Mount McConnell is one of those peaks that got onto my mountain list somehow and just stayed hovering somewhere near the top of it but never seemed to actually get done. Why was it on my list? As one of the most remote and hard to access peaks in Banff National Park with a summit over 10,200 feet high, it is rarely done (we were only the 5th recorded ascent) and gets the explor8ion juices flowing.
After a successful, and fun, ascent of Mount Brussilof we almost had to take advantage of good weather and a shared col to ascend Mount Alcantara's south ridge. Previous parties have used easy SW scree slopes to ascend Alcantara, but the south ridge looked absolutely fantastic from Brussilof and was a no-brainer for us to attempt, considering where we found ourselves late in the afternoon of July 20, 2018.
As you can read in the "interesting facts" note above, Simpson Peak is, well, interesting. Maybe not as interesting as it's neighbor, Simpson Ridge, or "Mount Edmonton", but it has its own charms including the fact, of course, that its officially unnamed and I'm sure we're one of maybe two or three parties at most who've bothered standing on its summit.
As of July 2018, Simpson Ridge had been on Phil and my peak hit list for more than a few years already. Little did we know as we planned our trip, that this remote and largely ignored ridge had such an interesting first ascent and history behind it and even less did we know just what adventures our planned route would entail. But this is exactly what explor8ion is all about!
Phil and I were planning a much "sexier" peak for Friday, May the 4th (be with you) but for a variety of reasons ended up on this one. I'll let my photos do most of the talking on this trip report other than to say it was an enjoyable hike on a beautiful day, but not something that's likely done very often for good reason.
After completing a very pleasant scramble / hike on Etherington-Baril Ridge I stupidly decided that I should cap off a perfect day with a jaunt up something named, "Hell's Ridge". What was I thinking?! It could be convincingly argued that I was so overcome with the powerful elixirs of Spring that I wasn't thinking at all...
Cockscomb Mountain has a few things going for it. No matter how many peaks you've done, as long as it's more than one, you will have a best one and a worst one. I never have to worry about encountering my worst one now - I've apparently just done it. Another thing in Cockscomb's favor is that I will never ever, ever, ever have to repeat it.
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.
Because we're suckers for punishment, we decided it would be a good idea to attempt a third peak in the Harrison area after coming down from Folk on Sunday and after approaching and climbing Harrison on Saturday. The only beta we had on the peak was from Rick Collier. Rick mentions an elk trail that they discovered on their descent and recommends using it ...
You know it's not a very interesting trip when it takes me a few weeks to write it and the main photo is from the drive to the trailhead... :) Honestly, there isn't much to recommend the snowshoe trip up the North Ridge of Mount Buller, other than a decent view from the top and some good sweating (and swearing?!) on the way up.
After summiting Lion Peak, it was time to traverse over to Lioness for our second summit of the day. I'll admit, I was very skeptical that this summit deserved a "summit" rating but I wasn't going to argue about it since it is an officially named peak. After doing the traverse I don't have a problem with it anymore.
After summiting Mount Amery, Eric and I began our long (LONG!) traverse around the entire Monchy Icefield to the summits of Hooge and Monchy. You need a lot of factors to come into play before this traverse is worth the effort: