Wow. Who would've thought that I'd be bagging my first scramble of the year only 6 days into it?! Ok - it's not like Grizzly Peak is such a hard or worthy adversary but for a winter scramble it does very nicely thank you. With a lot of snow this scramble would be pretty much impossible. Because you have to traverse and side slope such a large part of this short scramble it would be hopeless and dangerous (avalanches) to attempt this mountain in real wintry conditions. Fortunately for me, this is not a 'normal' winter so I only had some icy patches and the occasional deep pocket of snow to worry about.
Too bad I didn't have clear weather for this one because the views are supposed to be fantastic and even with clouds closing in on me I had some pretty good ones. This can be a very short scramble, I did it in 1 hour 50 minutes up and 3 hours 20 minutes total and could have been quicker if it wasn't for the ice and snow that conspired to slow me down. If you have the energy and the weather, I would suggest doing this one and Opal North in one day. This would give you an idea of what it's like to scramble Mount Stephen!
There are no surprises on this scramble except don't be afraid to follow the main trail all the way up. Once you get around the south shoulder you should head immediately up the slope - no need to traverse any further than necessary - you won't get cliffed out even though it sort of looks like you might. I met up with an ornery goat on the way up the trail but after I put my foot down he conceded the right of way to me. ;-)
[We squared off for about 2 minutes before the goat decided that I wasn't worth it!]
[Believe it or not this was the crux of the trip! Because of very icy trail conditions I actually wore crampons for this stretch on the way back. I bent my left pole in half on the way up trying to avoid a nasty spill.]
[The view to the north from the summit ridge on Grizzly Peak. Too bad about the clouds, I'll have to go back some day.]
[Looking towards the summit from the ridge.]
[A view towards the south from the peak of Grizzly. Note Kananaskis Lakes prominently on display. King Creek Ridge at left.]
[Vern on the summit of Grizzly Peak.]
[A small panorama, gazing north of the summit of Grizzly Peak towards The Wedge and Opal Ridge with highway 40 also visible. ++]
[The lonely larch that Alan Kane makes famous in his book describing the route to the summit of Grizzly.]
[The gap between Grizzly and the lower slopes of Mount Packenham on the way down.]
[The only place I used crampons was on this stretch on the way down.]