To get to Og Mountain, we first had to hike along the Windy Ridge trail
from the Assiniboine Lodge area and our Naiset hut. After getting some sublime morning sunrise shots of Mount Assiniboine early in the day, it was nice to walk past it again in full day light. With a plume of snow peeling off it's lofty 11,871 foot summit it looked incredibly huge and intimidating. I would stand on her summit almost exactly four years after staring up at it on this trip
- sure that I would NEVER have the skills or the courage to climb her steep NE ridge! We got on the trail by 09:00 and began the march north of Assiniboine Lodge. The Og Pass trail is very well marked but a lot muddier than we expected! Overall, on this trip, there was far more mud than I'm used to in the Rockies. Usually all you get is scree with the odd bit of grass and we would have preferred that to the sticky, slippery muck that we got. Oh well. When we finally got to the lower slopes of Cave Mountain (about 4-5km) we quickly started climbing and left the muddy soup behind.
[Gorgeous sunrise on the might "A". ++
[Delightful terrain on the way up to Og Pass, hiking through the gap along the Windy Ridge lookout (Og Pass) Trail. Og Mountain barely visible in the upper right of the photo
[The rest of the group makes their way across the soggy Assiniboine Flats on the Og Pass trail. Og Mountain's four distinctive summits on the right.]
[Hiking towards Og Mountain from Og Pass. This is where the turn off to Cave Mountain is - OOS to the right.]
The trail up to Og Pass through the trees on the lower part of Cave Mountain is well marked and obvious. When we reached the crest of this trail, between Og Mountain and Cave Mountain another sign told us that Windy Ridge was up to the left. We continued on an excellent, switch backing trail over and around the lower west end of Og Mountain and proceeded up a low angled trail to the Windy Ridge lookout. The lookout was actually located on the col between Windy Ridge and Og Mountain. Windy Ridge is marked on the map and I regret not spending the 15 minutes it would have taken to get up (and down!) it. An easier summit chance could not be dreamed of. But I wasn't sure the ridge was officially named, the weather was closing in, the air was cold and there was a lot of snow on Og that we had to get up so we left Hann and Yolande to attempt Windy Ridge while Rod, Jon and I headed up the northwest slopes of Og Mountain.
[Windy Ridge is straight ahead. The lookout is at the col.]
[Yolande and Jon hike up the trail to Windy Point Ridge - Lake Magog and Assiniboine in the bg]
[Windy Point Peak is obvious to the left - it's much warmer than it appears since we're in short sleeves here!]
[Dramatic views looking back towards Lake Magog and Assiniboine.]
[Hanneke and Vern pose on the Windy Ridge lookout.]
[Looking east from Windy Ridge - part of Nasswald on the left. ++]
There are four summits on Og Mountain. Og is a very cool looking mountain from the approach on the Og Pass Trail and with 1 foot of fresh snow it was also literally a very cool mountain when we climbed it! I was a bit chaffed because the map clearly labels the lowest, easiest west summit as the official one but the fourth and highest east summit is attainable and obviously higher so was it
actually the real summit? I wasn't going to take any chances - not after my amusing (to everyone but me
) Mount Kerr experience
! Rick Collier had the same question when he summited Og
and he went for the fourth summit. He had an easier ascent line because he ascended straight up the south facing scree slopes. We couldn't access these slopes even if we wanted to because of a bear closure around Allenby Pass / Valley with an accompanying huge fine if caught in the area. We had to traverse the three lower peaks before we'd get to stand on the highest one!
[Looking up at the first (and lowest) summit of Og from the pass
[The snow is getting deeper as we ascend - Windy Point Peak is now lower than us.
Scrambling up loose rocks and snow up to our knees in drifts, we made it up to the first summit pretty quickly. There was a large cairn here and I assume that of the very few people who ascend this mountain, 99% of them probably pull out the map, look at the remaining 3 summits and promptly stop here. We pretty much tore apart the cairn looking for an official (or any) register (it was cold and I would have gladly stopped at this cairn if we found something semi-official) but all we found was a wooden mallet with someone's name carved on it. We left Rod to rebuild the cairn while Jon and I pressed on. I was absolutely determined to get to the actual summit of this mountain because I knew the odds of me coming all the way back here were slim.
[Jon at the first and lowest summit of Og Mountain - the next three summits are clearly much higher. Most folks are content to stop here.]
The first summit was descended easily before heading back up to the second. We had to lose a bit of height after the first so we tried skirting around the second instead of going all the way over it. It wasn't worth the effort - just go right over it. After the second summit there was some moderate scrambling to get down to the 2nd/3rd col. Once we got to the 3rd summit of Og we found ourselves staring down at some loose, steep, exposed terrain. Uh oh.
[Jon descends from the first summit]
[Looking back at Rod on the first summit from the second summit. As you can see, it's not much higher.]
[Jon approaches the 3rd summit]
[Jon downclimbing the first part of the third summit to fourth summit traverse. He bailed soon after this and waiting while I finished the traverse.]
We decided to poke around at the descent but after about 3 minutes, Jon decided that he'd had enough and would wait for me. I descended on very loose, sometimes exposed terrain - determined to make that fourth summit! It was the low end of difficult scrambling, but with the snow and the weather closing in it felt worse than that. Don't forget that you can easily access this 4th peak from the Og Valley to the south (if it's not closed for bear activity that is) but it was very cool to traverse all the distinctive summits. After the crux it was a 10 minute plod to the top where there was a small cairn buried in snow. I half-heartedly looked for a register but didn't find anything substantial (only a few bits of disintegrating paper) so I'm not sure what happened to the register that Rick Collier placed - I would've looked a bit harder if I knew at the time that he placed one, I didn't find that out till after the trip.
[Jon on the third summit. You can see that it's a wee bit exposed on this side, and part of the downclimb looks right over this precipice.]
[Jon stands on the third summit in this shot from near the fourth.]
After snapping some photos of the interesting terrain surrounding Og Mountain I rejoined Jon and we headed down to Og pass to hook up with Rod and the girls again. Not many people get up Og Mountain or do the traverse that we did, and this is reason enough to highly recommend it. The views are also steller and this should just convince you even more.
[Looking back at Jon on the third summit from the fourth. ++]
[Looking north at Nasswald Peak and Golden Mountain. ++]
[The Allenby Pass area with Mount Allenby on the right. ++]
[Jon on the third summit of Og on our way back]
[Hiking back towards Cave Mountain before ascending it via right hand slopes, rising left.]