay, J. Norman Collie, Dixon; Charles S. Thompson in 1897. The mountain was thought to resemble the Dolomite Range of the Italian Alps. Official name. First ascended in 1930 by J. Monroe Thorington, guided by Peter Kaufmann. Journal reference AAJ 1-402, AJ 43-77. (info from peakfinder.com

 

YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, July 3, 2004
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,782

Sonny sent me an email on Monday saying that he was planning to do a scramble on Friday evening and wondering if I was interested. Duh! Of course I was! Since I had family stuff on Saturday this worked out perfect for me.

 

We decided that Dolomite Peak was a nice objective and late Friday afternoon found us toiling up Dolomite's rubbly approach. One note on getting to the 'correct' (there's several) avalanche gully: You have to cross the creek and walk another 15 minutes or so down the obvious trail before you can see the route up. The picture in the scrambles book is NOT taken from the parking area! The actual peaks are to the left of the peaks you see from the car.

 

The scramble up to the fun stuff is pretty dull but we did have very nice views back to the Cirque Lake area and the South end of Bow Lake. After getting up near the base of the higher cliff bands we noticed a flash of red ahead of us and assumed that someone was coming down. Soon we realized that the flash of red wasn't going down it was going up! We dismissed it and hoped that whoever it was knew enough to not shower us with rocks. About 10 minutes later a nice little rock fall dispelled that pleasant wish and from then on we were careful to stay higher up on the left and out of the gully.

 

 
[Sonny surveys the avalanche gully that we want to ascend from the valley bottom.] 
[The red line shows our approximate route up the avalanche gully. It may or may not still be there by the time you do this scramble though.

 
[Sonny labors up the loose slopes of Dolomite with a view of Cirque Peak opening up in the background.]

 

After getting up to the first solid rock of the climb we noticed three people ahead of us. The disturbing thing was that they appeared to be quite naked. I assumed that maybe they were wearing flesh-colored clothing. This assumption was not entirely correct.

 

Coming up to the final ascent gully was a little unnerving for me because I realized that with the three guys ahead of us rock fall was a serious hazard. I am buying a helmet sooner then later - that's a fact. We headed up the steep gully and made a few nifty moves to get over a very wet rock shelf that is probably usually bone dry for most ascents. We then met up with a sight that I hope is not a new climbing trend! Three young men in tight red thongs climbing with nice little white helmets, hiking boots and gaiters along with very sheepish grins. One of them shrugged and offered, "I can't possibly explain any of this." Yeah - I bet. :)

 

It turned out that only their fearless leader had made the fourth peak (summit) and the other two weren't experienced scramblers so they didn't quite make it. They should have gone all the way since they were over most of the hard scrambling but oh well! Sonny and I shook our heads in amazement at what we had just encountered and kept heading up. All in a days work.

 

When you do the summit - don't head up the first 'obvious' crack. There is actually a cairn showing the way around the cliff band to the right and after some tight negotiating under an overhanging rock you can get to the summit pretty easily. We snapped some photos and headed off to the third peak. The third peak is a bit of tricky route-finding but again - don't go up the first obvious spot. Work your way around to climber's left and then up a crack and over a to a ledge. It's hard to explain but you should get it if you've done scrambling before!! Or you can do what Sonny did and try to bag every high point along the way. :-)

 

 
[It's as loose as it looks!]

 
[This is where the scrambling gets difficult.]

 
[Sonny stands beneath the summit cliffs on the 4th peak. This is where you should traverse to the right before heading up.]

 
[Sonny goofs around on the summit of Dolomite Peak.]

 
[Vern and Sonny on the summit of Dolomite.

 
[Cirque Peak is across the Icefields parkway from Dolomite. It's also a much simpler mountain to summit! ]

 
[The third peak and my route from the fourth peak summit.

 

After a nice break with no wind and gorgeous clear evening skies we headed back down the mountain. The scree wasn't as 'soft' as we were expecting but other then that there were no problems. The creek was a very nice break for the feet on the way back and we made it to the car with no problems at all. Another great scramble - this one with some unexpected views...

 

 
[
Crowfoot Mountain and glacier from the descent of Dolomite.]

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,128
Elevation Gain (m): 
1050
Total Distance (km): 
8.50
Difficulty Notes: 

Complexity rises with snow on route - consider avalanche risk before ascending on snow. Very loose terrain requires a brain bucket.

Drummond, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named by George M. Dawson in 1884. Drummond, Thomas (The assistant naturalist to Franklin's Second Arctic Expedition. He spent the winter of 1825-26 in the Athabasca River valley.) Official name. First ascended in 1947 by Elizabeth Rummel and party. Journal reference CAJ 19-41. (from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
3rd Class

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, September 25, 2015 to Sunday, September 27, 2015
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,148

By the end of September 2015 I was getting a wee bit desperate to finally see some fully turned larches. Despite getting out a lot in the middle of the month, especially to Waterton Lakes National Park, I'd yet to run into the full fall golden goodness of larch heaven that I've come to crave at the end of each scrambling / hiking season in the Alberta Rockies.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2015/09/25/drummond-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,329
Elevation Gain (m): 
2800
Total Distance (km): 
54.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

A remote peak with some steep snow or loose rock slopes to access the false summit. No other major difficulties.

Eagle Mountain (Goat's Eye)

Trip Category: 
OT - Off-Trail Hiking
Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1958. The mountain was likely named for an eagle spotted soaring near the summit. Official name. A striking feature of this peak is, "The Goat''s Eye" located on the northeast ridge and visible as one travels up Healy Creek. This natural hole in the mountain was first noted by George Simpson who wrote of, "a very peculiar feature in an opening of about eighty feet by fifty, which, as we advanced nearer, assumed the appearance of the gateway of a giant''s fortress." (from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
3
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
Hiking

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Monday, September 25, 2017
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,820

After a delightful easy / moderate scramble up Mount Howard Douglas, it was time to add a second peak to my day. Why? Don't ask. I guess I'm still a peak bagger at heart because there's really no reason to grind up Eagle Mountain other than to claim another summit. In my case that's not entirely true. The weather kept clearing as I descended Howard Douglas and as I topped out on the ridiculously easy Eagle Mountain I got even better views from its summit than Howard Douglas', thanks to the clearing clouds.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2017/09/25/eagle-mountain-goats-eye/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,252
Elevation Gain (m): 
1700
Round Trip Time: 
7.50
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 1 : you fall, you're stupid
Difficulty Notes: 

No difficulties other than having the motivation to slog to the summit after presumably already scrambling nearby Mount Howard Douglas.

East Ridge of Panorama Ridge

Trip Category: 
OT - Off-Trail Skiing
Interesting Facts: 

The East Ridge of Panorama Ridge is an unofficial summit laying east of the main and official "Panorama Ridge" in Banff National Park.

Technical Difficulty Level: 
5
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
Hiking

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, March 11, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,545

After skiing to the summit of Mount Field the day before, I was ready to enjoy another perfect winter day on skis before returning back to the drudgery of another work week in the concrete jungle. Since I haven't been out much on the snow sticks this winter, I was certainly feeling a bit stiff the evening before! On our drive to Mount Field, Wietse had pointed out the East Ridge of Panorama Ridge to me and I thought it was the perfect winter solo ski objective for elevated avalanche conditions - provided I could drag my butt out of bed early enough.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/03/11/east-ridge-of-panorama-ridge/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Elevation Gain (m): 
1100
Round Trip Time: 
5.50
Total Distance (km): 
18.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

Without snow I'm sure this is simply a hike. On skis or snowshoes there is some avalanche terrain but it's mostly avoidable.

Edith North, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1886. Orde, Edith (Edith Orde worked as an assistant to Lady Agnes Macdonald, the wife of Canada's first prime minister.) Official name. First ascended in 1900 by J. Norman Collie, Fred StephensJournal reference App 17-31, CAJ 2-1, 136. (info from peakfinder.com

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, June 30, 2006
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,554

On Friday, June 30 I headed out early to scramble Mount Edith in Banff National Park. Originally I was supposed to be heading up Copper Mountain but a certain person who I won't name canceled on me. After Dave Stephens canceled on me (!), I was wondering what I should do and thought that Mount Edith was a good choice for a solo scramble.

 

For some reason quite a few people on the scrambling web board had already done this one but since it was on my 'list' for this year I thought I'd be totally unoriginal and give it a go - it sounded like fun and since it's so loose I planned to go early in order to avoid other people knocking stuff (i.e. pieces of mountain!) down on me.

 

I had to be back in Calgary on time so I purposely pushed myself a bit on this scramble. I was sweating about 5 minutes into it and was drenched soon after! The hiking trail to Cory Pass is very steep but well maintained and I made it to the pass in under 2 hours at a steady pace. I wanted to grab a bite to eat but the mosquitoes were so bad at the pass that I immediately headed up for the North summit of Edith instead.

 

 
[My first visitor of the day didn't want to share the trail!]

 
[The forest is magical in the morning light.]

 
[The trail up to the pass is clearly illuminated as seen from the pass.]

 
[Mount Louis and the North 'nub' of Mount Edith.]

 

The northwest crack sounded like fun so that's where I headed up. It's very narrow and soon I was swearing at my new SLR that was hanging from my neck and my backpack was getting stuck. My lens cap and lens shade fell off the camera as it swung into the rock and I watched them bounce down to the bottom of the crack. I finished climbing and then proceeded to go back down to retrieve the camera parts! Climbing that darn crack is a lot more fun without a pack! Without further incident I made it to the North Summit and after signing the virtual register and snapping a self-portrait I was descending to the center peak.

 

 
[A shoulder view of Mount Cory from the ascent of Edit's first peak.]

 
[The stupid NW crack that I lost my gear on. After climbing up it I left my pack and camera and climbed back down to get my stuff! It's more narrow than it looks! ;-)]

 
[You can see the trail up from the pass to the bottom of the first peak.]

 
[Above the ascent crack you can see the descent crack to the middle peak. First you have to go bag the North one though!]

 

 
[Vern on the North peak of Mount Edith.]

 
[Summit panorama from the north summit. ++]

 
[From the first peak you can see the middle and third.]

 

Overall I would have to say that Mount Edith kind of surprised me a little. The rock is VERY loose and crappy and I found that the scrambling was quite delicate until the most difficult peak - it was exposed but at least it was solid! After signing the real register on the center peak I looked for a way down to the third (South) Peak

 

 
[The north peak from the Center / North col.]

 
[A nice view of Mount Cory from the second peak of Mount Edith.]

 
[Vern on the summit of the center peak of Mount Edith.]

 
[Panorama from the center peak of Edith. ++]

 
[Mount Louis from the Center Peak of Mount Edith.]

 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,381
Elevation Gain (m): 
1260
Round Trip Time: 
6.00
Total Distance (km): 
13.50
Difficulty Notes: 

This is a traverse of the mountain from the north to south peaks. There is some moderate to difficult scrambling when descending the south peak to the trail.

Edith South, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1886. Orde, Edith (Edith Orde worked as an assistant to Lady Agnes Macdonald, the wife of Canada's first prime minister.) Official name. First ascended in 1900 by J. Norman Collie, Fred StephensJournal reference App 17-31, CAJ 2-1, 136. (info from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, June 30, 2006
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,554

After signing the real register on the center peak of Mount Edith, I looked for a way down to the third (South) Peak. Soon I found a trail and after detouring slightly around to a brief scree run I was staring up another pile of scree towards the infamous tunnel. I remembered my bad experience from the North Peak and proceeded up the mountain with only a water bottle and camera - choosing to leave my backpack behind because I knew I had to come back that way anyway. My idea proved to be a good one. I made it no problem through the tunnel am a bit incredulous that some people feel the need for a belay here! I guess if you haven't scrambled the "Chossy Rockies" before you may find the loose stuff a bit unnerving! ;-) I was very surprised at the looseness of the rock, even in the tunnel where I figured traffic would've solidified things a long time ago already. Maybe Edith isn't the popular gal I thought she was!

 

I was a bit nervous for the section after the tunnel because I've read that it's loose rock on down-slopping ledges, my version of the perfect nightmare! Actually I found it a lot more solid than the previous two peaks and the cairns are expertly placed. The key here is to follow Kane's description and don't gain height right away. Scrambling down another fissure and over the flake was fun, but I really didn't want that sucker to come down! In my humble opinion I think that the two wedges you have to scramble over (one by the flake and one in the tunnel) are the most dangerous parts of the route! The one in the tunnel actually moved on me on the way back down it - and you would be dead if that monster came down the tunnel after you.

 

Following the cairns, I came to the summit ridge and after a very refreshing walk on solid rock I was standing on the last summit. I took some pictures, glanced at the approaching clouds and walked back down the ridge.

 

 
[Vern on the South Summit of Mount Edith.]

 
[Mount Rundle is brooding under an increasingly cloudy sky.]

 
[Mount Louis sneaks in behind the cairn on the South Peak.]

 
[The exposed South ridge as seen on descent.]

 
[The trail snakes up along some exposed ledges and is a lot easier than I expected. Very well cairned.]

 
[See the next photo for a view down the tunnel. This is as seen from above.]

 
[This is looking down the tunnel as seen from above.]

 
[You want to clear out of here pretty fast. This is the view looking up at the tunnel from the South / Center col.]

 

 

Once down at the South / Center col again I started down the alternate descent. I knew I had to stick right but I may have gone too far to the right! I headed for a distinct (see picture) promontory and headed over it to skier's right down a narrow gully. The good part about that route is that it's relatively solid (compared with the rest of that rotten hill). The bad part is that it's solid. Solid on this mountain means only one thing - it's so steep nothing can stick to it, and that probably includes scramblers! There were two difficult down climbs that I'm not sure I could've done if I was any shorter. I also didn't know if I'd cliff out, so I was nervous until finally I a spotted a clear route down to the Cory Pass hiking trail.

 

 
[This is the view from the col. I aimed for the promontory in the picture as marked and went to the right of it. This was mercifully solid but some serious down climbs followed.]

 
[Flower.]

 
[The down climb. Doesn't look as bad from this angle.]

 

I made it back to the car no problem. The hiking trail down is steep and I didn't enjoy it nearly as much on the way down as on the way up. My round trip time was just under 6 hours. Highly recommended scramble but you should do Mount Cory, it's neighbor, first so that you know what you're getting into.

 

 
[To the left is the pass and in the top right is where I came down.]

 
[I'm not the only one who enjoys flowers apparently!]

 
[These flowers really lit up the slopes on the way to the pass.]

 
[One last flower pic!]

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,381
Elevation Gain (m): 
1260
Round Trip Time: 
6.00
Total Distance (km): 
13.50
Difficulty Notes: 

This is a traverse of the mountain from the north to south peaks. There is some moderate to difficult scrambling when descending the south peak to the trail.

Edward Peak (Lyell II)

Trip Category: 
MN - Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Sydney R. Vallance in 1972. Feuz, Edward sr. (Edward Feuz was an early guide in the Rockies and Selkirks.(see biog.) Official name. Other names One of five peaks on Mount Lyell. First ascended in 1902 by James Outram, guided by Christian Kaufmann. (From peakfinder.com.)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Grade: 
I
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, June 26, 2015 to Monday, June 29, 2015
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,514

Next to Ernest Peak, Edward (Lyell II) was pretty darn tame. Other than the fact that the height gains and distances were starting to add up and the day was getting long, there were absolutely no difficulties getting to the summit of the purported, but debatable of the highest of the Lyells. The views were not much less spectacular than from Ernest Peak but we didn't linger too long at the top. We still had Rudolph (Lyell I) to do, not to forget the long trudge back to the Lyell Hut and the shadows were definitely lengthening.


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2015/06/26/edward-peak-lyell-ii/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
11,528
Elevation Gain (m): 
1350
Round Trip Time: 
9.00
Total Distance (km): 
14.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 1 : you fall, you're stupid
Difficulty Notes: 

Glacier travel in a very remote area of the Rockies. The bergschrund is opening between Lyell I and II making things more interesting.

Ernest Peak (Lyell III)

Trip Category: 
MN - Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Sydney R. Vallance in 1972. Feuz, Ernest (Ernest Feuz was an early guide in the Rockies and Selkirks.)(see biog.) Official name. Other names One of five peaks on Mount Lyell. First ascended in 1926 by Alfred J. Ostheimer, M.M. Strumia, J. Monroe Thorington, guided by Edward Feuz jr.. Journal reference CAJ 16-143. (from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Grade: 
II
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, June 26, 2015 to Monday, June 29, 2015
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,511

After a gorgeous 8 hour approach via Icefall Brook / Canyon, we found ourselves at the small, tidy Lyell Hut around noon with many hours of beautiful sunny weather staring back at us. I think it was Ben who initially started musing that perhaps we should "go for Lyell 1, 2 and 3 (Rudolph, Edward and Ernest) today yet". Wait, what?! When I first overheard his murmured suggestion I thought I must be dreaming. I'd never heard of anyone doing the entire Lyell Hut approach on foot and then 3 of the 5 Lyells on the same day. As we thought about it though, it started to make a bit of sense. The snow was still holding up quite well and this was the coolest day in the forecast. Why not take advantage and go for a few summits already? Why not indeed... cool

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2015/06/26/ernest-peak-lyell-iii/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
11,520
Elevation Gain (m): 
1350
Round Trip Time: 
9.00
Total Distance (km): 
14.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Remote glacier travel with some bergschrund / serac fall hazards depending on the route and time of year.

Fang, The

Interesting Facts: 

"The Fang" is described as part of a long traverse over Molarstone Peak, North Molar Pass and South Molar Pass by Andrew Nugara in the 3rd edition of his "More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies" guidebook.

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Monday, August 13, 2018

After completing an 11 day canoe trip in the NW wilderness of Ontario, I was ready for a good dosage of Rockies scenery again on Monday, August 13 2018. There was a huge issue with this plan though. Wildfires in British Columbia, one province to the west, were once again conspiring to ruin lungs and views throughout the Rockies. My Facebook and IG feeds were full of nothing but gray smokey "views" and complaints of the ruinous apocalyptic phenomenon that is apparently becoming the new "normal" in August and September for outdoor enthusiasts in Alberta and BC. Phil and I had similar doomsday conditions threatening our previous trip over North Molar Pass on our ascents of Cataract and Molarstone Peak, but we got pretty lucky with the views on that trip. Could I count on lady luck again in this beautiful area of Banff National Park, tucked away behind the busy hwy 93 corridor to Jasper? Apparently - YES, I could!

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/08/13/fang-the/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (m): 
2,804
Elevation Gain (m): 
985
Round Trip Time: 
7.50
Total Distance (km): 
26.50
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Easy hiking and scrambling to the summit block, moderate steps to the exposed summit.

Farbus Mountain

Trip Category: 
MN - Ski Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1918. Farbus was a village located on the eastern slope of Vimy Ridge, where Canadian troops fought a major battle during WW I (see Vimy Peak). Official name. 

First ascended in 1937 by S.B. Hendricks, Rex Gibson Journal reference AJ 39-59, CAJ 25-98.

(from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
Extreme

YDS Grade: 
I
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,150

After two long, exhausting days spent scrambling to the Lyell hut, climbing 4/5 of the Lyells and even Arctomys Peak, we were feeling a bit burned out on Sunday morning, June 28th. The night before, we'd come to the conclusion that getting up early enough to attempt Lyell IV (Walter Peak) was simply not going to happen - and it wouldn't have mattered on hindsight because the snow was a giant slurpee over night anyway, with no freeze whatsoever. Ben wasn't feeling like more peak bagging  under the hot conditions we were getting, and was going to spend the day relaxing around the hut. Steven and I were on our own to attempt either Lens Peak or Farbus Mountain. There were hints in the hut register that Lens Peak wasn't too technical, but we really didn't know anymore details on this summit. The only route we saw involved pretty steep snow climbing on a south couloir before hopefully connecting with a snow ridge to the summit. Given the extremely warm temperatures and very hot forecast, we didn't really want to be on steep south facing snow slopes. That left Farbus.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2015/06/28/farbus-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,335
Elevation Gain (m): 
1500
Round Trip Time: 
9.00
Total Distance (km): 
18.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Remote glacier travel with some bergschrund / crevasse hazards depending on the route and time of year.

Forbes, Mount

Trip Category: 
MN - Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Mount Forbes is one of the most outstanding in the Rockies and is, in some ways, quite similar to Mount Assiniboine. At 3612 meters Mount Forbes is only six meters lower in elevation and, like Assiniboine, it towers some 350 meters higher than the neighboring peaks, its pyramidal summit often hidden in the clouds while lesser, but still very respectable, nearby mountains are visible. Mount Forbes is the highest mountain entirely within Banff National Park.

 

James Outram and Norman Collie's parties combined forces in 1902 to attempt Mount Forbes. Collie greatly admired the peak referring to, "awesome precipices soaring to a ramp of stainless snow whose knife-edged ridges culminate in a sharp pyramid that pierces the blue heavens like a javelin."

 

(from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
8
Endurance Level: 
High

YDS Grade: 
II
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, April 30, 2016 to Monday, May 2, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,612

I've been dreaming of climbing the highest peak in Banff National Park and 8th highest in the Canadian Rockies for many years. I'm not 100 percent sure when I first laid eyes on the hauntingly beautiful northwest face and dramatic summit pyramid of Mount Forbes but I do know that it probably terrified me the first few times I looked at it. That giant triangular face of snow, rock and ice stretching upward into the clouds continued to draw me in as I gazed at it from many surrounding summits, year after year. In 2015 I was sure I was going to climb Forbes with Ben and Steven, but alas they chose a weekend that didn't work and I was once again left to wonder at a missed opportunity.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2016/05/01/forbes-mount/​ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
11,851
Elevation Gain (m): 
3000
Round Trip Time: 
27.00
Total Distance (km): 
58.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

The approach is long and arduous with a backpack involving moderate scrambling to 5th class depending on route. The main climb (northwest face route) involves a heavily crevassed glacier, steep snow and / or ice to the summit.

Girouard, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1904. Girouard, Colonel Sir Edward Percy (After serving as a railway builder in north and south Africa as the British Empire expanded, Col Girouard became a colonial administrator and Director General of Munitions Supply in 1915.) Official name. 

First ascended in 1938 by E.E. Bishop, D.R. Crosby

(from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,995

I really thought I'd be sitting at home all weekend, the week after our long approach and climb on Mount Alexandra. But Hanneke was busy studying and the kids were occupied and the weather forecast was amazing for October so what was I to do?! Naturally I texted Steven as I knew he'd be up for something and sure enough - he was game.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2014/10/05/girouard-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,827
Elevation Gain (m): 
1600
Round Trip Time: 
9.50
Total Distance (km): 
21.00
Difficulty Notes: 

The crux is the approach on this one! Long approach on rocky creek bed and some light bushwhacking.

Haddo Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1916. Haddo, Lord George (Lord Haddo was the son of the Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair.) Official name. First ascended in 1903 by E. Tewes, guided by C. Bohren. (from peakfinder.com)

Trip Category: 
MN - Ski Mountaineering
Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, March 8, 2015

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2015/03/08/aberdeen-mount-hazel-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (m): 
3,070
Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,073
Elevation Gain (m): 
1820
Round Trip Time: 
13.50
Total Distance (km): 
27.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Extreme avalanche terrain when done in the winter via the south face / gullies. Do not attempt unless you're very confident in conditions!

Healy Creek - Simpson Pass - Sunshine

Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wietse, Raf and I decided to start the 2015/2016 back country ski season with a fairly tame and straight forward ski tour near the Sunshine ski resort in Banff National Park. As it turns out, the drive to and from the mountains was by far the most dangerous activity of the day for us. On the drive into the park, Wietse's car kept sliding on the icy highway. We even witnessed two vehicles hit the ditch at high speed! On our return to Calgary it was even worse, including an accident that probably resulted in injury and caused a pretty big delay for the thousands of skiers checking out early season ski conditions at the various resorts.

 

Allow me a brief rant at this point. :) When I started hiking and scrambling 15 years ago, I don't remember traffic being so brutal in or around the mountains. This makes sense, since Calgary has grown by hundreds of thousands of people in that time, and extreme sports have made huge in roads with the average weekend warrior. Doesn't mean I have to like it. Last summer I stayed home on 3 different Sundays, simply because I couldn't stand the thought of fighting weekend traffic on hwy 1! I go to the hills to relax and coming home in a rush hour style nightmare of cars doing crazy maneuvers at 140km/h isn't my idea of a relaxing weekend drive. I can say with high confidence that there is a much higher chance of a big SUV or RV taking you out than your anchor failing nowadays when climbing in the Alberta Rockies... :(

 

Sorry 'bout that. Some times you just have to get stuff off your chest in a quick Internet rant. The ski up Healy Creek was easy on a great track from the parking lot. There was a LOT of snow for November - much more than I remember most years at this time. Once at the split in the track to Simpson Pass, we were on our own though. Apparently that's a less popular option than Healy Pass.

 

The trail from Healy Creek to Simpson Pass was a bit harder to follow - it really helped to have a GPS track from one of Wietse's previous trips for this section. Basically we trended climber's left before taking a 90 degree left turn to the Sunshine Meadows which were reached via some steep treed, cliffy slopes. These slopes were the only avy terrain we ventured onto this particular day and they aren't huge. The snow was set up very well for early season and even skiing off trail, the snow pack was very supportive. I could only feel one crust about 4 inches off the ground - moderately hard and not reactive.

 


[Lots of snow for November]


[The Healy Creek trail was well packed and very well covered]


[Crossing Healy Creek]


[A winter wonderland. I love skiing!]


[Now we're breaking trail up to Simpson Pass]


[It's a bit bushy in sections but it's very difficult to stay on the summer trail if you don't know exactly where it is!]


[Eventually we contoured to a rocky cliffy area. From here we went climber's left before ascending up and around it.]


[Looking back along the headwall from the bottom.]


[Starting up the headwall, looking back at The Monarch]


[Some of the slopes up the head wall are steep enough to slide]

 
[Pano from the headwall looking back at The Monarch (L) and The Ramparts (R). ++]


[Raf is happy to be back on skis!]


[I love breaking trail into this stuff]

 

The views to the Monarch and Healy Pass were pretty great once we got up the headwall to Sunshine Meadows. Twin Cairns looked a bit thin and Wawa Ridge looked very wind blown and thin as well. We skinned across the lovely rolling meadows before reluctantly joining the throngs at the top of the Wawa chair lift and skiing out via Sunshine's ski out. The ski conditions at the resort were better than I was expecting with unconsolidated powder and no ice on the skied out runs either. All-in-all a great, short day out that I would feel comfortable soloing in moderate or low avy hazard. Could easily be combined with Twin Cairns or Wawa for a fuller day out.

 

 
[The gorgeous Sunshine Meadows. ++]


[Wietse breaks trail across the Sunshine Meadow - Howard Douglas and Brewser Rock in the far distance.]


[More deep snows in the meadow. From L to R, Eagle, Howard Douglas, Brewster Rock.]


[Twin Cairns looks a bit thin]


[Looking back over Healy Meadows towards Bourgeau and Black Brett.]

 
[On the flats near the top of Wawa Chair lift - Twin Cairns on the left. ++]


[Skiing towards the Wawa lift]


[A NASTY ride home - I hope these folks were OK... Note how icy the highway is here!]

 

Elevation Gain (m): 
700
Round Trip Time: 
5.00
Total Distance (km): 
16.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Very few difficulties, maybe some deep trail breaking once you leave Healy Creek and some route finding. Minimal avy hazards.

Healy Pass Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Healy Pass Peak is an unofficial summit looking over Healy Pass in Banff National Park near the Sunshine Village ski resort. 

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,577

On Saturday, December 14 2013 Wietse and I continued a tradition of going to the Healy Pass area one week prior to a hut ski trip. A year previous we also skied the pass on a grey and unassuming day and this day wouldn't be much different.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2013/12/14/healy-pass-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Elevation Gain (m): 
1000
Round Trip Time: 
5.50
Total Distance (km): 
20.00
Difficulty Notes: 

An easy backcountry ski or hiking trip with great views.

Heather Ridge

Interesting Facts: 

Naming: Heather must have been plentiful on this ridge when it was named. Official name. (from peakfinder.com

Trip Category: 
OT - Off-Trail Skiing
Technical Difficulty Level: 
3
Endurance Level: 
High
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,636

On Saturday, February 1 2014 I was joined by half of Calgary and part of Deadmonton for a ski / snowshoe ascent of Heather Ridge in Skoki - behind the Lake Louise ski hill in Banff National Park. Ok - it wasn't quite half of Calgary, but close! It started with Steven, Wietse and I and ended with Steven, Wietse, Raf, Andrea, Mike, Sonny, Spencer, Brandon and myself.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2014/02/01/heather-ridge/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,650
Elevation Gain (m): 
1000
Round Trip Time: 
6.50
Total Distance (km): 
23.50
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

There are few dangers even in winter. A few of the west facing gullies could slide with the right conditions.

Hector Ridge South

Trip Category: 
OT - Off-Trail Skiing
Technical Difficulty Level: 
4
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, March 3, 2019
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,709

After braving cold temperatures the last weekend of February 2019, I was ready for some more bravery on the first weekend of March 2019. When I say "ready", I really mean I was desperate enough to get my ass off the couch and out of the city to suffer -30 temps - frostbite be damned! When I contacted Ali to find out what she was up to, she mentioned Matt Clay was planning something. When the dust finally settled we decided that a group of us would tramp up Hector Ridge South, roughly following Bob Spirko's route. Hanneke even decided to join me so in the end it was her and I, Phil, Clay, Sandra and Alison with Ali and I on skis and the rest on snowshoes.

 

!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2019/03/03/hector-ridge-south/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.

 

Elevation Gain (m): 
980
Round Trip Time: 
5.50
Total Distance (km): 
8.50
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

A pretty tame ski tour or snowshoe at least until the summit ridge where you might want an ice ax and/or crampons to feel secure on wind hammered snow.

Helena Ridge (East)

Trip Category: 
OT - Off-Trail Skiing
Technical Difficulty Level: 
2
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes