We woke up in the Aster Lake campground on the morning of Wednesday, September 6th to another very clear and very smoky day. We were a bit sore after approaching Aster Lake and scrambling Mount Sarrail the day before, but we still had pretty aggressive plans. Our plans included ascents of both Warrior and Cordonnier and possibly adding a third summit - Mount Northover before returning to Aster Lake for another night.
After eating breakfast we proceeded down the interesting trail along Aster Lake's southern shoreline before heading across the gravel flats towards Warrior Mountain.
[Jon tightens his boot laces under the gaze of our next two objective, Cordonnier in the bg on the left and Warrior on the right.]
[We follow the obvious Northover Ridge / Joffre approach trail towards Northover (R) and Warrior (L). Once we are around Aster Lake, we will go left off the trail and head up Warrior's east face on the easiest line to the glacier which is out of sight behind the ridge at left.]
Jon led the way up the lower slopes of Warrior and soon we were standing at the glacier. The glacier on Warrior is small and there was no snow on it so we put on our crampons and headed across unroped. In my opinion, if the glacier is bare ice like we had, roping up is overkill and could even be more dangerous than not roping. If you aren't used to glacier travel (say you're a hiker or scrambler), there is more chance of you stumbling on your crampons and pulling the rest of your group down the glacier when you fall and lose your grip than there is of falling into an obvious crevasse. Not to mention, there aren't very many holes on this rapidly melting glacier any more!
[Jon leads up the easy ledges / slabs on Warrior's east face under the glacier.]
[On the glacier now - this is the biggest hole we could find and it was obvious.]
[Looking north off the gently angled glacier towards Northover. An unnamed summit just to the right of Northover and Lyautey just visible in the bg.]
[Rod comes up the glacier behind me, Aster Lake visible at far right and Kananaskis Lake in the distance.]
[Rod and Vern on the glacier.]
Once off the glacier we headed up onto the ridge connecting Warrior and Cordonnier and took off our crampons. A short while later we were on top of Warrior Mountain, our first summit for the day. Our views were once again ruined by smoke. We still had a fairly long day ahead, so we didn't linger too long before heading back down the scree ridge towards Mount Cordonnier.
[Just off the glacier, this is what a recently receding glacier does to scree - it gets rid of it up high and deposits it all lower down!]
[Jon grunts up to the scree ridge above the glacier - the summit visible above us here and the route via the skyline ridge.]
[Lots of scree to the summit of Warrior along the south ridge.]
[Looking back at Rod ascending the wide south ridge of Warrior, Cordonnier and its traverse along with Joffre in the background.]
[Summit views were limited thanks to thick smoke, but here we are nonetheless! Petain, Joffre and Cordonnier (L to R) in the bg. ++]
[Great view of Northover in the foreground and Lyautey to the right. Jon and I would 'enjoy' the difficult scramble up Northover after first doing Cordonnier.]
The connecting ridge from Warrior to Cordonnier was more fun, but also more difficult than I expected. I don't think Kane's rating of 'easy' is justified for this ridge. I understand that he is probably rating it for mountaineers though, because he assumes that in order to get up Warrior you crossed the glacier and therefore are used to airy traverses. Well, it was quite airy and on one section it was also very loose. A fall off the left side would not have been fatal (probably) but sure would have hurt! A fall off the right side of the ridge wouldn't have hurt very long, because it would have been fatal. :P
[Rod on the connecting ridge to Cordonnier from Warrior showing the exposure off the west side of the ridge.]
[I personally think this is more than just 'easy' scrambling terrain. A slip to the left would be injuries for sure, probably severe. Going off to the right obviously isn't even an option for survivability! ;)]
[Another shot of the moderate scrambling section of the ridge.]