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In case you hadn't noticed, I've been spending a lot of time in David Thompson Country lately. There are reasons for this;

  • With Canada's 150th the national parks are crazy busy this summer
  • DTC has random camping options (free!)
  • DTC has some surprisingly remote and large mountains
  • The terrain in DTC is ideal for scrambling - dry and open forests and lots of hands-on slabby rock
  • Abraham Lake provides a stunning backdrop for many of the hikes and scramble, especially as it fills up in summer
  • Many of the peaks are unexplored or largely ignored by the online community making them feel more unique

So far my top scrambles in DTC would have to be Elliott Peak and Abraham Mountain due to their unique approaches and wonderful summit views. So if you're getting bored with the Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise area, or simply want to experience a new place in the beautiful Canadian Rockies, I highly recommend spending a few weekends in DTC.

Backus, Mount

After scrambling Prairie Bluff in the morning, we found ourselves with plenty of time for a short objective on our way to setting up camp for the night at the Beaver Mines Recreation Area in the Castle Wilderness. I had a trip report on Mount Backus from Bob Spirko who snowshoed it in March of 2014. Backus was located along the highway leading to Beaver Mines, so it made perfect sense to try it.

Prairie Bluff

After squandering a perfectly good weekend, followed by a disappointing May long weekend, I was more than ready for some time away from the rat race in Calgary by the time the last weekend of May rolled around. Both my kids were also ready for a break and with Hanneke home studying and writing assignments, we decided that a two day trip to the Castle / Crown area was just the ticket for us.

Andromeda, Mount

I wasn't sure that I would manage to summit my last 11,000er on the main Columbia Icefield in the spring of 2016. Rumors were flying around that the Athabasca Glacier approach was toast this year thanks to an extremely warm winter / spring combined with low snow and an serac event that covered the route I've always used through the headwall with tons of ice and snow earlier in the year.

Camp Creek Ridge

I debated labeling Camp Creek Ridge a distinct summit, but due to several factors, I've decided that I'm going to count it separately. The main factor is that while Thrift is accessible from many sides, Camp Creek Ridge isn't. Also, the ridge is pure hiking whereas Thrift is easy scrambling and won't be for everyone. YMMV, but for me these two summits are very different.

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