Midday Peak (Porcupine Loop)

Interesting Facts: 

"Midday" is obviously an effort to be copecetic with the nearby, unofficially named "Midnight" Peak. This highpoint certainly deserves it's own label considering its position and elevation along with the nice moderate scramble that attains its summit.

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, May 19, 2018

At this point on a gorgeous spring day on May 19, 2018, Wietse and I were already over 6 hours into our day and a LONG way from our vehicle. As we descended the easy, snowy NW ridge of Boundary Peak towards Midday Peak, we also met other people for the first time that day. A gaggle of trail runners with their ridiculously light packs and physically fit bods ran / walked past us as we exchanged brief greetings and assured them that Porcupine Ridge was easy and fun.

 

 
[Continuing along Boundary Ridge towards Midday Peak which is still a ways off at this point. Clouds are starting to build but they're the nice kind, not the nasty ones.]


[The ridge is easy and offers very nice views for a front range endeavor.]


[Baldy Peak looks pretty small from here.]


[Looking back up Boundary Peak from yet another low saddle on the traverse.]

 

After descending to yet another low saddle, this one between Boundary Ridge and Peak, we heard more voices ahead and spotted a large group on the ridge above us. As we ascended towards them and greeted each other, we quickly realized this was the large group that had 4 or 5 vehicles parked in the ditch that morning before we got there. They had obviously walked up hwy 40 and were busy completing the Porcupine Loop in a clockwise direction. It sounded like they might be interested in adding Tiara Peak to the list, which would make for a VERY long and full day! We cautioned them a bit about the snow loaded east slopes that we'd noted from Boundary Ridge before parting ways and continuing on our ways.

 

 
[Midday starts to look like a peak as we approach it along the ridge (C).]


[Approaching the summit of "Boundary Ridge" - which we did not claim separately. There's a large group taking a break there.]


[There are some interesting tight confines in the upper north fork of Porcupine Creek.]


[Looking back at Boundary Peak from Boundary Ridge.]

 

There was a surprising amount of height loss between Boundary Ridge and Midday Peak. Thankfully it was fairly quick and easy and our views were still pretty neat, especially the unique perspective on Baldy's three summits. The east ridge of Midday looked intimidating from afar but we knew it was only supposed to be moderate scrambling so we got our noses into it. With some lingering snow and wet rocks it certainly was "moderate", but no more than that. I could see it looking fierce from the other way, but upclimbing the crux is almost always easier and was one of the reasons we were going counterclockwise - in case of snow / ice on this section.

 


[The next section of ridge to Midday Peak looks fun - and it was.]

 
[At another low point on the ridge, looking forward to Midday Peak. Boundary just visible at far left. ++]

 
[A great view of the crux east ridge of Midday Peak with Midnight Peak at right. ++]

 
[Approaching the crux section with Midnight and Baldy at right. It may be possible to skirt some of the difficulties at left here (oos) as we did see tracks that way.]


[Starting up the crux.]

 
[Great views off the ridge.]


[I can see that this terrain looks harder from above when you have to downclimb it.]


[Looking over Baldy Pass towards Baldy Peak.]

 

After a fun, exposed scramble we were finally on top of our 5th peak of the day, roughly 7.5 hours and over 15km from the truck. Some afternoon clouds had been slowly building as we ascended, but these were the welcome, puffy kind of afternoon clouds, that only offered brief respite from the sun and didn't come with goodies such as lightning, hail and wind - yet anyway. Another short break to drink the last of my Starbucks coffee and choke down some food and we had a decision to finally make.

 

 
[Views over Midnight Peak (L) towards the Ghost including Old Goat, Devil's Head, Saddle, Costigan, Castle Rock, Morrowmount and many others. ++]


[Mount James Walker.]


[McDougall (L) and Old Baldy rise high above Wasootch Ridge.]


[Looking back at Boundary Peak with Tiara Peak at distant right.]

 
[Looking over Midnight Peak towards Fable and Townsend. ++]

 
[Many Kananaskis peaks show up on this tele-panorama over Porcupine Ridge in the foreground, including (L to R), McDougall, Wasootch Ridge, Old Baldy, Kananaskis, Wasootch Lorette and Skogan with peaks such as Collembolla, Lougheed, Allan, Sparrowhawk, Bogart, Kidd, Galatea, Gusty, Fortress and James Walker in the distance beyond. ++]

 
[A great shot towards the east and south showing our approach along Boundary Ridge from Tiara Peak, far in the distant right. ++]


[This cute little character was very curious.]

 
[A great panorama showing our entire ridge traverse up to the summit of Midday Peak. It starts at lower right at the end of Porcupine Ridge, leading to center under Tiara Peak before coming over Boundary Ridge at left and then up to the summit. ++]


Since the morning already, we'd been discussing descent options. I wanted to try the SW slopes directly under Midday Peak partly because I didn't want to repeat Midday and partly because it looked like a somewhat challenging route through cliff bands to a section of North Porcupine Creek that was supposedly quite scenic. Wietse, understandably, wasn't so keen on the steep, loose, cliffy terrain and preferred going over Midnight Peak and finding another route down. I had assumed he meant the Baldy Pass trail by his "other route", but on further discussion it turned out that Wietse had descended the west ridge of Midnight Peak before, and saw a nice route from there south, down to North Porcupine Creek. Once I understood his route, I agreed 100% with it. Why get cliffed out if there was an obvious, pleasurable way to go? I'm an idiot, but not a HUGE idiot. Sometimes you just have to admit your scrambling partner has a better idea than you do... blush

 

With the route agreed on, we started the descent down towards Midnight Peak.

Summit Elevation (m): 
2,340
Summit Elevation (ft): 
7,677
Elevation Gain (m): 
1700
Round Trip Time: 
10.50
Total Distance (km): 
21.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Moderate scrambling on the northeast ridge of Midday - definitely easy to upclimb than downclimb.