It is with a great deal of trepidation that I'm announcing my intention to migrate all the content on explor8ion.com to a more modern, updated format. Why the fear and trembling on my part? It's a daunting task ahead of me. Over the years I've managed to create two monsters in the forms of explor8ion.com with over 650 trip reports and verndewit.com with tens of thousands of photos. This migration effort will eventually bring both domains together but for now they will exist separately - I apologize for the confusion. Please be patient with some churn on both sites, while I spend the next few years on this very huge, very non-trivial exercise. During the change, you will see highlighted sections such as the one below from my Chimper Peak trip. This highlighted section will show up in every trip report as I move them over.
!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/10/20/chimper-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.
As we traversed to the summit of Mount Currie, my eyes were immediately drawn to a distinctive ridge running west of Currie, lower down and guarding Cross Lake (which wasn't visible from our vantage). This ridge was obviously connected to Mount Currie and it looked to be very reasonable to traverse it before descending past Cross Lake to the historic White Man's Pass.
After our trip up Mount Morrison and Owl Peak earlier in the week, Phil and I had been thinking (obsessing?) about its supposedly "easy" neighbor to the SW - Mount Currie. This might seem strange to some folks, but Phil and I don't just love peakbagging, we love getting to peaks that are not done very often and are remote and somewhat challenging to access. For us it's about the backcountry experience as much as the summit.
After being only the 6th summit party in the last 31 years to stand on Mount Morrison's peak, Phil and I somewhat reluctantly turned our attention to our next destination - Owl Peak. We were only reluctant because we didn't see how the day could get any better than it had already been!
Wednesday, June 20 was shaping up to be a pretty nice day in the Rockies. When Phil texted me and mentioned that he was going to attempt a long-planned traverse over Mount Morrison to Owl Peak and Lake I was intrigued enough to book the day off and join him on this venture. Ever since skiing Mount Turner in April of 2017 my stoke for Morrison had increased 10-fold.
Since we were camping in the area over the weekend of June 15, I decided I might as well drag my family up the diminutive Packenham Junior with it's not-so-diminutive views. The rumors on this outlier of the much higher and more impressive Mount Packenham are true - it's a steep grind with no trail and sweet views.
After a sublime day on Mount Denny the day before, I was not keen on sitting out the rest of the weekend despite a pretty dismal weather forecast. After downgrading objectives a few times, I settled on an easy scramble / hike to Buller Creek Peak as outlined in Andrew Nugara's, More Scrambles guidebook.
Spring scrambling in the Rockies around Calgary has always been an interesting game of trying to decide what's in shape and what is still out of scrambling condition. With the prevalence of social media, the game has become somewhat rigged with a flood of trip reports coming out after every weekend from all corners of the Rockies.
Saturday, June 2 2018 was looking like a mixed bag of Spring weather. Phil and I decided to play it easy and get out for an "exercise day" - hopefully one with some great views. Phil had put Ochre Spring Peak on our list a while ago already, but I'd never paid it much attention until the Matt's (Hobbs and Clay) recently posted trip reports on it, demonstrating some pretty sweet views.
Wietse, Phil, Calvin and I took advantage of yet another great May weather forecast on Sunday, May 27th 2018 to summit a peak that's been on my list for the past few Alberta spring scrambling seasons thanks to its position on the front ranges of the Rockies near the Crowsnest Pass. For some reason Phil and I ended up canceling several planned excursions here, but alls well that ends well - and we picked the perfect day in the end.
On a very warm Friday, May 25, 2018, I finally got to ascend a front-range peak in the Ghost Wilderness that I've had on my radar for many years already - Orient Point. Why has it been on my "to-do" list so long? Simple! I've been hearing some pretty great things about it from friends and acquaintances over the years.
My first ascent of Midnight Peak was well before it became the very popular front range peak that it is nowadays. Way back in October of 2010 I enjoyed a pretty nice fall hike from the Baldy Pass approach. My second ascent was slightly more tiring as was from a slightly different angle too!
At this point on a gorgeous spring day on May 19, 2018, Wietse and I were already over 6 hours into our day and a LONG way from our vehicle. As we descended the easy, snowy NW ridge of Boundary Peak towards Midday Peak, we also met other people for the first time that day.
Boundary Peak was the highest point on Wietse and my 21km, 1700m+, 10.5 hour Porcupine Loop traverse. As we started the seemingly long trek from Crown Peak towards Boundary Ridge, we were starting to realize that this is a pretty big day - especially for a bunch of front range, unofficial summits. It was also a gorgeous day. Perfect for ridge hiking in every way. No wind. Not too hot. Great views.
"Crown Peak" is probably the most questionable summit that Wietse and I claimed on our fantastic Porcupine Loop scramble on May 19, 2018. I got the name off the Gaia base map I used to plan our trip. The reason we claimed it is simple. It's a LONG way from the road, it's higher than anything we stood on up to that point and it's distinct enough from its neighboring peaks to justify with its own page. YMMV - it's the Internet - we all get an opinion!
After enjoying the summit of Porcupine Ridge, Wietse and I turned our attention towards it's extension summit - Porcupine Tower. I have to admit, things get a bit interesting as far as naming and claiming summits, especially on long ridge traverses such as the Porcupine Loop. Wietse and I spent more than one occasion chuckling at the fact that likely NONE of the "summits" on this loop are official.
On Saturday, May 19, 2018, Wietse and I finally completed a nice front range hiking / scrambling loop that I've been eyeing up for several years. The Porcupine Loop starts with an pleasant hike / easy scramble up Porcupine Ridge before leading over moderate terrain to a few more summits west of Tiara Peak.
On Saturday while driving back to YYC with Wietse after scrambling Cougar Peak, I was musing about possible destinations for the next day when he suggested "Wasootch Ridge" as a good hike or easy scramble to do with my daughter. I did some quick on-the-spot research on my phone and quickly realized this was the perfect early season objective for us.
Cougar Peak (in the Fairholme Range rather than in the North Highwood) has slowly become a popular Spring objective for people like me, eager to bag something more than a front range bump when many other deeper range peaks are still plastered in a mushy white coat of unpredictability.
Hanneke had a rare opportunity to join me for a hike on Sunday, May 6th 2018 so I figured I should take advantage of that. I was determined not to make her wade through the knee deep snow drifts that I kept ending up in over the past few weeks and decided that surely Stony Ridge in the Highwood area of Kananaskis would be dry by now?