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In case you hadn't noticed, I've been spending a lot of time in David Thompson Country lately. There are reasons for this;

  • With Canada's 150th the national parks are crazy busy this summer
  • DTC has random camping options (free!)
  • DTC has some surprisingly remote and large mountains
  • The terrain in DTC is ideal for scrambling - dry and open forests and lots of hands-on slabby rock
  • Abraham Lake provides a stunning backdrop for many of the hikes and scramble, especially as it fills up in summer
  • Many of the peaks are unexplored or largely ignored by the online community making them feel more unique

So far my top scrambles in DTC would have to be Elliott Peak and Abraham Mountain due to their unique approaches and wonderful summit views. So if you're getting bored with the Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise area, or simply want to experience a new place in the beautiful Canadian Rockies, I highly recommend spending a few weekends in DTC.

Warden Rock

The wind was forecast to be strong all over the Rockies on Sunday, March 29, 2015. The forecasts were right. I woke several times in the Bighorn Campground near Ya Ha Tinda by the sounds of a gusty west wind. When the alarm went off at 04:00 it was still gusting pretty strong but at least the sky over us was clear and the air temperate was quite warm at around 5 degrees Celsius.

Eagle Mountain (Eagle Lake Peak, EV4)

It wasn't looking good as I sat in the Tim Horton's in Sundre on Saturday, March 28 2015. It was around 11 in the morning and it was pouring outside! Not just a mist, but a full on down pour. I was waiting for Steven and Ben to arrive from Edmonton before we continued our drive to the Bighorn Campground in the Ya Ha Tinda area of the front ranges.

 

Peyto Peak

Finally the weather, our schedules, and back country avalanche conditions lined up over a weekend, allowing Ben, Steven and I to plan a 2 day excursion to the northern end of the Wapta Icefield. I am rapidly closing in on a long-sought summit list of all the Wapta peaks and only one peak remained for me on the hard-to-access northern end - Peyto Peak.

Maze Peak

After looking at our options for the weekend, Ben, Steven and I decided that it made the most sense to try for a hiking or snow shoe trip on Sunday, December 14th. Considering the snow conditions everywhere, we settled on Maze Peak in the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch area of the Rockies, west of Sundre Alberta.

 

Going Light - Gear and Thoughts

I don't like to advertise my age, but suffice it to say that I'm getting to that point in life where I no longer throw things in my pack "just in case" I might need them. ;) My knees / back and shoulders have taken quite the beating over the past decade and after hundreds of Rocky Mountain summits, many canoe trips and thousands of kilometers of walking and skiing with everything from light day packs to huge expedition sized (90+ litre) back packs overflowing with gear.

 

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