On Saturday, August 30 2008 Keith and I set out to scramble Mount Lipsett and Mist Mountain. I originally wanted to scramble something difficult (like Mount Fox) but the weather was acting up again and it didn't seem prudent to be on too much difficult terrain with unpredictable weather hovering around. The idea for a two peak day on Mist and Lipsett came from Dow William's trip report on Mist Mountain where he details a traverse of the mountain starting up Kane's difficult route on the southwest ridge and ending on the moderate route down the north ridge. Since Kane's difficult route starts at the col between Mist's south ridge and Mount Lipsett and since Lipsett is only marginally higher than the col, it only made perfect sense to bag it while we were there anyway.
There are two bridges right in a row on the highway near the trail head. At first we parked by the second one but soon realized our mistake since there was no ribbon marking the trail head anywhere near that stream! You should park on the east side of the road, just north of the first bridge. You will quickly find the trail on the north side of the stream. This trail is pretty good. I think it's a game trail that has been trampled by hikers - it's obvious but does run a bit thin in spots. We followed this trail until it suddenly wanted us to start climbing up a steep bank. If you are going up the north ridge you should continue on the trail. If you're doing the loop that we did you should cross the stream here and head up a dirt bank on faint goat trails towards Mount Lipsett. We encountered very light bushwhacking on the south side of the stream as we contoured around Mount Lipsett towards the Lipsett / Mist col on a faint trail in the trees.
When the trees really thinned out we realized that we could either side-hill-bash all the way to the col or head up for an obvious break in the low angled cliffs on Lipsett. If we came up this break we would be between Lipsett's two summits. Since the south summit on Lipsett is the highest one, we opted to try the break in an effort to traverse over this peak and then continue down to the Mist / Lipsett col before ascending Mist.
[Looking back down our ascent valley from hwy 40, the SE summit of Highwood Ridge in the bg.]
Our plan worked brilliantly. The break was easily negotiated and soon we were on the summit of Lipsett. After some photos and a quick break (we only took just over an hour from the car to reach the summit) we started down to the col on scree / mud towards the intimidating southwest ridge of Mist Mountain.
[As we work our way around the north slopes of Lipsett we start thinking we can shortcut up between the two summits through cliffs on the upper right here.]
[Loose, but easy scrambling to break through the cliff band.]
[Keith comes up through the loose cliff band - Mist in the bg.]
[The lower north summit of Lipsett in the bg at left.]
[Keith fools around on our traverse to the main summit of Lipsett.]
[Looking along the north side of Lipsett towards our approach route with hwy 40 and the Highwood Pass in the distance.]
[Looking north from near the summit of Mount Lipsett. Highwood and Grizzly Ridges at left with Tyrwhitt at far left. Mount Rae in the distance at right.]
[Keith at the summit of Lipsett.]
[Vern and Keith on the summit.]
[Views to the south include Odlum and Loomis on the right and Lineham on the left.]
[Lovely (and intimidating!) views of the Mist col and our route up the east ridge.]
[Views to the south and west include Odlum, Loomis and Bishop.]
[Keith on the summit with Mist in the bg.]
[Views over the Mist col at the south ridge of Mist.]
Dow seemed to think that Kane's route wasn't too difficult but it looked pretty bad from our angle. Like every scramble, it was hard to predict how difficult it actually is from a distance so we started trudging down to the col before tackling the route up Mist.
[Keith descends easily to the Mist / Lipsett col from the summit of Lipsett.]
[Looking down the lovely approach valley as we gain the col.]
[Looking down our approach valley up hwy 40 to Highwood Pass. Storm Mountain on the right.]