After summiting Pilot I decided to take advantage of the long approach up the Redearth valley by bagging Mount Brett while I was in the area anyway. I have to say - this is a long day. When Kane says you'll be bagged afterwards, he's not kidding! After descending into the valley between Pilot and Brett I was left with almost 1000 meters of height gain and some difficult terrain to negotiate - and it was a hot day which didn't help the energy levels. That would leave me with a total of 2500 meters of height gain in a remote area on difficult terrain. It was an awesome day but probably not something I'll repeat too often - especially as a solo objective.
The route is fairly straight forward. Descend into the valley either right under the pinnacle or you can traverse up high on Pilot to skier's left and drop into the valley a bit further up. Either way leaves you with a trudge up to the lower ridge on Brett.
[Looking up at the lower ridge of Brett from the valley between Brett and Pilot.]
[Looking down valley towards Copper Mountain - this will be my exit valley. Pilot on my right here and Brett behind me.]
[Looking back at the descent route from Pilot - straight down the center gully after down climbing the crux on the left skyline summit ridge.]
[A gorgeous day to be out here!]
[Beautiful hiking terrain with fall colors coming out. I felt very alone back here, but that wasn't a terrible thing. Brett in the distance.]
[Higher up on Brett's west ridge, looking over at Pilot.]
[I must have been tired, because I didn't clue in that the right hand slopes would be MUCH easier (especially on descent) than the knife-edge, jagged west ridge!]
[Again - how did I miss the easy terrain on the right? Oh well...]
[Curving towards the summit and on the ridge proper now, looking into my exit valley and Pilot Mountain.]
The scrambling on Brett is certainly harder than on Pilot. I ended up going around the second down climb on climber's right without realizing I was bypassing the down climb - I simply followed the terrain and ended up there. I didn't enjoy it though. It's still very exposed and it's loose and down sloping.
[Looking back at the first semi-exposed down climb on the ridge.]
[Lots of tricky, exposed scrambling to go!]
[Looking back at another spicy section of ridge.]
[Another section of ridge, almost at the summit now.]
It was a nice surprise to arrive at the summit, since I was still expecting the down climb! The views were excellent and I spent some time at the summit enjoying my accomplishments of the day. I even had a phone conversation with Kevin Papke at the summit! I had to return all the way to the parking lot so eventually I reluctantly started my descent.
[Vern on the summit of Mount Brett, with his first peak of the day - Pilot Mountain - in the background.]
[Looking down on the (tiny) Massive Mountain and down the Bow River Valley towards Banff. ++]
[Looking along the north ridge of Brett, Ishbel on the left and Cory on the right.]
[Looking down the valley between Pilot and Brett - Pilot on the right, Copper at center. ++]
[Looking over Sunshine Meadows and Healy Pass towards The Monarch. Assiniboine at left. ++]
[Assiniboine looms to the south. Black Brett just sneaks into the picture on the left.]
[The Castle Mountain massif.]
[Storm on the left, Deltaform, Hungabee, Lefroy and Temple L to R in the far distance.]
[Gorgeous view over the Sundance Range towards Mount Rundle and Banff.]
[Fantastic summit panorama looking north and east. ++]
The crux that I by-passed on the way up is actually more exposed if you go over it on the way back. I found myself clinging rather desperately to a questionable hold while my feet sought solid ground for a few moments! I'm still not sure which way I prefer, I'm just glad I'm done it. I would do the alternate descent that Kane mentions (and that I failed to notice when I read the description) for the safest option.
[Serious terrain on the ridge.]
[Loose terrain - I should have been way off to the right here for the alternate easy descent route.]
[The ridge isn't giving up easily!]
[Looking off another exposed section towards Pilot.]
[Nice views to distract me.]
[Looking back at the upper mountain, finally back to hiking terrain.]
The rest of the walk to my bike was uneventful except for a few nervous moments when my tired brain mistook a large grey rock for a grizzly... (I nearly pepper sprayed it when it refused to move! ;-))
[I was convinced one of the boulders on the slope ahead of me was a grizzly! A tense 5 minutes as I approached and it refused to budge even with loud yelling! I didn't actually pepper spray the hapless rock, but it was close... ;)]
[The world's nicest bivy spot! A delightful alpine valley rest spot.]
[About to hit the bush to Redearth Creek trail.]
The bushwhack to the Redearth road was a bit of a drag and I found myself wondering what the heck I was doing out there on my own but eventually I did make it back to my bike. The ride out was fast and fun. My round trip time of 10 hours wasn't even that bad, but it felt a lot longer. I would highly recommend doing these two mountains together if you can handle the long day of difficult scrambling and the elevation gains.