Mythic Tower, Little (Townsend Traverse)

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

In 1993, John Martin completed a traverse of two towers along the ridge running between Mount Townsend and Fable in the Fairholme Range and named them, "Epic Tower" and "Mythic Tower". In a quest to uncover more information on these peaks, Bob Spirko did a recon mission up Fable Creek in early July of 2008, reaching another minor summit along the ridge which he dubbed, "Little Mythic".

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, August 30, 2018

The only "peak" remaining along the ridge after scrambling up Mount Townsend, Epic Tower and Mythic Tower was about as unofficial as a peak can get - "Little Mythic Tower" - so dubbed by Bob Spirko back in July of 2008 while on his scouting trip to find and document the Mythic Towers mentioned by Gillean Daffern in her famous Rockies hiking guide.

 

Some people get all technical and cautious when referring to their "formal peak lists". Meh. Who has time for such things? I don't even count my peaks anymore - because in the end who really cares how many I've done or even which ones I've done? I only care that I enjoy my outings, whatever they are, and I like to share them with others so that they too can enjoy them if they want. If a peak has a reference that is public, such as "Little Mythic", then I will list it as a separate peak in case someone only wants to do it, or searches by that name. I could list it as a grid reference instead, but that's boring and too technical for me. Like I always tell people who care about such things - feel free not to do it if you don't want to bother! cheeky

 

The traverse from Mythic Tower to Little Mythic was as easy as these things get and 100% worth it for two reasons. Firstly, the hiking was fun and easy with awesome views along the ridge and down into the Exshaw Creek and Cougar Creek valleys. Secondly, it gave me access to a really nice descent option that completed a loop of the upper Cougar Creek peaks. I knew from Jamie Junker's report that it is easy to get into difficult downclimbing on the slabby west aspect of the ridge so I was really cautious about my alternate route down. I could see all the way into the creek below down easy scree and boulders so I knew my planned route would go.

 

 
[The traverse from Mythic Tower to Little Mythic Tower is 100% worth it for views like this down Exshaw Creek. ++]

 
[The view to the north ain't shabby either. Mythic Tower is impressive from pretty much any angle.]


[An easy scree hike to the summit.]


[The east face reminded me of Ha Ling.]


[Interesting terrain near the summit.]

 

The views were getting familiar from the summit of Little Mythic, but different enough towards Yamnuska and Hassle Castle to make it well worth the 10 or 15 minute diversion from my planned descent slopes. After taking some more smoke free photos it was time for my long exit. I was now 7 hours into my day and had done almost 2000m of elevation and 18km or so. I was feeling pretty good and knew that I could get out well before dark.

 

 
[Looking north back at Mythic Tower from the summit. Epic Tower and Mount Townsend just visible at left. I've come a long way today! South Ghost Peak and Cross Peak at right. ++]

 
[Looking down Exshaw Creek and across to Morrowmount, Yamnuska, Old Fort, Goat, Loder, Door Jamb and Mount Fable (L to R). ++]


[Old Fort Peak.]


[Mount Yamnuska.]


[South Ghost, Cross Peak and Association Peak (L to R).]


[Morrowmount (Jura Peak).]

 
[Great views north along the impressive ridge running towards Mount Townsend. Mythic Tower featuring prominently at center foreground. Saddle Peak in the distance over the pass at the head of Exshaw Creek. Cross Peak at right. ++]

 
[Bob Spirko used the Exshaw Creek (L) approach for Little Mythic, ascending the red scree slopes at foreground center and right in front of Mount Fable. Cougar Peak at right with Grotto Mountain at distant center. ++]


[Mount Fable is a very unique mountain with distinctive folds.]


[A close-up of Mythic Tower's summit block showing the crack and crux chimney which are key to cracking the summit.]

 

The descent into the bowl under Little Mythic to the west was easy and fast on a mix of scree and small boulders. My approach shoes didn't love the small boulders but I survived with a few banged up ankles. I descended steep dirt and scree into the upper creek before following it back to my Townsend approach line. The terrain along this upper creek was very interesting with slabs, small pools of water and the beginnings of Fall colors starting to show.

 


[This is the easy exit bowl under Little Mythic that I used for descent. Cougar Peak at upper left and Cougar Creek at lower right.]


[These rocks weren't great in approach shoes. The key is to trend left to avoid lower slabs.]


[Looking across to Mount Townsend (L) and Epic Tower (R).]


[Looking back up easy descent slopes.]

 
[This is why you have to be careful where you descend. Looking north across very slabby terrain with my descent route at lower left.]

 
[My exit creek leads towards Cougar Creek easily. Townsend at distant upper right.]


[Exiting a very steep scree slope into the upper exit creek, looking back at my descent route from Little Mythic at upper right.]


[Back to creek hiking as I return towards my ascent track.]


[A last glance back at my descent route along the obvious brown scree bench.]


[This section reminded me more of Jura Creek than Cougar Creek.]

 

The long exit via Cougar Creek pretty much went as I suspected, although I have to admit that not looking at my GPS helped it go by quicker than looking at it every 10 minutes to see how far I was. It took my a long time to reach the Cougar Peak drainage but from there the creek opens up a lot and my pace quickened. As usual I started running into other people as I reached the climbing walls along the end of the route until I was passing someone every few minutes, it seemed.

 

 
[Looking back up the junction where I ascended the left hand drainage towards Mount Townsend and descended the right hand one from Little Mythic hours later.]


Descending the upper Cougar Creek I realized that I had, indeed, gained quite a bit of height on the approach.]


[Looking back at Epic (C) and Mythic (R) Towers.]


[The 2013 flood has certainly left its mark on the Cougar Creek drainage. It probably also cleared it out very handily for folks like me!]


[Back to easy creek walking as I enjoy the exit hike towards Canmore.]

 

I was very surprised when I got to the truck and realized my entire day had 'only' been 11.5 hours long. I really enjoyed this trip a lot more than I thought I would. It was the perfect solo outing with easy creek travel, interesting terrain and some moderate the difficult scrambling and routefinding. I highly recommend all four peaks for experienced parties. Don't forget a helmet and your sheep trail finding skills!

Summit Elevation (m): 
2,618
Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,590
Elevation Gain (m): 
1900
Round Trip Time: 
11.50
Total Distance (km): 
30.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

A very long creek approach with minor bushwhacking, some routefinding and some sheep trails. The traverse is moderate to difficult depending on whether Mystic Tower is included.