I wasn't sure how it would feel to bash my way up a scree slope after just ascending two of the nicest peaks in Alberta a few weeks previous (North Twin and Twins Tower) but surprisingly I really enjoyed my solo ascent of Buffalo Point.
Considering this was my 300th peak, it was strangely appropriate that it's 'unofficial' and off the beaten path and that I did it solo, as so many of my favorite outings over the past 10 or 11 years have been solo ascents of piles of scree and for some strange reason I still love doing it! I guess I must genuinely love the mountains if I can enjoy a scree bash almost as much as a fine ski ascent.
I've heard rumors that the approach is a bit convoluted on this one but as long as you stick to climber's left along the fenced property at the start, the route is pretty straightforward. Follow the creek bed until you get to a waterfall and then go up on climber's left to the summit!
[Looking at the road that Gillean mentions from the parking spot along the road. This road is now private property but you can walk along the fence on the left side and avoid trespassing. For the most part...]
[Looking back at the approach from near where I intersected the stream bed.]
[For the most part the stream bed is easy to walk in. It got a bit tedious on return so I bailed to the trail through the trees on the way back.]
[Approaching the cool canyon section.]
[The canyon is pretty dope.]
[Looking back at the canyon as I continue up the creek.]
[Just around the corner on the left is the scree ascent slopes.]
[Here is where you leave the creek bed and angle to climber's left. There is still a LOT of elevation gain at this point.]
After gaining the lower mountain just above tree line I started feeling that I was almost at the summit. Of course, with almost 1600 meters of height gain this was an illusion! The bottom half of the upper scree slog is actually pretty solid scree. The section after this is anything but solid. I ended up trying snow gullies which were almost too isothermal already and then I bailed to the ridge on climber's left. This ridge proved to be moderate to difficult scrambling so I knew I'd be descending the looser scree, which was obviously fine.
[Looking at the waterfall that ends the valley approach from the scree ascent slope.]
[A very foreshortened view of the upper slopes of Buffalo Point. Those snow 'patches' are more like snow 'fields' when you get closer. :-)]
[Looking back at the approach from about half way up the the upper slopes. I haven't bailed to the ridge yet (right side of photo). ++]
[Looking down the ridge. Doesn't look bad from this angle but the upper part was pretty steep and loose.]
[Looking up the moderate / difficult scrambling portion of the ridge to the summit. Most people don't bother with this and stick to the scree, or go climber's right instead of left.]
[Looking over to the true summit of Charles Stuart.]
[Summit panorama looking across the Bow Valley at the huge massif of Mount Rundle. ++]
[Not sure how official this is, but good enough for me!]
[On descent looking back at the guy I met ascending the snow 'patches'. Can you spot him?]
[A warm, beautiful day to be out in the hills.]