Ahhh. It's fitting that the belle of the ball was the last major summit we tried. After doing Antler Ridge, Curator Mountain, Amber and GR403502 by the Notch we were ready for a real challenge. We got our challenge in the form of Mount Tekarra.
(NOTE: I've mapped the GPX track from the Maligne Canyon trailhead since I would do this peak from there as a one day ascent. You could easily combine this one with Signal Mountain for a two peak day, but it's 30km and a vertical mile of elevation gain.)
The night before I challenged the boys if they would join me getting up at 0600 to try tackle Tekarra from the 'other side'. I had noticed from Amber Mountain summit that we could have quite easily walked up the back side of Tekarra from the Skyline Trail. It would have been about 2km out of our way and we were to tired to bother so I thought we would try from the other side, going up a ridge that touched down near the Tekarra campground and wound around to the North side of the mountain.
[Mount Tekarra from the Skyline Trail from just before the summit of Amber Mountain. It's much easier to ascent Tekarra from this end (south) than from the north like we did.]
I'm not sure if they took me serious but sure enough at 0600 I woke up and went to get the guys. After getting our toques on and fumbling into our clothes in the dark we were across the stream and bushwhacking our way up the ridge. There was a smattering of trails - probably from sheep - making their way up the ridge so we followed them. Eventually we worked our way to the col between the cliffs of Tekarra and the ridges from Signal Mountain. This is where I thought our morning was about to come to an end.
[A smoky sunrise from the lower slopes of Mount Tekarra.]
When we topped out at the col. I immediately noticed that we were in trouble. There was no gentle slope meeting the ridge but instead a line of cliffs marched off into the morning mists with no obvious way through. I have done enough scrambles that I know that cliffs can have amazing weaknesses when they are observed up close so I decided to keep going. Good thing.
As we got even closer to the line of cliffs we noticed a steep rubble chute cutting through the cliff to the ridge. We originally tried to go straight up a ledge system on the cliff but were forced to go to the chute by the exposure. When we got to the tail out of the chute we realized that we could make it here. After scrambling up loose rubble and scree we topped out at the bottom of a scree ridge. On top of the ridge was a communications tower and we could spot two other promising looking peaks past this.
[Here is a picture of the steep notch we found through the cliff bands. There were some cairns marking the way once we started up.]
[A beautiful early morning shot from the summit of Mount Tekarra with Kev coming up a ridge and the mountains across the valley just peeking above the smoke and clouds. You can also spot the communications hut on top of the ridge.]
Once we got to the communications hut we realized that the third (and furthest) peak was probably the summit. We lost a bit of elevation working our way over to it but quickly made it up again by climbing big boulders and rock to the high-point. A large cairn greeted us with a stony stare. As we waited for Kev, Jon and I took in the wonderful views and I felt a deep satisfaction with our accomplishment. Using only the map and our sense of direction we had found a way to the top. I'll be doing a lot more of these unknown scrambles - I guarantee it!
[Vern and Jon at the summit.]
[Vern, Jon and Kev at the summit.]
[Steep rubble on the way down through the cliff bands.]
[A peaceful tarn on the way back to camp.]