On July 10 2004 Wes, Ed and I headed up the Centennial Ridge trail with Mount Collembola, not Mount Allan, being our objective. It was a beautiful morning and the long approach didn't seem very long at all and soon we came on an obvious trail snaking up to the left. This trail is before the Centennial Ridge trail actually breaks tree line and we foolishly second-guessed and kept going on Centennial Ridge for about 5 minutes till we got to a steep clearing and then headed up it to intersect with the trail - just take the trail!
[On the approach trail with Collembola rising over the tree tops ahead.]
If you want to keep the scramble fairly basic stick to the ridge and cut around any cliff bands to the right. We decided to keep things interesting and headed around the mountain to the left and ended up traversing some steep (but fun) terrain to gain the top ridge. Don't ask why we did this - it was a major route finding gaff on my part.
[Wes on the northeast end of Collembola - we should have just stayed on the north ridge.]
[Traversing steep and loose cliffs on the NE side of the ridge.]
[Although it was fun, it was also frustrating because the north ridge is so much easier.]
[Looking along the NE face of the north ridge (above on the right). Eventually we realized our (my) mistake and went up to the right and back to the ridge proper.]
Once on top of the ridge you have excellent views of the Centennial Ridge trail and you also realize that the summit is a ways away yet. It isn't as far as it looks and the ridge walk is so nice you won't care. It looks almost impossible to climb up to the left of the cliff band protecting the summit but it's really not that bad. We traversed over to the left and then went straight up through some 'greener' areas where the rock was a bit more solid. Rock fall is a real concern on this trip so either wear a helmet or go with a small group.
[Back on the ridge proper, looking ahead to the summit.]
[Great views over the Centennial Ridge towards the four peaks of Lougheed including (L to R), Wind, III, II, and I.]
It was pretty windy on the peak so we didn't stay long. We were VERY tempted to head up to Mt. Allan and back down Centennial Ridge but resisted the urge and instead we spent a very leisure 1.5 hours making our way down the Jubilee Lakes valley. From the summit just continue to the col between the summit and the next cliff band and then head down scree to your right. Flower were out by the thousands and there was no wind. We witnessed a pretty big rock slide coming down from Mt. Allan - probably released by snow melt. We also saw about 20 sheep.
[Panorama looking over Mount Allan towards (L to R), Kidd, Ribbon, Bogart, Allan, Sparrowhawk, Lougheed, Windtower, Big Sister, Middle Sister and others. ++]
[Vern, Ed and Wes on the summit of Collembola.]
[We descended scree slopes into the beautiful hanging valley between Collembola and Centennial Ridge for an alternate route back.]
The walk back to the car was very long but still rather pleasant. I loved this trip and some day when I'm bored, I'll come back and do the circuit to Mt. Allan and back down Centennial Ridge from Collembola.
[Great views out of the hanging valley towards the end of Centennial Ridge.]
[This place must be heaven for sheep, which is why it's closed part of the year.]
[A lush, gorgeous valley.]
[This valley has enough scenery to keep you entertained for a few extra hours.]