So I woke up on a lovely morning in February and decided that work could wait. I was going to bag a peak and that was the end of it! It's been entirely to long since I stood atop a mountain so off I headed to try to bag Pigeon Mountain.
After reading Sonny's ski trip story about the event I decided to try on foot. Good decision Vern! I had an excellent walk up the power line and finally around 6,000 feet I came to the open slopes of Pigeon. From here the story gets a little bit more interesting. I had been following someone else's footprints all the way up but somehow I had lost them and was now only on a ski track. Hmmm. Then I decided that there was no way I was going to go all the way around the ridge to gain it.
[A beautiful, sunny winter day.]
[Views from where I realized I went too far and turned back around weren't too shabby.]
I backtracked back down the trail into the forest and voila! I found a good trail snaking up a ridge to the left of the main trail and followed it. Second good decision of the day. I was on a roll.
[Looking up the Bow Valley. The Orphan, Big, Middle and Little Sister, Lawrence Grassi, Ha Ling, EEOR and Rundle from L to R.]
[Looking back over Skogan Pass towards Old Baldy and Mount McDougall.]
[The summit looks a long way off but it's not as bad as it appears.]
After that the way was obvious. I always forget how much energy these things take and so I was pretty beat by the time I arrived at the summit - not to mention the wind that nearly blew me over and the 20 or so sheep that nearly ran me off the summit! When I finally stumbled back to the truck I was more then a little tired! The worst part was that I couldn't eat all day for some reason. Every time I tried I couldn't swallow... I think I just overdid it a bit. Oh well! It was well worth the effort and I bagged my first peak of the year.
There was only one slope that presented any avalanche concern but with the wind crust and the clear spots it was no big deal to go over it (quickly). If you're going to do this one just make sure that if you come to open slopes and you pass a wildlife sign that says the area is closed from December till June, you've gone to far and you should backtrack and look for the trail that heads up to climber's left already in the trees about 200 meters back down the trail.
[Looking across the Bow Valley corridor to Grotto Mountain.]
[Looking past McGillivray on the left towards Skogan Peak and Mount Lorette.]
[Looking directly east at Mount McGillivray's long north ridge.]
[Vern on the summit.]
[I love how I used to label photos... :) I missed a few. From L to R, Gap, Fable, Morrowmount, Old Goat, Exshaw, Loder, Door Jamb and I'm still missing a few.]
There's a really nice camping pad just a little ways down the path in the forest on the way back (south side of trail) - does anyone know whose it is? There was firewood, fuel and an axe sitting there. This is a perfect hike for the family or to get your climbing legs back in shape.