On Saturday, January 12 2008 I bagged my first peak of the new year. Wasootch Peak is not a glamorous or lofty goal, but it was good exercise and considering it's mid-January and I was solo, it was a great day out. (Note: 8 years after first doing this summit, I think it's now as popular or more so, than Heart and Baldy were 10 years ago! There is a beaten trail up to the twin summits almost year-round now and you will encounter other folks enjoying the views.
There's no surprises here. Simply follow the directions in Andrew Nugara's scrambling book and you should encounter no surprises. The only variations I found were that the parking was sketchy along highway 40. There's a lot of traffic whizzing by and with snow in the ditches I couldn't pull off the road far enough. I parked just after the bridge on the road into Nakiska and Kananaskis Village (just off Hwy 40) and simply walked an extra 300 meters. That option felt much safer to me. I also didn't think that the drainage was that obvious, and it was full of ice, so not very 'dry'! :-) Simply walk north on hwy 40 till you get to the "40" sign and then go east into the trees. The drainage is obvious at that point. I also found fresh blazes on the trees (still sappy) and occasional flagging. The route I followed went up a ridge and was more moderate than easy, but still no issues. Once above tree line the ridge route is way better than the scree one, IMO.
[A view of Wasootch Peak from the 'dry' drainage.]
[Great views of Mount Kidd from the ascent slope.]
[Looking south and west down hwy 40 towards Spoon Needle and Fortress.]
[The trail feels like Lord of the Rings in spots!]
[Looking across the Kananaskis Valley towards Limestone, Inflexible, James Walker, Spoon Needle and The Fortress (R to L). ++]
[Looking south to Fisher Peak (L), McKay Hills and the Wedge. Kidd on the right.]
[Vern takes a break on the way up Wasootch Peak.]
[Mount Bogart looms over Ribbon Peak up the Ribbon Creek Valley.]
[Fortress Mountain telephoto from the ascent ridge on Wasootch.]
[Looking ahead to the south summit.]
[Looking across highway 40 at Nakiska and Mounts Olympic, Allan, Collembolla, Sparrowhawk, Wind and Lougheed.]
[Easy slopes to the first summit.]
[Dramatic clouds and lighting on Mount Sparrowhawk.]
[More dramatic cloud scenery to the west.]
If you stick right to the ridge just below the first peak, on the traverse from the first peak to the second one, there is an upper moderate move that feels quite exposed on the east side. I think it's possible to avoid this move, but with verglass or strong winds you won't like this section. Just before the first peak there is a bit of a cornice that apparently has turned people around before.
[Looking back at the south peak from the col between the North and South peaks.]
[Looking ahead to the North summit (true) from the traverse.]
[The summit view north towards Baldy and Barrier Lake.]
[Great lighting across hwy 40 towards Lorette (C) and Mary Barclay's (R).]
[Looking south to the slightly lower south summit with Kananaskis Peak and Old Baldy beyond.]
[Summit panorama with the Wedge at left and Collembolla at right. ++]
[Looking back up fast descent slopes.]
[Great views of Mount Kidd from the descent. ++]
[The approach is nice even in summer - looking back at the mountain from near the highway.]
I highly recommend this peak as an off-season scramble, provided there isn't too much snow.