Mount Yarrow is an unofficial peak on the southeast end of Spread Eagle (Roche) Mountain. It looked pretty close from the summit of Spread Eagle and I thought maybe 15 minutes would cover the traverse time to its summit. As with most ridge traverses though, I underestimated the terrain that's hidden in its curves!
The traverse is pretty easy but there is more elevation loss than appears and more route-finding too. I took just over 30 minutes to make my way from Roche to Yarrow but it was worth every minute due to the excellent views both east and west along it.
[Looking over the beautiful Blind Canyon to the prairie beyond from just under the summit of Roche.]
[Looking east off the traverse from Spread Eagle]
[My favorite views all day were looking west into Waterton from the traverse. Peaks include Glendowan, Newman, Spionkop and Loaf Mountain (L to R). ++]
[Looking back at Spread Eagle Mountain (Roche) from along the traverse. ++]
[The route looks harder than it is.]
There was no cairn or register on either Roche or Yarrow, but that didn't matter. I thoroughly enjoyed both summits in the perfect late September sunshine.
[Looking across Yarrow Creek towards Cloudy Ridge with Dungarvon rising in the background and Glendowan at right. ++]
[The Chief (in Montana) just shows through the smoky haze.]
[Vern on the summit of Mount Yarrow]
The descent was quick following Nugara's description. I found the loose scree section would be awful to ascend - it was bad enough going down it due to rock fall! At least it was quick. The drainage led right to the road and I simply walked out from there. It was funny to meet the gas plant workers who thought I was lost. When I showed them where I'd come from they thought I was completely off my rocker. They couldn't get over that I was solo - "what about bears"? I told them there was more risk of falling off the cliffs than getting mauled but they didn't seem convinced.
[Starting the long trek back along the ridge to Spionkop Col, which is left of Roche here. My ascent route up Roche starts at the small hills at far right to the summit along the ridge. ++]
[Traversing back under Spread Eagle - this is looking back at Yarrow]
[Yarrow is just visible behind the slope coming off of Spread Eagle. This shot is taken at the col before descent.]
[From the high point just before descent looking back at Roche (center) and Yarrow (far right). ++]
[Panorama from the high point showing the western outlier of Roche (NE end of Spionkop Ridge) with Spionkop Col in front of it and the valley with my route out (next to the larches) descending to the right before crossing Spionkop Creek and heading out on the obvious road. ++]
[Beautiful larches (part of the "larch forest" Nugara mentions), the descent route goes down to the right here.]
[Here I went down and to skier's right around cliff bands. You can see the stream bed I exited from at center bottom. Then I followed the road all the way out.]
[One last look back from the exit drainage. Summit of Roche is out of sight in upper left, exit is from upper right.]
[Last look back at Roche (right of center) and the approach hills (left) from the exit road.]
I highly recommend any of the Castle Management Area scrambles - they are colorful, interesting, bush-free (for the most part) and the rock is generally very good. For the best scrambling experiences on these peaks follow Nugara's ascent routes if the rock is dry. Although some of them are difficult it's good fun and with his easy hikes off you don't have to worry about the down climbing. Unless you're off route. Then you're probably not going to have fun. ;-)