Yoho National Park

All Souls Prospect - Opabin Plateau (Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit)

Interesting Facts: 

The All Souls Prospect alpine hike, is one of the most spectacular hikes in one of the most spectacular regions of the Canadian Rockies. It is a loop near Lake O'Hara that begins and ends near the Lake O'Hara Lodge and is recommended for experienced and fit hikers.

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Thursday, September 30, 2010

As part of a peaceful and relaxing solo hiking trip to the Lake O'Hara region in 2010, I scrambled up Mount Schaffer early in the day on the 30th of September in perfect weather conditions. After checking out McArthur Lake (stunning) I had the rest of the day to explore part of the so-called Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit, a gorgeous series of trails staring near the Lake O'Hara lodge and working its way up past Mary and Moor Lakes to Hungabee and Opabin Lakes before looping back around the upper Opabin Plateau and along Yukness Mountain's south and west flank towards Lake Oesa.

 


!!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/2010/09/30/all-souls-prospect-opabin-plateau/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Round Trip Time: 
4.00
Total Distance (km): 
7.00
Difficulty Notes: 

No major difficulties other than catching a bus or walking up the approach road 11km... Fall is the best time to hike this one.

Ayesha Peak

Trip Category: 
MN - Ski Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named by White in 1901. White wrote that, "the crest of the mountain resembles a beautiful face turned upwards and, owing to the wild surroundings, suggested the name of the heroine in Rider Haggard's, 'She.'") Official name. First ascended in 1930 by E. Cromwell, J. Monroe Thorington, guided by Peter Kaufmann. (from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
8
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,065

Steven and I found ourselves back in the very familiar confines of the Bow Hut on Wednesday evening after work, May 7 2014. We were hoping to beat a system moving in the next day by staying at the Bow Hut on Wednesday night. We planned on rising very early on Thursday morning to cross the Wapta Glacier in the dark, before climbing Ayesha Peak in advance of the strong spring sun / warm temperatures that could de-stabilize the steep snow slopes that guard her infamous summit block. Ayesha has been on my radar for many years already, ever since I heard stories of her beautiful snow arete and challenging summit block from friends who had done it already years ago. I didn't pay quite enough attention to the parts about her summit block that included 4th class rock, but wouldn't realize that until I was about to start up it 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/2014/05/08/ayesha-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): 
10,056
Elevation Gain (m): 
1600
Round Trip Time: 
13.00
Total Distance (km): 
35.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

The snow gully is an obvious crux but there are a couple of tricky rock sections afterwards that may require a rappel or protection on ascent depending on comfort level / conditions.

Bosworth, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1903. Bosworth, G.M. (Mr. Bosworth was a freight manager and the fourth Vice President of the CPR.) Official name. First ascended in 1903 by Topographical Survey. (info from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,771

On Saturday, September 20th 2008, Keith, JW and I scrambled up Mount Bosworth in beautiful, sunny weather - the summer weather we never had in 2008! Originally we were supposed to be making an attempt at North Victoria Peak on this day but since the weather forecast was pretty good we decided to wait for a cloudy day to enjoy that 11,000er.

 


!!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/2008/09/20/bosworth-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): 
9,092
Elevation Gain (m): 
1150
Total Distance (km): 
7.00
Difficulty Notes: 

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

Burgess, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Otto Koltz in 1886. Burgess, Alexander MacKinnon (After serving as a Deputy Minister of the Interior during the construction of the CPR, Alexander Burgess became Commissioner of Public Lands for Canada in 1897.) Official name. (from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,599

After completing the easy scramble up Walcott Peak Bill Kerr and I started on the traverse to Mount Burgess. There are a few trip reports available on the scramble route to the summit of Mount Burgess from Walcott Peak. They all indicate that this is a difficult and exposed scramble. There are two acceptable routes, one that goes around two pinnacles on the south ridge (the second pinnacle is only bypassed with a very exposed ledge maneuver). The other route goes up a steep, narrow, loose gully which avoids the two pinnacles and exposed traverse. After the 2nd pinnacle the routes join up and continue on an exposed ridge to the summit. Sounded like fun to us!

 


!!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/2010/08/28/walcott-peak-mount-burgess/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,527
Elevation Gain (m): 
1450
Round Trip Time: 
9.50
Total Distance (km): 
14.00
Difficulty Notes: 

A fall on the crux would severely injure or kill so take necessary precautions. Small parties and dry conditions are highly recommended.

Carnarvon, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Alexander MacKinnon Burgess in 1900. Herbert, Howard Molyneux (Fourth Earl of Carnarvon) (The Earl of Carnarvon was the parliamentary author of the British North America Act of 1867. He helped resolve the dispute between BC and Canada shortly after the province joined Canada.) Official name. Other names Emerald Mountain, McMullen (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 3, 2010
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,040

On Friday, September 03 2010 I completed my last 'Kane scramble' with Eric, Marko and Greg. Mount Carnarvon was looking like it would be my last Kane peak for a while and when I tallied up the remaining 11 peaks at the beginning of 2010 I picked it as the last one. I could not have timed it better! The summer of 2010 has been a drizzmal affair with late summer conditions and then early snow and ice.

 


!!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/2010/09/03/carnarvon-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): 
9,974
Elevation Gain (m): 
1800
Round Trip Time: 
8.00
Total Distance (km): 
18.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

This is large mountain with many areas of loose scree and exposure. It often has snow / ice on the route so take necessary precautions.

Cathedral Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named by James Outram in 1886. The mountain features imposing steep cliffs are reminiscent of the walls of a cathedral. Official name. 

First ascended in 1901 by James Outram, guided by J. Bossoney, C. Klucker. Journal reference App 10-33, 20-544. (from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
YDS Grade: 
II
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, August 26, 2011
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,189

The Approach

 

On Friday, August 26 2011, So Nakagawa and I ascended Cathedral Mountain under a gorgeous early morning sky from our bivy site near the glacier. Cathedral is one of the most picturesque mountains I've ever climbed and make it into a top 20 summit for me. Details;

 


!!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/2011/08/26/cathedral-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): 
10,463
Elevation Gain (m): 
1700
Total Distance (km): 
20.00
Difficulty Notes: 

A fairly benign glacier crossing with some severe exposure in several places where a slip would be fatal.

Collie, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Charles S. Thompson in 1897. Collie, J. Norman (A prominent chemist, J.N. Collie was one of the earliest mountaineers in the Canadian Rockies.)(see biog.) Official name. First ascended in 1901 by James Outram, Edward Whymper, guided by C. Kaufmann, C. Klucker, J. Pollinger. (from peakfinder.com

Trip Category: 
MN - Ski Mountaineering
Technical Difficulty Level: 
8
Endurance Level: 
Extreme
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,116

On Tuesday, April 29 2014 I joined Steven and Ferenc on a long desired day trip of Mount Collie on the Wapta Icefield in Yoho National Park. Ever since I first started climbing the peaks on the Wapta Icefield, there were five summits that I thought I'd never have the skills (or guts?) to ascend. They were Balfour, Patterson, Ayesha, Peyto and Collie. Balfour due it's big terrain and the broken glacier to Balfour Col. Patterson due to it's dire approach avalanche slopes. Ayesha due to avalanche approach slopes and low 5th summit block. Peyto due to it's 5th class summit block. Mount Collie due to it's infamous summit cornice that has turned back many ascent parties over the years. Reading the trip reports on Collie and talking to people who have already done it was a bit intimidating. It sounded like you could either get lucky and follow someone else's footprints, or more likely be turned back by the narrow, double corniced upper ridge. I spent 6 or 7 years just waiting for the perfect combination of weather, time and partners to attempt it and that day finally came with an omega block weather pattern and low-low-low avy risks on the first day of the block.

 


!!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/2014/04/29/collie-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): 
10,224
Elevation Gain (m): 
1900
Round Trip Time: 
11.00
Total Distance (km): 
33.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

Difficult and very exposed summit ridge with overhanging cornices in BOTH directions. Be very confident of the snow pack before attempting this one!

Consummation Peak

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

Other than a very (!) interesting name, I can find no sources for Consummation Peak other than a map near the Le Relais Hut near Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park. I'm sure there's a story behind it though. Consummation is a minor scree pile located between the two impressive summits of Odaray to the south and Cathedral Mountain to the north.

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

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,506

After a long outing the week before to the Egypt Lakes area and a somewhat gloomy weather forecast, I decided to play it safe on Saturday, September 23 2017 with a nice fall hike on the western edge of the Lake O'Hara region in Yoho National Park. Wietse decided to join me on this venture. I found Consummation Peak while perusing the ViewRanger Landscape maps in areas that I knew had larches. There was only one trip report online for this minor summit and it seemed to be exactly what I was looking for - something fairly low (not in the clouds) and easy (there was fresh 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/2017/09/23/consummation-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): 
1230
Round Trip Time: 
8.50
Total Distance (km): 
22.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

No difficulties other than the long approach up the Lake O'Hara road.

Daly, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

First ascended in 1903 by J.H. Batcheller, C.E. Fay, E. Tewes, guided by Christian Hasler sr., C. Bohren. Journal reference App 9-94, 10-374, CAJ 2-146. (From peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, September 25, 2009
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,152

On September 25 2009 my brother Rod and I headed into Sherbrooke Lake and beyond in Yoho National Park to see what all the fuss over Niles Meadows and it's neighboring peaks, Mount Daly and Niles was. The fuss is well founded, as it turns out! The hike to Sherbrooke Lake gained more elevation than I expected. We gained about 200 vertical meters before the lake already - and felt it with the bigger packs! Rod is a flat lander from Winnipeg and he did pretty darn good considering! Just wait till he turns 30... ;-)

 


!!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/2009/09/25/daly-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): 
10,342
Elevation Gain (m): 
1700
Total Distance (km): 
35.00
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.

Des Poilus, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Arthur O. Wheeler in 1916. Previously known as Mount Habel, the mountain now honours, "the humble and fascinating poilu (the lowest ranking soldiers of the French Army) who battled the invading Germans during WW I.” Official name. Other names Hidden Peak; Mt. Habel

First ascended in 1901 by James Outram, Edward Whymper, guided by J. Pollinger, C. Klucker, C. Kaufmann. (from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
YDS Grade: 
II
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,161

After an approach to the des Poilus glacier and an ascent of Yoho Peak, I found myself oversleeping my alarm on Sunday, August 14 - our planned ascent day for Mount Des Poilus. The moon was so bright as I emerged from my bivy sack, that I was casting a shadow! The full moon would only make our ascent of the glacier easier.

 


!!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/2011/08/14/des-poilus-mont/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,371
Total Distance (km): 
33.00
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.

Emerald Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Mount Carnarvon (the big neighbor just west of Emerald) used to be named "Emerald" but was renamed. The name "Emerald" migrated to the peak actually overlooking Emerald Lake far below. 

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,545

After reading a number of trip reports over the years on Emerald Peak in Yoho National Park, I was fairly certain I wanted to ski this summit. A favorite summit shot looking straight down the 4000 foot avy path to Emerald Lake is usually captioned with "can you imagine this on SKI's?!". Yes, now I can! And it's pretty spectacular my friend.

 


!!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/2013/02/10/emerald-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): 
8,350
Elevation Gain (m): 
1250
Round Trip Time: 
6.50
Total Distance (km): 
8.00
Difficulty Notes: 

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

Field, Mount

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

Named in 1883. Field, Cyrus West (As a guest of the CPR which was then under construction, Cyrus Field visited the "end of steel" in 1884 which was then in the area of the present town of Field. Cyrus Field was a promoter of the first trans-Atlantic cable.) Official name. (info from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, March 10, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,643
Finally on March 10 of 2018 I managed to ski a peak that's been on my hit-list for many years. 13 years ago, I'd scrambled Mount Field in Yoho National Park from a weird approach (the Stanley Mitchell Hut) with the infamous Dave Stephens. Since then a lot of my mountain friends had skied the peak from the opposite side and highly recommended it to me. Of course, because I'm a peak bagger I don't normally like to repeat summits, but if the mode and route of the peak being bagged is completely different, it can be worth a second trip. In this case it was certainly worth it. wink

 


!!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/2018/03/10/field-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): 
8,672
Elevation Gain (m): 
1450
Round Trip Time: 
6.75
Total Distance (km): 
20.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

As a ski trip this outing involves traveling through and in some serious avalanche terrain - take normal precautions. Otherwise this is an easy scramble on a good trail almost the entire way - note this is a completely different route!

Gordon, Mount

Trip Category: 
MN - Ski Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1916. Gordon, Alexander MacLennan (A Presbyterian minister, Gordon was also a "persistent" climber. He was an armed forces chaplain in both World Wars.) Official name. First ascended in 1897 by J. Norman Collie, G. Baker, H.B. Dixon, Charles E. Fay, A. Michael, C.L. Noyes, H.C. Parker, C.S. Thompson, guided by Peter Sarbach. (info from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, December 21, 2012
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,203

On the shortest day of 2012 I was joined by Wietse and Kelly on an ascent of Mount Gordon on the Wapta Ice fields in bitterly cold but clear conditions. Of course, this wasn't my first time ascending this peak. It was the very first summit on the Wapta for me, back in 2006 on a bitterly cold January day.

 


!!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/2012/12/21/gordon-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): 
10,510
Elevation Gain (m): 
1200
Total Distance (km): 
24.00
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.

Huber, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Samuel E.S. Allen in 1903. Huber, Emil (A Swiss climber, Emil Huber (together with Carl Sulzer) made the first ascent of Mount Sir Donald in the Selkirks in 1890.) Official name. First ascended in 1903 by G. Collier, E. Tewes, guided by C. Bohren, Christian Kaufmann. Journal reference AAJ 5-151. (info from peakfinder.com

YDS Class: 
5.0-5.2
YDS Grade: 
I
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,368

After climbing Mount Victoria, it was time to give Mount Huber a try. We found the descent gully to the Huber glacier (First obvious gully on the way up - pretty wide at the top) and here the snow finally became our friend. Instead of loose scree, we carefully down-climbed a steep snow patch to the first rap station. An easy 30m rap and another careful down climb on snow / ice covered scree brought us to the last rap station. A 30m rap and were half way down an open snow/ice slope leading to the Huber / Victoria schrund.

 


!!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/2007/09/09/victoria-mount-huber/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
11,050
Elevation Gain (m): 
1700
Total Distance (km): 
12.00
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.

Iceline Trail, The (Stanley Mitchell ACC Hut, Little Yoho Valley)

Interesting Facts: 

A signature circuit climbing to a high bench with spectacular glacier views, descending to meadows in the Little Yoho Valley and returning past Laughing Falls in the Yoho Valley. (from Parks Canada

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Friday, August 11, 2006 to Sunday, August 13, 2006
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,227

It all started with Linda Breton planning a group trip to the Stanley Mitchell hut in hopes of having a more successful outing than the group trip last year. In June 2005, Dave, Sonny and I summitted Isolated Peak and then the weather prevented us and the rest of the rmbooks group from getting anything more significant. We thought that we had bagged Mount Kerr but a year later we found out to our dismay that the map and guidebook description had led us to an outlier of Kerr - not the main summit! (It was worse for me because I'd already 'summitted' that false peak once before!!)

 


!!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/2006/08/11/iceline-trail-the-stanley-mitchell-acc-hut-little-yoho-valley/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
7,306
Elevation Gain (m): 
1000
Total Distance (km): 
20.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Easy hiking and scrambling but with some exposure and loose rock. Big elevation gains and steep switchbacks with a backpack.

Isolated Peak

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

First ascended in 1901 by James Outram, Edward Whymper, guided by C. Kaufmann, C. Klucker, J. Pollinger, J. Bossoney. Journal reference App 10-85. (info from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Monday, July 4, 2005
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,845

A (soggy) group scramble weekend with Sonny, Dave, Bob, Dinah and Linda. Dave, Sonny and I walked into Stanley Mitchell hut on Friday morning and managed to negotiate steep snow slopes to Isolated's summit that afternoon. This was my second attempt at the peak, an earlier attempt with cousins Jon and Steve in 2002 was unsuccessful mainly due to my inexperience at the time. We did manage to bag the Whaleback on that trip.

 


Dave on the approach to Isolated Peak. 
[Dave on the approach to Isolated Peak after a quick morning backpack into the Stanley Mitchell Hut.]

Sonny is just approaching the steep snow patch below us. 
[Sonny is just approaching the steep snow patch below us. I turned around at this slope in 2002 because it scared me.]

Dave just before reaching Isolated Peak's summit. 
[Dave just before reaching Isolated Peak's summit. Note the PINK plastic mountaineering boots! Go Dave!]

Dave on the summit of Isolated Peak. 
[Dave on the summit of Isolated Peak.]

A snowy view off the summit. 
[A very snowy view off the summit towards Yoho Peak on the left.]

Dave checking out the view on the descent from Isolated Peak. 
[Dave checking out the view of the Vice President (L) and President (C) on the descent from Isolated Peak.]

Ascent and descent views from the Des Poilles glacier. Our descent route is marked in red. 
[View from the Des Poilus Glacier on descent. Our descent route is marked in red. Our ascent route is up snow on the right side of the photo.]

The ascent route from the Des Poilles glacier. 
[Our ascent route from the Des Poilus glacier is straight up the obvious snow gully.]

 

We just beat the rain back to the hut but Linda, Bob and Dinah weren't so lucky. They were soaked from head to toe from their hike and dripped their way into the hut late Friday afternoon.

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,334
Elevation Gain (m): 
1344
Total Distance (km): 
14.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Some moderate scrambling and loose terrain along with limited route finding make this a moderate scramble.

Kerr, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1951. Kerr, John Chipman VC (John Kerr was a Canadian soldier who awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during WW I) Official name. (info from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,560

We didn't really feel like taking on Kerr but we knew that it was a better option than waiting till Sunday morning before the trek out to do it. The weather seemed to look a lot worse than it was and so with another threatening band of grey clouds heading right at us, we started traversing around the base of Mount Kerr.

 


!!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/2006/08/12/kiwetinok-peak-mount-pollinger-mcarthur-kerr-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): 
8,399
Elevation Gain (m): 
1500
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Kerr is an easy scramble or hike from Kiwetinok Pass. The hard part is figuring out which summit to claim.

Kiwetinok Peak

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Otto Koltz in 1901. Kiwetinok is the Stoney Indian word for "on the north side." Official name. First ascended in 1901 by James Outram, guided by Christian Kaufmann, J. Pollinger. (info from peakfinder.com

 

Technical Difficulty Level: 
7
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,902

This oatmeal is very average

 

That deadpan quote was uttered by Bob Parr at 6am, August 12, 2006 in preparation of attempting Kiwetinok Peak, Mount Pollinger, Mount McArthur and Mount Kerr in Yoho National Park. Apparently plain oatmeal and water is not a gourmet breakfast. As it turns out, Bob provided a lot entertaining, deadpan quotes which made a weekend in Yoho's Stanley Mitchell hut very entertaining.

 


!!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/2006/08/12/kiwetinok-peak-mount-pollinger-mcarthur-kerr-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): 
9,521
Elevation Gain (m): 
1500
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

Complexity rises with snow on route - consider avalanche risk before ascending on snow.

Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit (Opabin Plateau)

Interesting Facts: 

Lake O'Hara is a magical region of the Canadian Rockies, filled with sparkling green / blue lakes and ponds, thousands of larch trees and huge 11,000 foot peaks capped with snow and ice. Due to this special mix of natural wonder, the area is restricted to daily quotas via a busing system up the 11km approach road. You can hike this road, but you can not bike it at risk of heavy fines. The best time of year to explore this special place is mid to late September when the larches are golden and the skies are clear.

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Friday, October 1, 2010

After spending one of the most enjoyable and gorgeous fall days of my hiking / scrambling life the day before on Schaffer, McArthur Lake and All Souls Prospect, I woke up on Friday morning, the first day of October ready for another fantastic outing. 

 

I was hiking over frost-nipped ground by around 07:30 after breakfast and an excellent cup of Starbucks instant coffee. The air was crisp and cool but the sky was clear and I felt great after a pretty good sleep in the hut. Huts can be extremely noisy and cramped but stuffing my ears with TP combined with being pretty tired after a long day and a wake up time of 04:00 helped me sleep despite the snoring of Bob the artist beside me! :-)

 


Looking back at Mary Lake and Cathedral mountain as I gain height into the Opabin Plateau. The two summits of Wiwaxy rise on the right.

 

My route for the day was to wander into the upper Opabin Plateau area, taking advantage of early morning light and the pools / lakes for photography. After wandering around and visiting Hungabee and Opabin Lakes I would traverse the Yukness Highline trail to Lake Oesa. After exploring that area for a while I would take the Wiwaxy highline trail to the Wiwaxy / Huber col and from there I would attempt Wiwaxy Peaks (east peak) as a scramble. After that it would be a quick hike back to Lake O'Hara and then to the EP hut.

 


The excellent trail on the Opabin Plateau with Opabin Pass in the far distance.

 

As I wandered around the upper Opabin Plateau area I was struck by two things;

 

  1. How lucky I was to have the health, time and money to explore areas like this!
  2. How rare it must be to have such accessible, well maintained (trails) and wild scenery and to have this wild scenery all to MYSELF. I was the only person wandering around up there until at least 10:00!

 

As I walked further and further onto the plateau I started thinking about visiting Opabin Pass. I knew that there was supposed to be a glacier all the way to the pass, but didn't know if it had possibly melted back far enough to bypass it in any way. I decided to go beyond Opabin Lake and check it out for myself.

 


Looking over Cascade Ponds towards Wiwaxy (L) and Huber (R).


Mount Biddle towers impressively over the route to Opabin Pass.


Looking over Moor Lakes towards Wiwaxy East (L) and Huber (R).


The trails on the Opabin Plateau are wonderful - the views are wonderful too.


Hungabee Lake reflects gorgeous Cathedral Mountain. Odaray and Stephen on the left and Wiwaxy on the right.

 
A panorama of the Moor Lakes (distance) and Hungabee Lake (closest) as I work my way up the headwall to Hungabee Lake. 


Opabin Lake with Yukness, Ringrose, Hungabee and Biddle (L to R).

 

There are cairns and an obvious trail working it's way all the way up to the Opabin Glacier. This is the climber's approach route for Hungabee and that's why there is this unofficial trail. Along the way I discovered what I think is a bivy spot containing some sort of waste container. There was nothing in it - so I really don't know what that container was for. As I approached the glacier I could see that I was probably not going to make the pass. The glacier had some surprisingly big crevasses in it and with some fresh snow on the upper part and no partner or crampons in my pack I wasn't going to fool around on it alone. I thought I'd press on just for fun anyway. I turned back after trying to ascend a bit of Hungabee's lower slopes on climber's left of the glacier and have some rocks zing past me from above! This gives me a good idea of the stability of Hungabee for when I climb it - there is none! ;-) I reluctantly turned around and hiked back towards Opabin Lake.

 


Mount Biddle reflects in Opabin Lake. Opabin Pass at far left.


Hungabee (L) and Biddle (R) reflect in the green waters of Opabin Lake.


Frozen puddle and Opabin Pass.


The Opabin Glacier is quite broken and melted back.


The Opabin Glacier is tame, but is quite broken and requires crampons to get up and down safely.


Mount Biddle and the Opabin Glacier.


Glacier patterns.


Looking back from beside the glacier, Mount Schaffer, Opabin Lake, Yukness, Odaray, Stephen, Cathedral and Wiwaxy (L to R) in the bg. 


Looking over Opabin and Moor Lakes to Cathedral and Wiwaxy Peaks (R).

 

Once past the lake I scouted around for the Yukness Ledge route to Lake Oesa and started along it. This is a wonderful hike on some exposed terrain granting sublime views of the O'Hara region. Once again, the route was very obvious with limited exposure.

 

 
Back under the Opabin Glacier, heading back to find the Yukness Ledge route, somewhere to the right. 


Opabin Lake reflects Mount Stephen with Odaray on the left.


The stunning green color of Opabin Lake.


Looking down at the plateau from just past Opabin Lake on my way to find the Yukness Ledge route above Hungabee Lake.


Hungabee Lake reflects Mount Odaray. I had to descend right to the lake to find the Yukness Ledge route going up through the gray, loose rocks on the right side of this photo.


Gorgeous morning lighting on Little (L) and main Odaray Peaks.


Finally on the Yukness Ledge route - Moor Lakes just visible at lower left.


Looking back along the fabulous Yukness Ledge trail with Hungabee and Moor Lakes below and Biddle in the bg.


A magical high line hike continues around the NW end of Yukness Mountain.

 
A great panorama starts to open up in front of me as I round the NW nose of Yukness. Cascade Lakes, Mary and O'Hara Lake with Schaffer, Odaray, Stephen, Cathedral and my destination peak for the afternoon - Wiwaxy from L to R. 

 
As I round the NW nose of Yukness the view opens up completely to reveal the entire Lake O'Hara. Mount Huber towers above on the right. Tiny Yukness Lake is visible at lower right. 


Does it get better than this? Not often!


As the Yukness Ledges trail rounds the NW end of Yukness Mountain, views of Huber (L) and Victoria (R) open up above and the trail negotiates through some interesting cliffy ledges.


Ledges aren't a problem for indigenous wildlife.

 
Mary, O'Hara and Yukness Lakes. (L to R) Wiwaxy at far right with the trail to the Wiwaxy / Huber col somewhere up that slope on the right.


The ledges high line traverse is one of my favorite hikes I've done in the Rockies.

 

After losing some hard won elevation, I found myself at Lake Oesa. The lake was very quiet and I spent almost an hour at it, snacking and pondering life. Then it was time to get back to 'work'!

 


Descending from the Ledge Route to Lake Oesa with Lefroy (L), Glacier (C) and Ringrose (R) looming above.


Not many folks are sharing this most perfect day with me - which made it even better! Lefroy Lake is visible in front of Lake Oesa here.


Water flows from Lake Oesa to Lefroy Lake with Mount Ringrose looming many thousands of feet above.

 
Lake Oesa with Victoria, Lefroy, Glacier and Ringrose (L to R) rising above. The route to the Abbott Hut is trampled into the scree slopes on the left side of this frame. 

 

The trudge up to the Wiwaxy - Huber col was enjoyable. Most people seemed to be doing it the opposite way (I was doing all my work at the end of the day) but the trail was obvious and the views kept getting better and better. If you're not used to loose and somewhat exposed hiking you may not love this section of the high line traverse.

 


Starting the grunt to the Wiwaxy / Huber col. Lefroy Lake, Yukness Lake and Lake O'Hara at bottom.


Looking back down at Yukness, Lefroy Lakes and Lake Oesa with Glacier, Ringrose, Hungabee, Yukness and Biddle all visible now too (L to R).


Wiwaxy and the col are now clearly visible with and obvious route towards them. Wiwaxy doesn't look too easy from this angle!


View from the col, looking down the approach valley with Cathedral at left and the Sherbrooke Lake area in the far distance.


My destination from the Wiwaxy / Huber col is the East Peak of Wiwaxy.

 

At the col I met Anthony, who was a parks employee from Yellowstone National Park in the USA. He was waiting at the col for better light on Ringrose and Hungabee. I told him my intentions of going up Wiwaxy East and he said he'd wait for me to get back before heading down.

 

I turned my attention towards the mountain looming over the col to the west. After successfully summiting Wiwaxy East Peak, I descended back to the col before joining Anthony for the hike back down to Lake O'Hara. In gorgeous late afternoon sun light we descended the very steep trail to the lake.

 


The trail down from the col to Lake O'Hara is obvious.


Incredible late day lighting on Lefroy with Seven Vail Falls tumbling into Lake O'Hara at bottom.

 
An incredible sunset panorama from the shoreline of Lake O'Hara. From L to R, Wiwaxy, Huber, Victoria, Lefroy, Glacier, Yukness, Hungabee, Biddle. 

 

The Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit route links up a number of popular trails in the Lake O'Hara region and is, in my mind, one of the most mind blowing, reality altering hikes you can do in any mountain environment, anywhere - especially if you do it in late September and have the place almost entirely to yourself like I did!

 

The morning after the circuit hike, I spent some time photographing the views around Lake O'Hara itself, including the lovely Seven Veils Falls on the far east end of the main lake.

 


Sunrise on Odaray (L) and Cathedral (R) looking west from the east end of the lake.


Mount Stephen (L) and Cathedral (R) reflect in a calm Lake O'Hara.


Seven Veil Falls


Seven Veil Falls


Seven Veil Falls


Seven Veil Falls

Total Distance (km): 
16.00
Difficulty Notes: 

This is a high line traverse in an alpine setting which requires fitness and many layers of clothing for changing weather.

McArthur, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Otto Koltz in 1886. McArthur, James J. (J.J. McArthur was a surveyor who mapped the Canadian Rockies in the vicinity of the Canadian Pacific Railway.) (see biog.) Official name. First ascended in 1891 by W.S. Drewry. (info from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,015

The weather was sending us some nasty signals as we started the trudge over to Mount McArthur from Pollinger. The perspective also threw us off a bit because it really looked like we had a long way to go. After crossing a freshly coated snowfield we arrived at the ridge and picked our way up to the summit. It was cool to look down on Isolated Peak, knowing that we didn't have to do that one again! We arrived at the summit much quicker than anticipated with dark, grey clouds swirling all around us. Just as on Kiwetinok, the clouds dissipated as soon as we stood on the summit for a few moments, leaving us with another breathless summit view.

 


!!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/2006/08/12/kiwetinok-peak-mount-pollinger-mcarthur-kerr-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): 
9,892
Elevation Gain (m): 
1500
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Reached via a traverse from Kiwetinok over Pollinger, including a very exposed downclimb.

Narao Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Interprovincial Boundary Survey in 1916. A Stoney Indian word, "Narao" is said to mean "hit in the stomach." It likely refers to James Hector being kicked by a horse while travelling up the Kicking Horse River in 1858. Official name. First ascended in 1913 by Interprovincial Boundary Commission. (info from peakfinder.com

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, October 11, 2003
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,974

(For alternate descriptions of this trip see Sonny Bou's trip report.)

 

"Man! I sure hope so!" Sonny's emphatic comment was in response to my heartening words as we struggled up Narao's lower tree-clad slopes. "Sonny", I said, "look on the bright side. This may be your last scramble of the year." How funny is that? Here we are. Five of us pushing our heart rates into the stratosphere on a snowy, windy day on yet another slope in the Canadian Rockies. We've all done this before. Many times. And we're all asking ourselves the same question, yet again. "What the heck am I doing this for?!"

 

It all started very early on Saturday morning, October 11 2003. I was determined not to be late for this experience so by 4:55am I was firing up the old Chevy for a trip across town to the meeting place we had all agreed on. By 5:05 the truck had stalled 30 times and I was parked at an angle on our driveway having only just managed to lurch around the block. By 5:15 I was in the back of a taxi screaming through the streets of a sleeping YYC. If I wasn't awake before the taxi ride, I certainly was after it! At 5:45 I was greeting Dave, Sonny, Frank and Pete and we quickly piled our gear into Frank's van and headed off towards the hills on a gloomy grey morning. Actually it was kind of black, but you get the picture.

 

An hour later we were hurtling towards the Banff gates at 120 km/h. Luckily Frank noticed that we were in the wrong lane and managed to swerve into the right one. While we rode we got acquainted with one another and Dave spilled some secrets that could come in handy some day... We pulled into the Lake O'Hara parking lot a full 25 minutes earlier then planned. Good thing because either it was an extra heavy frost or there was a good dusting of snow already at the parking lot. Everyone quickly put on their gear and we proceeded up the trail. Dave made a lot more noise than anyone else because he was wearing 4lb plastic boots. Which were bright pink. I reminded him that 1 pound on your feet is like 5 on your back but he didn't seem to mind the extra weight.

 

After a casual walk with lots of chatter we turned left onto the Ross Lake trail. The foliage was wet with the morning frost / snow. After about 5 minutes of walking we decided that we'd had enough flat walking and immediately headed up a 'clear' gully. This 'clear' gully was choked with 2-3 foot bushes but we charged through them like bull moose. About 2 minutes later we stopped to let everyone shed 2 layers of clothing! (Truth be told - I actually needed a break already!)

 

Half an hour later and now Pete's in the lead. The pace hasn't slowed any but we're all keeping up just fine. Talk is limited to, "I thought Bennett said he was out of the trees in 25 minutes?!". Finally when it seemed as if the trees would never end (this happens on most scrambles for me) we popped above tree line and plunked down our packs to take a quick snack-break. We chatted a bit about our websites and different scrambles we've done and I asked lots of questions regarding mountaineering. Just as we were about to leave I challenged the others for guesses on how long yet till the peak. Dave was quick to take up the challenge. "2:50", he declared emphatically. Now it was up to me to either call him optimistic or pessimistic. I knew better but decided to challenge his pessimism anyway and called it at 2 hours and 40 minutes.

 

An hour later and we were finally done the crappy rubble slope that led to the ridge. Trust me. This slope was not the most fun I've ever had on a mountain. Good company makes up for a lot, but this was pushing it! My method of attack is a little different than most. I find that a lot of people like to go slow and steady up a steep slope. That's probably the smart way to do it. I do short bursts of energy till my heart rate is so high I can't hear anything. Then I stop and pant for 5 seconds and then do it all over again. If Dave's theory that everyone only has a set limit of heartbeats per lifetime is correct I should probably take up the sport of laying on a couch pretty soon.

 

Now the fun started! The moment every scrambler waits for. Cliff bands and narrow cracks running up through pinnacles of rock and snow. The wind was blowing pretty good up on the ridge and we couldn't even seen down the steep drop-off to our left because of the thick clouds. Snow was now falling steadily and my thumbs were going numb. We quickly moved on - not one of us ever considered turning around. We couldn't let Bennett have this one all to himself! ;-) Now I heard a rumor that someone wrote something about me 'plumber cracking' on the way up these ledges. Since I wasn't behind myself I can neither support nor defuse this claim. I can however say that I have a line of frostbite across my lower back. Hmmm. Maybe it's time to buy pants with suspenders? ;)

 

Eventually we came to the crux of the scramble. A steep snow slope that is probably normally a ledge, led to a steep snow chute through a cliff band. I think if I was on my own I would have hesitated here. We all made it across - one at a time - and the chute proved to be pretty easy. A slip here would have been nasty, that's all I can say!

 

 
[Frank, Pete and Dave are happy to finally be above tree line. Note the fresh snow and clouds.]

 
[Sonny checks out the amazing view from off the north ridge of Narao. Too bad we couldn't actually see much of it. ;)]

 

The summit! Or is it? Sonny is always the optimistic one, "It can't be. That was too easy!" Sure enough. My time estimate of 2:40 was instantly dashed as we realized that we still had to descend to a small gully and then climb another scree / boulder field to attain the peak. Dave was the only really happy one because his guess of 2:50 now looked very good! Sure enough - he was only 1 minute out as we topped out on Narao Peak. Just as we got to the cairn the sun peaked through the swirling grey clouds and for a moment we were all silent as we took in the atmosphere. Snow, cloud, wind and rock combined to form a mountain panorama that fulfills any scrambler and somehow makes all that pain on the way up worthwhile and brings us back time and again for more. Frank opened the summit register and found that it was full of candy! Sure enough, Bennett had left us a note and some candy! That candy sure tasted good. After some quick pictures we turned around and headed back down Narao's ridge to find shelter and have a bite to eat.

 


[Frank and Dave at the summit.]

  
[Sonny is delighted to be at the summit. Maybe a bit too delighted.]


[Wild views from the summit looking towards the core Yoho area around Mounts Field and Wapta.]

 
[Looking over at Collier and Pope's Peak.]

 

After scarfing down some food (in my case a squished and frozen sub) we continued slipping and stumbling down the rubble like a bunch of drunken sailors. My water bottle was almost frozen solid by this time so without much liquid in me I started to feel a bit light-headed, which was kind of cool. In his plastic boots, Dave was slipping a bit more than the rest of us but it wasn't a problem until he tried pole vaulting with his aluminum trekking poles. This resulted in one normal pole and one really really short pole. I'm sure it wasn't funny for Dave but I found it amusing every time he tried using the short pole. He would start leaning into it and then realize that the bottom wasn't on it anymore. By that time it was too late and he'd fall onto that side. This happened about 10 times and then he got tired of all that fun and stuck his poles on his backpack. He must have sensed my amusement because a short time later on my way down a cliff band a chunk of snow bounced off my shoulder. When I turned around the culprit had a big grin on his face! Not to worry though - I got him back. Further down the slopes I sent a rock careening just past him. Of course that was unintentional.

 

We crossed the steep snow slope again and this time I had a 'freak-out' moment. I was the first one across so no-one else saw me almost lose my footing part way back. We had kicked footholds into the slope but I guess one of them must have been accumulating snow while we were up on the mountain. By the time I put my foot into that hold it was at a weird angle and I wasn't ready for it. I jammed both poles into the slope above me and managed to work my way through it. I probably wasted more heartbeats on that moment than on the whole way up though!

 

 
[Thanks to the fresh snow the crux chimney area was fairly 'cruxy' on this particular day.]

 
[A cliff band we descended on the north ridge.]

 
[Never challenge Sonny to climb something...]

 

Everyone was pretty relaxed after finishing the crux because now all we had to do was go down - no problems. Sonny decided to climb a small pinnacle of rock for a picture and I realized that he is the type of guy that you can have some fun with. "Hey Sonny! Look at that big rock next the cliff over there. You should climb it! Don't slip!" ;-) We continued down the mountain and once we were in trees nothing could go wrong. Of course with the weather closing in even more we couldn't even see the trees until we were in them but that's a different story. We briefly lost Sonny when he decided that we were bad navigators and took off on his own but after a lot of yelling we established that the 'echo' was really Sonny and that he was no longer behind but below us and we quickly found him back.

 


[Back at tree line looking west towards Cathedral Mountain - one of my all time favorite peaks.]

 

Dave was desperately trying to beat Kane's fastest time (in the book) so our charge through the gully back down to Ross Lake trail was like a buffalo stampede. The forest shook with fear at the sight of Dave's pink plastic behemoth boots crashing through it and the rest of us followed up with a kick here and a jab there. Every once in a while the forest fought back with a backhand across the face or a drop kick to the shin. We came out on the Ross Lake trail victorious and happily chatted our way back to the van. Dave was not impressed that Kane had beat him by at least an hour but we reminded him that Kane probably had sunshine and really light boots. I don't think Dave bought that excuse but he rolled with it. Dave had a caffeine headache - something to do with a 2-pot a day habit - so we stopped briefly in Lake Louise for a cup of joe before hurtling back down highway 1 in the Frank-mobile.

 

So what did I learn about Frank, Pete, Dave and Sonny? I learned that scramblers are basically all the same. Dave and I were the chatty ones but often there were long periods of silence on the way up and down Narao. It wasn't an awkward silence but a companionable one. We didn't need to say anything because we were all there in our own moment. No one complained and no one felt pressured to go for a route just because someone else was doing it. We all chose good lines of ascent and we all made it to the summit within the same minute. I felt that the five of us got along not necessarily because we were all so alike personally but we were all in the same place, mentally. It was a good time and I would go with any of them again.

 

So was the day worth a $40 cab ride? Was it worth climbing in snow and ice and wind? Was it worth getting out of bed at 4:30 in the morning? Was it worth almost slipping down a slope to certain injury? Was it worth using up another bucket of heartbeats? You bet. When's the next one?

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,758
Elevation Gain (m): 
1450
Total Distance (km): 
14.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Moderate scrambling with some bushwhacking and exposed moves, especially with now on route.

Niles, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Charles S. Thompson in 1898. Niles, William Harmon (William Niles was a Professor of Geology at MIT and also served as president of the Appalachian Mountain Club.) Official name. First ascended in 1898 by D. Campbell, Charles E. Fay Journal reference App 9-96. (From peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,972

After summiting Mount Daly the day before, we were up at 07:00 and ready for an easier day on Mount Niles. We got what we wanted. Mount Niles is a much shorter and simpler scramble than Daly is. There's no glacier, no cliff bands and really no route finding if you stick to the trail / cairns. We ascended the same drainage as the day before and got to the upper meadow. From there we descended slightly to climber's left and made for the pinnacle, following cairns through the boulder field.

 


!!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/2009/09/26/niles-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): 
9,750
Elevation Gain (m): 
1350
Total Distance (km): 
23.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

There are no major difficulties with this moderate scramble. Loose rock and some exposure as usual in the Rockies along with a fairly lengthy approach.

Ogden, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1916. Ogden, Isaac Gouverneur (Isaac Ogden was an auditor and vice president with the CPR.) Official name. The lower of the two spiral tunnels passes within this mountain. The tunnel is 887 meters long and the elevation difference between the upper and lower entrance is 15 meters. (from peakfinder.com)

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

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, August 18, 2017
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,695

Ever since I first read about Mount Ogden (likely from Nugara a decade ago), it's been on my endless to-do list of peaks. Nugara added the peak to his second scrambles book. When Kane added it to his latest book, with a different lower access route than Nugara's, it only peaked my interest (pun intended). Earlier this year I joined Liz and Mike for a delightful trip up Divide Mountain, which granted me excellent views of Ogden. Based on negative trip reports from Kane's route via Sherbrooke Lake and a manky avalanche slope, I knew I wanted to utilize Nugara's approach up the south ridge directly from the Trans Canada Highway. 

 


!!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/2017/08/18/ogden-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): 
8,842
Elevation Gain (m): 
1150
Round Trip Time: 
5.50
Total Distance (km): 
8.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 4 : you fall, you are almost dead
Difficulty Notes: 

The crux is a short, loose, exposed ledge with an awkward step on the north side of the summit block.

Paget Fire Lookout

Interesting Facts: 

This is a popular summer hike in Yoho National Park, British Columbia.

Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Saturday, December 9, 2006

On December 9th 2006, Wietse and I decided to go try our luck at skiing up the Paget Lookout trail. Since this was Wietse's first time ever on skis, we weren't sure if we would be able to continue on to Paget Peak or not. One step at a time! ;-) Once again there was no parking so we had to park in the entrance to the parking lot of the lodge. This was also my first time on a new set of skis so I was pretty excited. My Verdicts are HUGE compared to what I was used to skiing.

 

Quite quickly the trail gained elevation and it became obvious that because of the greater exposure of ski-to-snow (i.e. my skis were twice as big as Wietse's), I had much more traction than Wietse. This would continue to be a bit of a problem for Wietse because I was breaking trail and tended to go a bit steeper than his skins were willing to take him. Oh well. That's what he gets for following I guess.

 

The trail was really hard to follow once we were past the Sherbrooke Lake sign. Since there was 4 - 6 feet of snow over everything, the trail was cut through trees below us! We actually got lost a few times but eventually we recognized the terrain. Wietse did really well for his first time on skis, but his feet were killing him in the crappy rental boots he had on. Once of his skis kept popping off too, and on the way down I finally took a closer look and realized that the MEC staff hadn't adjusted the size or DIN - so I did.

 

I thought my massive new skis would be a problem on the way up but actually they climb well. Because they are so big, they have a large area on the snow and don't sink as deep. As I already mentioned, they also have a bigger skin and thus can climb better. Once we finally reached the lookout it was obvious that Wietse would not be able to continue with his feet in the condition they were. We snapped some pictures and prepared for a fun descent.

 

Because the trail down was fairly narrow, Wietse kept his skins on so he wouldn't go TOO fast. I took mine off once the really narrow trail ended. This is when I discovered the true benefits of a fat ski. The skis just floated on the powder and left me very hungry for more. Wietse did very well on the way down considering it was his first time. The snow was very deep which made things a bit trickier - especially getting up after falling.

 

Not too many people seem to ski this trail in the winter and there are avi zones that I wouldn't want to be in under high-rating days. Since the ratings were low we were fine. The snow was evenly distributed and rounded. It was also bonded very nicely all the way down to about 4 inches off the bottom. All-in-all a great day out.


 
Believe it or not - this is the trail! We just happen to be about 4-6 ft higher than in the summer!
 
Wietse comes up behind me with low cloud hanging in the valley beneath us.
 
There was an amazing amount of fresh snow here!

A train snakes its way down the divide 600 meters below us.
 
Another view of the train as it descends.
 
Wietse gazes out of the lookout, the first 'bump' of Paget Peak is in the upper right.

Looking up the valley to Lake O'Hara.

Vern, taking in the view.

Clouds coming up the divide from around Mount Stephen.

Looking toward the Lake Louise ski hill and Protection Mountain.
 
My new set of skis (BD Verdicts) just itching to go bag a peak! ;-)
 
Wietse coming down the Paget Lookout trail.
 
The trail down.
Elevation Gain (m): 
520

Paget Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Naming: Paget, Very Reverend Dean (Dean Paget made the first recorded ascent of this mountain. He was a founding member of the Alpine Club of Canada.) Official name. First ascended by Dean Paget and an ACC party. (info from peakfinder.com

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,560

On Saturday, February 10 I finally bagged my first summit of the year 2007 and first summit since October 14 2006! That's almost 4 months without a summit. No wonder it felt so good. ;-) The skiing was fantastic and we took about 5.5 hours for the ascent / descent.

 


!!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/2007/02/10/paget-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): 
8,399
Elevation Gain (m): 
1000
Round Trip Time: 
5.50
Total Distance (km): 
10.00
Difficulty Notes: 

No major difficulties. Mostly an easy scramble with some minor route finding. We skied it which makes it slightly more difficult.

Park Mountain

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

First climbed in 1907 by L. Frost guided by Peter Kaufmann. Named in 1915. The mountain was named because of the "park-like" nature of the area. Official name. (from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, September 16, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,941

I've been eyeing Park Mountain before I knew what it's name was. The first time I hiked up Mount Schaffer I wondered what that nice mountain to the south, across McArthur Lake was and whether or not it was a scramble. Over the years I learned that it was called "Park Mountain" but never did read any detailed online trip reports from anyone who'd done it. Rick Collier briefly mentions that it's "easy" in his trip report from his climb of Mount Biddle in 1987 and David P. Jones rates the Southeast Ridge as "Facile" (easy) and 3rd class - the same rating he gives Mount Schaffer which is a hike. This little bit of beta was enough to convince me that this was a moderate scramble at most. Just a week before our ascent, I read that a friend, Marko Stavrik was also interested in Park Mountain. I figured it was high time I tried the route for 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/2016/09/16/park-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): 
9,650
Elevation Gain (m): 
1725
Round Trip Time: 
10.50
Total Distance (km): 
25.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

Some moderate scrambling and route finding in loose slabby terrain. Possible steep snow on scree to Biddle Pass. Not quite as easy as the guidebook would indicate.

Pollinger, Mount

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Edward Whymper in 1901. Pollinger, Joseph (An alpine guide, Joseph Pollinger came to Canada in 1901 with Edmund Whymper.) Official name. First ascended in 1901 by James Outram, guided by Christian Kaufmann. (info from peakfinder.com)

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,816

From Kiwetinok Peak we traversed over to Pollinger. The climb down Kiwetinok to the col was a bit tricky because we couldn't risk glissading the slush / ice slabs and had to pick our way down wet slabs. The terrain is also horribly loose and even though we were extremely careful, we still managed to set loose a number of large rocks. On hindsight it's a good thing we didn't have a large group on 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/2006/08/12/kiwetinok-peak-mount-pollinger-mcarthur-kerr-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): 
9,239
Elevation Gain (m): 
1500
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

The crux is exposed and a fall will kill you - only do if dry and confident.

President, The

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Alpine Club of Canada in 1907. Edmund Whymper named The President in honour of the CPR's president, Thomas Shaughnessy and The Vice President in honour of its vice-president, David McNicoll. Official name. Other names Emerald Peak, Shaughnessy, Mount


First ascended in 1901 by James Outram, guided by J. Pollinger, C. Kaufmann. Journal reference AJ 20-541; App 10-86. (info from peakfinder.com

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
YDS Grade: 
II
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,138
On Friday evening, July 25th 2008, Raf, Keith, Wietse and I hiking into the Little Yoho campground in Yoho National Park with plans to ascent both the President and the Vice President early 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/2008/07/26/president-the-vice-president/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,296
Elevation Gain (m): 
1300
Total Distance (km): 
20.00
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.

Rhondda, Mount

Trip Category: 
MN - Ski Mountaineering
Interesting Facts: 

Named by Interprovincial Boundary Survey in 1917. Thomas, David Alfred First Viscount Baron Rhondda (David Thomas was a British parliamentarian who introduced an effective food rationing system in Britain during WW I.) Official name. First ascended in 1923 by A. Geoffrion, J.W.A. Hickson, guided by Edward Feuz jr.. Journal reference CAJ 24-77. (info from peakfinder.com

Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
High
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,015

Most of my Wapta summits have had brilliant blue skies and views to die for. Mount Rhondda was not one of those peaks. When I first ascended it back in April of 2007 we had very windy conditions with limited views. I set out to rectify this injustice on Thursday, April 26 2018 on a brilliantly sunny and warm Spring day. I was joined by Liz and Alison, both of whom had not done this central icefields peak before. I am surprising myself a bit the past few years, by repeating peaks - something I was very opposed to earlier in my peakbagging career. I think as I approach 600 unique summits, I'm fully appreciating how little the number of summits actually matters, and how much more important the enjoyment and experience of said peaks is. Don't get any ideas though. I'm not repeating anything that I feel lucky to have survived the first time (mentally or physically)... indecision

 


!!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/2018/04/26/rhondda-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): 
9,892
Elevation Gain (m): 
1200
Round Trip Time: 
7.50
Total Distance (km): 
26.00
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.

Schaffer, Mount (McArthur Lake)

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1909. Schaffer, Mary (Mary Schaffer was an enthusiastic explorer of the Canadian Rockies.) (see biog.) Official name. First ascended in 1909 by M. Goddard, W.S. Richardson. (From peakfinder.com

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,692

After scrambling Mount Kent the day before I was up at 04:30 on Thursday, September 30 2010 to spend a few solitary days in the Lake O'Hara region of Yoho National Park. Of course, I realized that I would not be alone in this beautiful area, but I needed a few days of peace and meditation before starting a new contract and getting back to the real world again.

 


!!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/2010/09/30/schaffer-mount-mcarthur-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): 
8,832
Total Distance (km): 
8.00
Difficulty Notes: 

No major difficulties other than catching a bus or walking up the approach road 11km... Fall is the best time to hike this one.

Secretary-Treasurer, The

Interesting Facts: 

The Secretary-Treasurer is a subpeak near the Vice President in Yoho National Park, all the summits named for the Alpine Club of Canada positions. 

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Tuesday, July 5, 2005
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,700

A group scramble weekend with Sonny, Dave, Bob, Dinah and Linda. Dave, Sonny and I walked into Stanley Mitchell hut on Friday morning and managed to negotiate steep snow slopes to Isolated's summit that afternoon. We just beat the rain back to the hut but Linda, Bob and Dinah weren't so lucky. They were soaked from head to toe from their hike and dripped their way into the hut late Friday afternoon.

 

On Saturday we were happy to see blue skies but by the time we summitted Mount Kerr (my second summit of this mountain - and LAST I might add. Update: NOPE - I did it a third time in 2006. Jeez.) we were in thick clouds and occasional sleet. On the way down Kerr it became obvious that Kiwetinok, Pollinger and McArthur would not be in season yet so we somersaulted off a cornice at Kiwetinok Pass and slowly made our way back to the hut. We ended up getting bored at the hut so we went 'nubbing' for something different! Basically we went for a walk on the Vice President's lateral moraine and wandered up loose, crappy terrain to a sub peak of the Vice President known as The Secretary-Treasurer. It was good exercise and offered some amazing views of the glacier on the way back down.

 

Bob and Dave nubbing it.
[Bob and Dave 'nubbing' it.]

Dave looks out over the rainbow from the nub.
[Dave looks out over the rainbow from the nub. (Which we found out later was a named summit).]

Linda on Barometer Peak.
[Linda on the minor summit with the Vice President looming in the background.]

 

I ended up getting bored again in the hut because of the noise level (there was lots of kids in the hut...) so I went nubbing again and bagged another moraine 'summit'. Quite useless from a peak baggers perspective but it gave me another 200 meters of height gain and some much needed peace!!

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,858
Elevation Gain (m): 
500
Total Distance (km): 
5.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Moderate to difficult scrambling on loose terrain and steep, hard moraines.

Stephen, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

The first ascent of Mount Stephen in 1887 was probably one of the longest and most difficult of the many first ascents made by surveyor James J. McArthur. Accompanied by his assistant, T. Riley and burdened by heavy surveying equipment, 1946 vertical meters were ascended including, "crawling along dangerous ledges and up steep narrow gorges." Later they, "moved along to a slanting rift, up which we clambered, sometimes dependent for a hold on the first joints of our fingers." Finally, "It required all our nerve to crawl about the eighth of a mile on the top of those half-balanced masses to the highest point on Mount Stephen." (from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,199

On August 20, 2005 Sonny and I scrambled up over 1900 meters from the town of Field, BC to the summit of Mount Stephen. The weather was a beautiful, clear 20 degrees with a light south breeze keeping us cool for most of the day. We started out pretty late for such a big mountain because we first 'had' to get permits which would allow us passage through a world heritage fossil site. I put that in quotes because we ended up meeting 3 other guys none of who actually bothered with the passes. Officially of course, you should get a permit, if for no other reason than to avoid hefty fines of up to $25,000.

 

My overall impression of Mount Stephen is that if you do the Kane route it deserves it's difficult rating. If you do the 'Sonny' route you are in for a real treat. ;-) The first hint of what was to come came on the drive to the trailhead. Sonny directed me up a nasty back alley when the paved road through town would've worked just fine. Sonny likes to explore different routes.

 

We started off at the trailhead around 09:30 and quickly started climbing. If there's one good thing about all the elevation gain on this mountain, it's that half of it is done on a good trail. Once we entered the 'blue zone' (no stopping allowed) we kept the pace - a nice slow and steady uphill push that saw us gaining the first 1000 meters in about 2 hours under a nice cool morning breeze. We were feeling quite put off by the fact that we weren't seeing any fossils when all of a sudden we started seeing them everywhere. It was pretty cool to be walking on top of hundreds of very impressive fossils just scattered on the ground all over the place. There were also signs warning us away from the 'red zone' (attack helicopters will come after you).

 


[Checking out the bewildering number of different 'zones' that all come with the threat of heavy government fines if you're caught misbehaving in them.]


[Looking across valley to the south towards Mount Dennis.]

 

Soon after encountering the main fossil beds we noticed a guy wandering around the edge of the red zone picking up fossils (a huge no-no here) and gazing into space with a rather empty look. At first I thought he must be a ranger or warden because we were the only permits on the mountain that day but it became pretty obvious that he really had no idea where (or who?!) he was. I asked him some questions and he avoided answering any of them clearly. He didn't really know what time he left the trailhead and thought he could somehow avoid the fossil zones (even though he was right in the middle of it). Sonny and I didn't really become alarmed until he suggested that we continue climbing as a team.

 

I told him he could join us - what else was I going to say - but under no conditions were Sonny or I going to take responsibility for his lack of a permit or him picking up fossils. If helicopters came for him or rubber bullets started flying he was on his own! ;) Thankfully he very quickly fell behind our increased uphill pace and soon we spotted him making his way slowly back down. I think he got a bit scared by all our talk about crazy wardens and permits. Sonny and I had an interesting discussion about how we didn't really like scrambling with complete strangers because you never know their abilities. After this rather bizarre encounter we continued up very steep dirt / shale slopes until finally we were above the fossil bed zones.

 

[ASIDE: The story doesn't end here. Once back in Calgary, Sonny got a phone call from the Yoho National Park staff, inquiring about a guy they'd caught with a pack full of fossils, descending Mount Stephen when we were there! Because we were registered, they had our contact information and I generously let Sonny be the 'trip leader' so he got the call. ;) There was a chance he'd have to go to court to help prosecute the guy but as far as I know the case never went further.]

 


[Above tree line on the lower shoulder with excellent views towards The President, Wapta and Field (L to R).]

 

At this point we still had 1000 meters of elevation gain to go and even though my cardio was fine, I could feel my legs singing a bit already. We pushed on up the shoulder and through a very loose scree gully until we came to a huge scree slope that had smatterings of a trail interspersed between large fields of chunky scree boulders. We pushed ever upwards towards what we thought was probably the summit bump. WRONG! As we approached the 'summit bump' I realized that we weren't even close yet. We still had 500 vertical meters to go according to my trusty Suunto altimeter watch.

 


[Sonny trudges up hundreds of meters of this shale like it's nothing.]


[Mount Dennis]


[A wind corral on the ridge.]


[This is an extremely shortened view of the way up from the shoulder - about another 1000 meters of height gain left. Also note the 'summit block' at the top of the photo. This is not the summit block! You can either work your way right of this block (once you get up to it) or go straight up through it for the Sonny route.]


[Tackling some low, easy rock bands on the huge ascent slope under the false summit block.]


[Sonny goofs around on 'extreme' terrain. :)]


[The town of Field is getting smaller as we gain height.]


[It's a huge, foreshortened slope to the bottom of the false summit.]


[Looking down the west shoulder of Stephen.]

 

Here's where we had two options. If you want to make every other section on this mountain seem quite straight-forward then I would recommend you do the Sonny route. It rivals anything I did on Smuts two weeks ago - actually for me personally it was worse because most of the holds were very loose. Don't get me wrong, it was a lot of fun and like I said it made all the other sections seem quite tame - including jumping over empty space and severe exposure in several other parts of the upper ridge. For the curious, the Sonny route goes straight through the block on top of the huge scree slope. There is a darker opening that you can see from the shoulder and you simply go straight up through it. The first part looks bad enough but once you're about half way up things get vertical and loose really quick. I was temporarily stuck for about 30 seconds in this section desperately trying to find a solid foot / hand hold and finally had to close my mind and just 'go for it'. I made it! ;-)

 


[Sonny heads up the crux.]


[This shot from Sonny shows the exposure on the alternate crux route.]

 

The sane, or 'Kane' route follows faint trails around to climber's right of the wall and scrambles up a steep / loose gully back to the left to get on top of it. If you do this route I would recommend the steeper but more stable climbers left of the gully on a bit of a ridge. Once at the top of the crux we noticed the cairns and the much tamer gully climbers right of where we came up. We both agreed that we would be taking a different route down. We took a breather and Sonny climbed a small tower for some cool photo ops and then it was time for the final 500 vertical meters to the apex of this huge peak.

 


[Sonny celebrates surviving the crux!]

 

I would strongly recommend that if you are comfortable with steep and exposed places take the ridge as much as possible for the upper part of the mountain. It's possible to go to climbers right around most of this stuff but you will miss out on some excellent scrambling that you've paid a lot of heartbeats for! There are plenty of cairns to guide you up these areas so it's pretty hard to get too far off route. Remember - Kane never expects an experienced scrambler to feel the need for a rope in good conditions on any of his routes.

 

After our crux we came to an impossibly steep wall (that Sonny briefly considered scaling!) that we went around on climbers right, following cairns through a couple of cool moves that brought us beside another steep slope to our left that we thought about going up. Instead we kept traversing and came to a point where you could either head up to climbers left on steep (cairned) ledges or continue traversing to a steep snow gully. Both options lead you to that steep wall that you see in color in Kane's book. I went up the ledges and traversed a very exhilarating and exposed ridge to the wall while Sonny struggled up the gully.

 

At this point we heard voices and realized that two guys were coming down the steep wall. It turns out that they didn't have permits and had left the parking area at 07:00. One of them used an old rope that was only held in place by a small rock that was wedged in between two bigger ones, while the other guy removed the rope after determining that it was 'unsafe' - I couldn't believe anyone would seriously consider putting all their weight on such an unprotected / old section of rope! It's at the transition from the ridge to the wall that you do your first jump over a lot of nothing. It's kind of a cool feeling but at the same time you really have to hope that the landing zone holds. ;-)

 


[Note the two guys down climbing the 'normal' Kane crux wall that protects the summit block. This is definitely a 'no slip' zone and you don't want snow or ice here.]


[Sonny comes up the gully bypass to the bottom of the wall. I jumped a small gap instead.]

 

Sonny joined me at the top of the wall and we worked our way towards the summit which was still unseen at this point. Here's where I led us slightly off-route. Again, it probably works to avoid exposed traversing by staying quite low to climbers right but eventually you will have to go up anyway. I followed some tracks along snow at the base of the ridge and eventually realized that we'd be better off just going up. We turned back and scrambled up to the summit ridge at the first possible spot. It looks fairly nasty but that's why this is a difficult scramble and after the 'Sonny crux' this was no big deal! :-) The last 125 meters is very exposed and must be bone-dry to even consider. No wind is also preferable here. We topped out on Mount Stephen in 4 hours and 20 minutes from the parking lot.

 

At the summit we enjoyed a beautiful panorama of mountains, ruined slightly by a small shack that is anchored to the mountain with a bunch of thick steel cables. The summit register is actually in this shack and there is a warning in the register that if you let the trailer door shut behind you, you are trapped inside and will have to exit a small window! The register was from 1988 and we added our bits of wisdom to it. Sonny composed his 'trooper shot' before we reluctantly headed back down.

 

 
[Near the summit, looking over Cathedral Mountain towards Popes, Collier, Victoria North and South, Huber, Glacier, Wiwaxy, Ringrose, Hungabee, Deltaform, Yukness, Biddle, Schaffer and Odaray (L to R). ++]


[Sonny and Vern celebrate a most excellent summit.]

 
[View over the Presidents (L), Wapta (C) and up the Bow Valley (R). ++]

 
[Excellent view of Victoria North, South and Huber with it's route from the Wiwaxy col visible. Click here for approximate route line for the Huber Ledges.]

 
[Looking over McArthur Pass and down the Ottertail River.]


[Hungabee is one of the sexiest looking 11,000ers IMHO. ;) Ringrose to the left and to the left of that is Mount Fay.]


[Can't get enough views of the Lake O'Hara / Lake Louise area peaks. Even Mount Ball is showing at far right, just to the left of Biddle.]


[Field and the TCH lie 2000 meters below us.]


[Mount Forbes is another sexy 11,000er. The President and Vice President in the foreground.]


[The long ridge of Mount Balfour rises right to left over the Wapta Icefield.]


[Deep valleys and souring glaciers define the Wapta region. Collie at left with Baker, Habel, Rhondda and Gordon to the right.]


[Hungabee looms over Opabin Lake.]


[Chancellor and Vaux (R) loom to the west. Sonny and I would join forces again for the mighty Mount Vaux in September 2011.]


[Burgess and Walcott are tiny in the foreground, Carnarvon rising on the right in the bg.]


[Mount Owen (fg) is dwarfed by the scary Goodsir Towers in the distance beyond. Sentry at left.]


[A slightly wider view south includes Owen, the Goodsir Towers, Sentry, Sharp and other peaks along Helmet and Ochre Creeks (R to L).]

 

We stuck more closely to the ridge on the way down and agreed that it was exposed but more fun than avoiding it. There were a couple of places where we had to jump over small gaps and the jump from the base of the wall back onto the ridge was very interesting. Best not to think too long about what you're doing in these situations!

 


[Sonny starts down the summit ridge - the summit shack in the bg.]


[More of the exposed summit ridge.]


[Terrific exposure on our right - all the way down to the town of Field - descending the summit ridge.]


[Vern descends the difficult summit ridge.]


[Looking back along the summit ridge to the summit shack.]


[Descending the crux wall to the gap on the lower right.]


[Sonny avoids the gap on the right by down climbing small ledges on the crux wall.]


[Vern descends the crux on Mount Stephen.]

 

We avoided our crux gully on the way down by going to skiers left and negotiating our way down the more stable terrain on the sides. After this there were no other obstacles. Dipping our heads in the creek on the way out was a really good refresher and Sonny led us at full speed to my waiting car.

 


[Avoiding our ascent crux by down climbing the 'right' gully.]


[The gully we missed on the way up is certainly easier than the crux we ascended but still loose and steep.]


[Descending the endless scree slope to tree line.]


[Through the scree 'gate'!]


[The orange sign means "keep going!!" - entering the fossil beds on descent.]

 

Our round trip time was 8.5 hours including 50 minutes at the summit. Overall this was a fabulous trip. Both Sonny and I commented more than once that it didn't seem like 1920 meters height gain. I think it's partly because we were both feeling pretty good and there are enough fun parts in the last 500 meters to keep you from thinking about all the effort it's taking. A highly recommended trip for experienced parties.

Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,496
Elevation Gain (m): 
1800
Round Trip Time: 
8.50
Total Distance (km): 
12.50
Difficulty Notes: 

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

Vaux, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named by James Hector in 1858. Vaux, William Sandys Wright (A friend of James Hector's, William Vaux was resident antiquarian at the British Museum for twenty-nine years. He helped secure funds to support the Palliser Expedition's principals while they completed their report.) Official name. 

 

First ascended in 1901 by C.E. Fay, James Outram, J.H. Scattergood, guided by Christian Hasler sr.. Journal reference App 10-6; CAJ 1-74

 

(from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
4th Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, September 9, 2011
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,319

On Friday, September 09 2011 I joined Sonny Bou for a scramble up Mount Vaux in Yoho National Park. Mount Vaux is not your everyday scrambling objective. There are a few reasons for this;

 

  1. No officially published route (surprising given it's stature and location).
  2. It's a huge objective both in stature (over 2200 meters or  7260 feet of elevation gain) and in looseness.
  3. It's under the magical 11,000 foot mark by a few hundred feet and isn't deemed 'worthy' by much of the climbing community.

 


!!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/2011/09/09/vaux-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): 
10,890
Elevation Gain (m): 
2200
Round Trip Time: 
12.00
Total Distance (km): 
10.00
Difficulty Notes: 

A fine line between climbing and scrambling near the summit ridge. You must be comfortable soloing very loose and steep terrain to climb Vaux safely.

Vice President, The

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Alpine Club of Canada in 1907. Edmund Whymper named The President in honour of the CPR's president, Thomas Shaughnessy and The Vice President in honour of its vice-president, David McNicoll. Official name. Other names Emerald Peak, Shaughnessy, Mount


First ascended in 1901 by James Outram, guided by J. Pollinger, C. Kaufmann. Journal reference AJ 20-541; App 10-86. (info from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
YDS Grade: 
II
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Summit Elevation (m): 
3,066
The route up the Vice President looked pretty intimidating from the President but once we started up the snow slope it wasn't too bad. There was ice under the snow so that made things a bit interesting in places. The loose rock was hazardous like all the peaks in the Rockies seem to be - so that was certainly no different on this climb. After about 15 or 20 minutes we topped out on the summit ridge to a fantastic view and a much warmer temperature than we had on the President an hour earlier. The Emerald Glacier was glistening with a coat of snow and all around us were the amazing peaks and valleys of Yoho and Banff National Parks. 
 
 

!!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/2008/07/26/president-the-vice-president/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


Summit Elevation (ft): 
10,060
Elevation Gain (m): 
1300
Total Distance (km): 
20.00
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.

Walcott Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Naming: Walcott, Charles D. (Dr. Walcott was a prominent geologist who discovered and studied the fossils of the Burgess Shale.) Official name. (from peakfinder.com

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,575

Preamble - what and where the heck is Walcott Peak?!

 

What I didn't know until coming home and doing some research after scrambling Kane's "Mount Burgess", is that Kane could have made things much simpler for readers and himself. The 'easy north peak' of Mount Burgess actually does have another name. It is officially called 'Walcott Peak'. Why Kane didn't simply call his scramble after the actual name of the north summit is beyond me but it sure makes things easier. Walcott wasn't officially named until 1996 so Kane may have missed this in his updated edition of the scrambles book.

 


!!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/2010/08/28/walcott-peak-mount-burgess/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,450
Elevation Gain (m): 
1350
Total Distance (km): 
13.00
Difficulty Notes: 

The narrow scree gully to the upper mountain is looser and more exposed than many other 'easy' Kane scrambles.

Walter Feuz Peak (Little Odaray)

Interesting Facts: 

Little Odaray is a subpeak on the southeast shoulder of Mount Odaray. It's also known as Walter Feuz Peak which is my preference for a name since this is neither a "little" peak or deserving of such an obscure name. Plus I happen to think Walter deserves more than just a Lyell named after him - even if it is the hardest one of the five Lyells. 

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,908

I wasn't sure if I had the energy or weather to do another scramble on Wednesday, September 21 but I had the day off and decided I might as well make the most of it. The week previous I'd summitted Park Mountain near MacArthur Lake in Lake O'Hara and noted the larches were especially stunning this year. After a bout of snowy and cool weather, I wondered how the area would look, only a few days later and decided to hike the 11km approach road by myself and check out the conditions. If it was reasonable I would try to scramble up Little Odaray, also known as Walter Feuz Peak (my preference).

 


!!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/2016/09/21/walter-feuz-peak-little-odaray/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Elevation Gain (m): 
1450
Round Trip Time: 
10.00
Total Distance (km): 
30.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Not a simple hike but generally fairly easy scrambling with some routefinding and exposure. In the conditions I had it's significantly more difficult.

Wapta Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Otto Koltz in 1886. Klotz named the river which had been named "Kicking Horse," Wapta which means "running water." James Hector's name prevailed but the name Wapta was applied to this mountain which overlooks the River. Official name. 

 

First ascended in 1901 by James Outram, J.H. Scattergood, guided by C. Bohren. Journal reference App-1085.

 

(info from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
5.0-5.2
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,778

After scrambling Mount Warspite and Mount Storelk the previous two days, Thursday, August 16 2007 seemed like the perfect day to grind up Wapta Mountain and complete 3 difficult scrambles in 3 days after 2.5 weeks away from the mountains. So that's exactly what I did!

 


!!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/2007/08/16/wapta-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): 
9,115
Elevation Gain (m): 
1400
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Difficulty Notes: 

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

Whaleback Mountain

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

Named by Edward Whymper in 1901. The mountain's profile resembles the back of a whale. 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 5, 2002
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,627

To get to Isolated Peak from the ACC hut we had to bushwhack up steep forested hills behind the hut and ended up in a small hanging valley. It was so beautiful and quiet up there. Sometimes I wish I could just hike for a living! (Note: The GPS track should follow a trail - you shouldn't be bushwhacking to this hanging valley anymore.) To make a long story short, we ended up getting high on Isolated before conditions conspired against us and we reluctantly turned back.

 

In order to salvage the day, we hiked along Whaleback Mountain, descending its eastern nose before looping back to the Stanley Mitchell hut on the main approach trail.

 


[You can see why we weren't successful on Isolated (L)! Thanks to a fall snowstorm, conditions were not ideal for scrambling on this particular trip. Whaleback is visible at right. We ascended the col between Isolated and Whaleback, traversed the mountain to the right and then descended the far right (east) end before looping back to the hut. This photo is taken the day we approached the Stanley Mitchell ACC Hut.]


[Thankfully things dried out a bit since our approach day! Isolated Peak at left and the obvious route to the Whaleback at right.]



[Because we traversed over from Isolated to Whaleback rather than directly ascending Whaleback, we got some cool views looking back at Isolated Peak.]


[Looking along the Whaleback.]


[Looking across the Little Yoho River valley towards the Vice President and The Secretary Treasurer. The Iceline Trail also runs at tree line across from us here.]


[The Des Poilus Glacier as seen from the Whaleback.]


[Vern on the summit with Niles and Daly buried in clouds in the far distance.]

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,619
Elevation Gain (m): 
1400
Total Distance (km): 
25.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 2 : you fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: 

No difficulties - this is a long hike, best done from the Stanley Mitchell Hut or as part of an ascent of Isolated Peak.

Wiwaxy Peaks - East Tower

Interesting Facts: 

Named by Samuel E.S. Allen in 1894. Wiwaxy is the Stoney Indian word for "windy." Official name. (from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, October 1, 2010
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,703

After scrambling up Mount Schaffer on Thursday, I decided that a long hike followed by a scramble up Wiwaxy Peaks would be in order for Friday, October 1 2010. 

 


!!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/2010/10/01/wiwaxy-peaks-east-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): 
8,869
Elevation Gain (m): 
1200
Total Distance (km): 
16.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Loose, steep and some exposed scrambling to reach the east summit of Wiwaxy Peaks. I wouldn't do this route with snow or ice.

Yoho Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1886. The name was first applied to the river. Yoho means "wow" in the Cree Indian language. Official name. (from peakfinder.com

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,760

Mount Des Poilus has been on my radar for quite some time. Originally it was always a ski objective but lately I'd also been looking at it as a possible summer 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/2011/08/13/yoho-peak-waterfall-valley/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,056
Total Distance (km): 
30.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Mostly a hike with some off trail, easy scrambling to the peak. Some years it may be tough to avoid the Des Poilus Glacier.

Yukness, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1916. "Yukness" is the Stoney Indian word for "sharpened with a knife." The peak appears to be when viewed from Lake O'Hara. Official name. (info from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,847

On Saturday, September 30 2006, Sonny, Wietse and I hooked up to scramble Mount Yukness in Yoho National Park. The timing was impeccable. Not only was the weather absolutely fantastic and the larches out in fall glory but it also just happened to be the very last day of the season that the bus was going to leave late enough (18:30) for us to use it! We also timed our arrival at the parking lot perfectly because we actually managed to get on an 08:30 bus.

 


!!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/2006/09/30/yukness-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): 
9,341
Elevation Gain (m): 
1100
Total Distance (km): 
13.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Mostly hiking and easy scrambling with some very loose terrain and minor exposure along the summit ridge. Only attempt if dry.