Observation Peak


Trip Details
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Trip Date: 
Friday, August 7, 2009
Summit Elevation (m): 
Summit Elevation (ft): 
Elevation Gain (m): 
Round Trip Time: 
Total Distance (km): 
Difficulty Notes: 

As long as it's dry, this is mostly an off trail hike, or easy scramble. All bets are off when there's snow on the route.

Trip Report

Finding myself with a free weekend in the summer is a very rare occurrence, so when it happened on the weekend of August 7, 8 and 9 I arranged a 3 peak extravaganza! The first summit would be a solo effort so I chose something without a lot of difficulties and a short approach, Observation Peak.


There really isn't a lot to say about this scramble, it's pretty easy and it's hard to get lost. Simply follow Alan Kane's instructions and you'll encounter no difficulties. A number of people have either attempted or done this mountain with snow and apparently this can be tricky due to avi slopes. As a summer objective this is a fast outing (I took less than 4 hours up and down but had a 2 hour nap / break on the summit!) and has very respectable views - I highly recommend it.


[The approach gully is already visible after a very short jaunt in the forest on a faint trail.]

[Looking up the avi gully. Stick to climber's right for the best trail / ascent options.]

[The route is obvious and easy - but loose in spots.]

[Looking back over my approach with Jimmy Simpson, Peyto, Caldron and Patterson (L to R) in the bg. ++]

[Telephoto towards the Wapta includes Olive, St. Nicholas and Gordon (L to R)]

[More easy scree slopes up to the summit ridge.]

[Looking north up Hwy 93 from the summit ridge.]

[The true summit lies at the north end of the ridge.]

[Incredible views towards the Peyto area of the Wapta Icefields. From L to R, summits include Rhondda, Habel, Ayesha, Baker, Peyto and Trapper.]

[Incredible view of Caldron Lake Falls with Peyto, Baker and Trapper rising above.]

[Peyto Lake with Caldron and Mistaya rising in the bg.]

[Bow Lake at lower left and Iceberg lake above it to the right with Bow Falls clearly visible. Portal Peak on the right and The Onion, Gordon St. Nicholas and Olive to the left.] 

[A telephoto of Bow Falls and Iceberg Lake.]

[Still traversing over to the main summit - trying not to get too distracted by all the wonderful views!]

[Panorama to the north, east and south includes (L to R), Conical, Isabella Lake, Marmot, Kentigern, Recondite, Harris, Willingdon, Quartzite and Hector - many others too of course! ++]

[Summit cairn with Recondite in the bg.]

[Vern chills out on an outcrop near the summit. Mistaya and Mummery provide amazing views.]

[Summit panorama looking south, west and north includes (R to L), Bow Lake, Jimmy Simpson, Peyto Lake, Mistaya, Patterson, Howse, White Pyramid and Chephren with Chephren Lake below. ++]

[Looking over Bow Lake and Crowfoot and Vulture Mountains to the mighty Mount Balfour - highest peak of the Wapta Icefield.]

[Mount Mummery with Mistaya on the left and Barbette on the right with the Delta Glacier melting into Delta Creek in the middle.]

[Barbette at left with the Freshfield Icefield (Conway Group) in the distance including Whiteavs, Mount de Margerie, Termier and Conway.]

[Mount Patterson is a favorite summit in the area.]

[Midway, Aiguille and Howse in front of Forbes (L) and the Lyells (R).]

[The same evening as the day I summitted Observation would find me joining Keith Bott on an approach to the Chephren Lake bivy site from which we'd ascend that beautiful peak the next day (R). I skied / climbed White Pyramid (L) a few months previous.]

[Mount Hector lies to the south.]

[Looking up the Peyto Glacier approach to the Wapta at Des Poilus, Collie in the far bg and Rhondda and Habel in the mid fg.]

[Portal Peak on the left and Thompson on the right.]

[A seat with a helluva view!!]

[One more panorama over the Recondite approach which runs up the foreground valley from right to left, past Isabella Lake and then back right all the way to Recondite, which is the pointy peak at center. ++]

[The area to the east of Hector is a great landscape including Pipestone Pass and Devon Lakes. Mountains at far left include Mosquito, Molar and Noseeum.]

[A slightly further east view than the previous photo, Mosquito on the right with Ramp and Quartzite at center and Cataract in the far distance.]

[Quartzite Col somewhere to the right, Willingdon, Crown and Tower at left in the bg.]

[Mistaya Lake in the fg, Howse, White Pyramid and Chephren looming beyond.]

[Great views of Peyto Lake as I descend.]

[Looking back at Observation Peak from the approach road off hwy 93.]

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Enter the characters shown in the image.