After almost 2 months without a summit and a long family vacation which saw me drive over 5000 kilometers in 2.5 weeks, I was more than ready to get out to the solitude of the Rocky Mountains again! :-)
Since I had just driven 10 hours the day before, coming back from visiting family in the Vancouver area, I decided that I would do something fairly low key on Thursday, July 19. I have wanted to hike Windtower for a long time already and this seemed like the perfect day to do just that, so I did.
There is nothing dramatic or tricky about this hike / easy scramble. Simply follow the guidebook's descriptions to West Wind Pass and from there follow an obvious trail traversing climber's right under the summit slopes before cutting back around the west slopes of easy scree to the summit. You may be tempted to follow a more direct line but this will involve more risk than necessary - certainly elevating this to more than a hike. There is a good climber's route up the ridge as well.
The summit views into Bow Valley are amazing, with Lougheed I's spectacular cliffs to the south and The Rimwall to the north. The green valleys of Bow Valley Wildland to the east are delightful.
I thoroughly enjoyed this short day out on my own - highly recommended.
The trail to West Wind Pass is pleasant. You shouldn't stray too far to climber's left though - there are sheep and scrambling trails going up to The Rimwall from the West Wind Pass trail. I was looking out for this and still managed to get too high on climber's left and had to descend to the right to the correct trail again.
As I neared the pass, I took the obvious trail to climber's right, cutting back west underneath the summit of Windtower - seen on the left of this photo.
Lougheed I looms over the ascent route for Windtower. Some people have used Windtower's approach for the approach to Lougheed I. (http://dowclimbing.com/Lougheed.html)
The summit comes into view. This is mainly an easy hike.
Gorgeous views of Lougheed I.
I couldn't believe how pretty the meadows of Bow Valley Wildland are from the summit of Windtower! The three sisters are visible behind The Rimwall.
Clouds are pouring in from the east.
Looking towards Mount Douglas and Commonwealth.
Spray Lakes - spot the helicopter?
Looking west over the town of Canmore.
Closeup of Little Sister.
Vern on the summit of Windtower.
The valley directly under West Wind Pass.
Some color on the drab landscape under Lougheed I.
Many wildflowers are blooming! Nestor and Old Goat are the prominent peaks on the right side.
I love Alpine Vetch's vibrant color.
On the way back I stopped in at the West Wind Pass - a gorgeous destination in it's own right.
Lovely meadows at West Wind Pass.
Clouds are really coming in over the Bow Valley.
View of Windtower from West Wind Pass.
Trail heading down from the pass.
A nice moment with the flutterbye's.