Ever since I first biked the Big Elbow loop in the front ranges of Kananaskis Country along the Sheep and Elbow Rivers I was interested in scrambling Threepoint Mountain and Mount Rose. I'm not sure why, but these two peaks kept coming up in conversations. While scrambling Cougar Mountain in 2010, I remember looking over at the two mountains and wondering if they could be done together. On May 31 2015 I scrambled Bluerock Mountain and found myself gazing once again at Rose and Threepoint, wondering about them. When Phil Richards sent me a PM on ClubTread asking if I'd be interesting in giving Threepoint and Rose a go, I couldn't resist. Our first plan fell through due to my laziness at getting up early, but with the weather looking like it might allow us to sneak in a trip on Saturday, June 13 if we left early enough, we made plans to leave the trailhead at 05:30.
[Our route line for the day - in Google Earth. You can see where the name 'Rose' comes from... ++]
After dodging at least 4 or 5 deer on the way to the trailhead, I finally met Phil and we hopped on our mountain bikes for the approach ride up the Elbow River. Phil had recently ridden the road for about 6km with his wife, so we knew it was in decent shape to that point. I haven't biked much this year but the old muscles came back and soon I was huffing and puffing my way uphill - my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest after the first big uphill! Thank goodness it didn't. :) We got some nice morning views of Threepoint along the trail before coming to a very washed out section. We navigated this section but soon came to a point where the old road is completely gone - washed out by the 2013 floods. At this point we could have biked another 2km or so before cutting left to Threepoint, but with the washouts and navigation headaches ahead, we decided to simply abandon the bikes and start our hike.
[A lovely morning view of Threepoint Mountain from the Big Elbow bike trail. Route goes from extreme right to extreme left!]
[This is where we left the bikes before crossing the river and heading towards the lower slopes of Threepoint on the left.]
The first job we had was crossing the Elbow. It was pretty tame at this point and we crossed without going deeper than around our knees. From this point we had to stick to climber's left of the river which meant a few side excursions through flood debris and along trashed river banks. Eventually we found ourselves directly under the west end of Threepoint's NW ridge and started working our way up through light forest towards it. From the bottom we could spot broken cliff bands above - the same ones shown in Nugara's book. Instead of following his line, we went further climber's right (south) and managed to find a break through the bands lower down before heading straight up towards the pinnacle high above steep scree slopes. This section was a grunt! When we got close to the pinnacle / first summit, we trended climber's left on Nugara's route line again, before breaking through the scree ascent slope and onto the ridge proper, just east of the pinnacle.
[Navigating some nasty flood debris while getting closer to the lower slopes of Threepoint]
[Phil works up rubbly slopes on Threepoint with Cougar and an unnamed peak in the background.]
[We managed to break through the cliff bands on climber's right easily]
[Looking up at the next half hour of grunting up steep scree. We contoured left of the pinnacle / first summit. Going right would be a large PITA.]
[The scree slope is almost impossibly steep]
[Excellent views gaining height to the ridge, looking over at Banded Peak at C and Cougar Peak to the L. ++]
[Getting closer to the ridge as we contour climber's left around the first summit of Threepoint]
[Phil comes up to the ridge, the first summit pinnacle rising behind us. ++]
The view to the main summit and the surrounding area was excellent! What a morning we were having! We were enjoying much better weather than expected, especially the wind was much calmer than I thought it would be. On the drive up, I noticed a lot of fresh snow on Bluerock, but we got lucky with very little ice / snow on our route. The ridge and final ascent slope on Threepoint looked a bit intimidating, but as usual once we got our noses in it, the terrain was no more than easy scrambling. After a glorious ridge walk and steep ascent we found ourselves on the first summit of the day at the early hour of 09:45 with excellent views in every direction.
[Gorgeous morning views of our main summit - still a long ways off (on the left)!]
[Phil on the traverse. ++]
[More of the traverse, you can see there's a lot of slabs / scree on this terrain.]
[Looking back at Phil and the ridge. ++]
[Phil and the ridge to summit]
[The ridgewalk is sublime. ++]
[The meadows to the east were brilliantly green after all the recent rainfall]
[More fossils - there are an incredible amount on this mountain!]
[Summit panorama looking east and north. ++]
[Looking over a cool, unnamed ridge in the foreground to Rae on the left and Cougar on the right.]
[Mount Burns is big and apparently hard to access thanks to the 2013 flooding]
[Tombstone is an impressive mountain too.]
[Outlaw, Banded and Cornwall]
[Nihahi Ridge with Fullerton and Howard to the left.]
[Mount Rose with Bluerock Mountain looming beyond]
[Tiny Mount Ware]
[Close up of Nihahi and Compression Ridges]
[Cougar Peak is another of my favorite peaks in the Elbow region]
[Mount Burns again - kind of looks like Cougar from this angle!]
We both knew that our day wasn't over yet - we wanted to try the route to Mount Rose before the weather moved in. After a quick bite to eat and some summit photos, it was time for the real test of the day, finding a route from Threepoint Mountain to Mount Rose.