On Wednesday, September 27 2017 I was joined by Trevor Boyce for an easy hike and traverse of Odlum Ridge, deep in Kananaskis Country just east of the Continental Divide and south of Highwood Pass. Our plan was to take advantage of the great weather with views of larches and aesthetic mountains in the background. We were not disappointed!
After a delightful easy / moderate scramble up Mount Howard Douglas, it was time to add a second peak to my day. Why? Don't ask. I guess I'm still a peakbagger at heart because there's really no reason to grind up Eagle Mountain other than to claim another summit. In my case I also got better views.
After completing the long approach trek up Healy and Whistling Passes and the subsequent ascent of Lesser Pharaoh Peak (don't forget about "Tiny" Pharaoh), Phil and I grunted our way back towards the diminutive and unofficial Sugarloaf Mountain. I haven't been able to find out where "Sugarloaf" comes from, but it's on enough references to be official enough for me to bag and claim it.
With larch season comes great responsibility for the Rockies hiker, scrambler and photographer. The responsibility comes from having two weeks to take advantage of the very limited and short-lived phenomenon of what's commonly called, <dramatic music>Larch Season</dramatic music>. This season is sacred with those of us lucky enough to have felt its magic touch. For two weeks in September we are overcome with gold fever.
There are a few trip reports available online for Lougheed I, but for obvious reasons there are many more for the much easier and official summit of Lougheed II (usually with a no-brainer traverse to III). The trip reports I could find are all part of a traverse from peak I to II, either as a scramble or an alpine climb.
On Saturday, September 02, 2017 I completed one of the most dangerous mountain ascents I've done, and was only the 8th recorded ascent of a peak that is very distinct and recognizable and highly visible from a major highway corridor (#93) and yet, not very well known in the scrambling community. I was joined on this dubious adventure by Wietse and Phil.
Ben and I finally completed our Sisyphean Odyssey to the summit of Mount King Edward on a beautifully clear and calm late summer day on August 28, 2017. After three attempts, driving a total of 36 hours, hiking 105km and climbing over 6,500m of elevation, it was supremely rewarding to finally take in the stunning summit panorama on this mountain.
After cancelling plans for a trip up the Icefields Parkway due to a last minute weather change, Phil Richards and I were at a bit of a loss what to replace it with. We were wary about forest fire smoke as the views from Lyautey are pretty stellar. Staying home seemed like a cop-out so we settled on a 07:00 departure time from the Interlakes parking lot instead.
For some reason, Ogden sketched me out a bit. It didn't help when Alan Kane himself mentioned in an email interview with Bob Spirko that when he went back to look at it years after doing it, it looked much scarier then he remembered! When Mike and Liz reported on a recent trip up Ogden I knew it had to happen soon and made it a priority.
8.5 hours after leaving the car along highway 93, Phil and I were finally done with Quill Peak and turning our collective attention towards a distant Conical Peak, rising through the smoky skies to the SE of our little perch at the edge of Quill's access glacier.
As Phil and I drove out of Canmore and towards Lake Louise, we debated about the weather and the smoke. Phil suggested that perhaps we should do Quill and Conical peaks instead of our original plan which was further north up the Icefields Parkway. These two had made the short list a few times already in 2017 but were always pushed off for one or another reason. (Note: this could be considered a four peak day as we also crossed over Porcupine and Porcupine NE2 on the way.)
Originally my plans were to get up very early on a holiday Monday morning and finally bag Mount Ogden in Yoho National Park. I wanted to leave early so I could beat some of the long weekend crazies driving back to YYC in the afternoon. I woke up at 04:30 and promptly shut down my alarm and rolled over. Apparently that wasn't happening!
Andrew Nugara had told me about a new peak he was adding to his latest guidebook already in 2016 in exchange for some of my photos in said book. He claimed that the views both on route and on the summit of this peak were some of the best he'd ever had in the Rockies - an opinion us peakbaggers seem to have alarmingly often about every new peak we ascend! :)
I capped an awesome 9 days off in July 2017, with a long-sought adventure up the distant, obscure and somewhat neglected Cataract Peak, just across the Pipestone River Valley in Banff National Park. This mountain has been on my radar for many years now.
A beautiful line of snow highlights the ridge to the summit cap of Spreading Peak, and it looks pretty easy from almost any angle. The issue - as with any peaks in this part of the Siffleur Wilderness - is access. There is no quick or easy way to access the gorgeous summits in this area. Or is there?
After a very successful and somewhat tiring 5 day trip with my daughter in which we traveled approximately 57km and over 4500m of height gain, I was ready to put my feet up for the remainder of my week off. Then Phil texted me...
KC and I awoke to yet another day of brilliant sunshine at the Lake of the Horns, on the last day of our 5 day backpacking trip along the south Highwood peaks on the Great Divide. Our plans for the day would be to follow a horse outfitters trail that was rumored to circle towards our last peak of the trip - The Hill of the Flowers.