Weitse and Naomi walk along the first 4km of boring road. If you wait till this is open you won't have to walk it. I would highly recommend a bike for the first 6 or 7 kms.
Sheep hunters. They didn't see any sheep. Good thing we were wearing orange.
Wietse hikes beside the creek that we will shortly cross. An outlier of Loaf Mountain in the background.
Mount Drywood rises behind Wietse and Naomi as they make their way up Loaf Mountain.
Loaf Mountain from the top of the plateau.
Panorama of Loaf Mountain and part of the ridge leading to Drywood Mountain. We hiked out of the valley shown here (click to view full size).
Castle Peak's distinctive shape - what a great mountain this would be to climb...
The final push to the summit is easy but looks dramatic in the lighting.
Drywood Mountain and the ridge to the summit of Loaf Mountain with Wietse and Naomi heading up behind me.
Wietse and Naomi on the summit of Loaf Mountain.
Summit panorama looking south and west (click to view full size). Spironkop Ridge in the foreground.
Summit panorama showing both the ridge of Loaf and the ridge and summit of Drywood Mountain (click to view full size).
Another shot of imposing Castle Peak.
Vern, Naomi and Wietse on the summit of Loaf Mountain. It was very windy and very cold!
Bovin Lake is far below us as we make our way down the West ridge of Loaf.
Coming down from the summit - still very windy here!
Looking down the long hike out of the Drywood valley.
The cutline trail we took to access the road out.
The trail out would be a fast bike ride but also allows for good conversation.
On Saturday, October 18th 2008 Wietse, Naomi and I tagged the summit of Loaf Mountain in the East Castle area, just north of Waterton National Park.
Due to a seasonal closure of the road that leads to the normal trail head, we had to walk an additional 4km each way from a locked gate. This resulted in more exercise but also prevented us from bagging more than one peak, simply because time and energy wouldn't allow for it. (You can do Spionkop Ridge along with Loaf if you have the energy / time. You can also to Drywood Mountain and Loaf if you're so inspired.)
Despite the long walk on an uninspiring road, the trip was still worth it. The easy road hiking allows for deep conversation. All the larches had lost their needles in the strong winds but the colorful rocks and vegetation was still a treat for the eyes. Following Nugara's trip description worked great and we encountered no difficulties. We went a short ways (5-10 minutes) after a large waterfall in the creek before crossing the creek easily and heading up easy-angled slopes.
The wind was brutal but thankfully the temperatures were very warm (12 degrees at 08:00) so even though it was cool on the summit we could enjoy some views before escaping down the west slopes and contouring back toward the trail heading up to Bovin Lake.
We met some hunters on horseback throughout the day - they were looking for sheep but I still felt good about wearing my bright orange jacket! They seemed impressed by our route choice and expressed amazement at the distance we walked.
We briefly considered tagging Spionkop Ridge but the incredibly strong wind discouraged us from summing the energy to bother. Since Spionkop can be combined with Newman Peak and Avion Ridge we thought we'd save it for another day.
The long hike back to the car from Bovin Lake was uneventful and filled with good conversation. I would recommend this peak for a day when other areas might be out of season or as a two peak day with either Spionkop or Drywood Mountain. On its own its just a really long hike, albeit a rather pleasant one.