The wind was forecast to be strong all over the Rockies on Sunday, March 29, 2015. The forecasts were right. I woke several times in the Bighorn Campground near Ya Ha Tinda by the sounds of a gusty west wind. When the alarm went off at 04:00 it was still gusting pretty strong but at least the sky over us was clear and the air temperate was quite warm at around 5 degrees Celsius.
It wasn't looking good as I sat in the Tim Horton's in Sundre on Saturday, March 28 2015. It was around 11 in the morning and it was pouring outside! Not just a mist, but a full on down pour. I was waiting for Steven and Ben to arrive from Edmonton before we continued our drive to the Bighorn Campground in the Ya Ha Tinda area of the front ranges.
After looking at our options for the weekend, Ben, Steven and I decided that it made the most sense to try for a hiking or snow shoe trip on Sunday, December 14th. Considering the snow conditions everywhere, we settled on Maze Peak in the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch area of the Rockies, west of Sundre Alberta.
When I heard there was a major winter storm coming down through Calgary and the Rockies to the west on Sunday, November 9th I decided that as much as I didn't feel like getting up early on Saturday the 8th - I should probably try to make it a priority before the deep freeze. One last warm fall hike / scramble in 2014!
We had lots of time left after completing the summits of Warre and Vavasour so Kaycie and I decided to descend the south ridge of Vavasour towards Mount Leval. Kaycie had some large blisters and was done peak bagging so we also decided that she would stop on the ridge in a safe, wind-protected area to read her e-book while I continued down and then up to Leval on my own.
After scrambling up Mount Warre on a gorgeous last Saturday of summer 2014, Kaycie and I turned our sights on Mount Vavasour, the higher of the two peaks standing sentry over our beautiful bivy site beside Warre Pond far below.
For my last weekend off at the end of the summer holidays, I was joined by Ben and Steven for a shot at some peaks in the Woolley / Diadem area just north of the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park. Obviously Woolley and Diadem were the main objectives for us, but we also had some other summits in mind - naturally!! :)
Saturday afternoon, once we moved bivy sites from the South Glacier to the east one, Steven came over and expressed some concern at the obvious giant, open 'schrund splitting the whole south face of the upper glacier on Prince Albert. Initially I dismissed his concerns thinking of how easily we avoided similar issues on King George's South Glacier.
After descending the glacier and loose scree of King George's upper mountain, we realized that with a whole afternoon still ahead of us and perfect weather, we should attempt a scramble of Mount Princess Mary. After all, there was no way we were slogging all the way back here again - no matter how beautiful it was! ;)