Wietse and I were in the mood to get out of the city on Sunday, October 28 so we did just that. Originally Kev Papke was going to join us for a hike up Red Ridge, across from Mount Sparrowhawk in Kananaskis Country. Kev emailed at 04:50 to say he had a fever so it was back to the two of us.
After slogging up James Walker a few weeks ago and freezing my feet off in 12 inches of snow I wasn't sure if I was in the mood for a repeat performance. I packed my Sarrel boots (good to -30) instead of my regular mountaineering boots and hoped for non-technical terrain.
As we bombed down hwy 1 for the Rockies we decided that we wanted to get home early to spend time with our families and we settled on a less ambitious goal of Little Lougheed - a locally named outlier of Lougheed II, a mountain we had both climbed earlier in the summer. We knew from Bob Spirko's TR that Little Lougheed should pose few problems, even in winter conditions and we were right. There was much less snow than we were expecting and the bushwhack wasn't bad either.
We followed Bob's instructions almost to the minute and found the south ridge a pleasant enough hike / scramble to recommend it. The views were a little grey and the wind was howling pretty good up near the summit but for a short day out I highly recommend this little peak. With 800 meters height gain it's an alternative to Ha Lin or Heart when you're sick of repeating those ones!
[The boulder field.]
[Wietse comes up on climber's right of the boulders - we avoided them due to the slick snow covering.]
[As we gained a small ridge on climber's right of the boulder field we got our first glimpse of the summit.]
[Wietse on the ridge.]
[Pano of Spray Lakes from the boulder field. ++]
[A view into the pristine hanging valley which grants access to both Lougheed II and III.]
[Coming out of tree line.]
[Looking north west from tree line.]
[Wietse comes up the final summit ridge.]
[Pano from near the summit showing the entire Spray Lakes reservoir. ++]
[Vern on the summit of Little Lougheed.]
[That's about it for blue sky! Looking over at an outlier of Lougheed II]
[Wietse on the summit ridge. ++]
[The clouds are getting thicker and lower. ++]
[Windtower on the left and Lougheed I in the center. The access for Lougheed I is the valley seen here.]
[Sparrowhawk is buried in clouds near the summit.]