On Saturday, August 30 2008 Keith and I set out to scramble Mount Lipsett and Mist Mountain. I originally wanted to scramble something difficult (like Mount Fox) but the weather was acting up again and it didn't seem prudent to be on too much difficult terrain with unpredictable weather hovering around. The idea for a two peak day on Mist and Lipsett came from Dow William's trip report on Mist Mountain where he details a traverse of the mountain starting up Kane's difficult route on the southwest ridge and ending on the moderate route down the north ridge. Since Kane's difficult route starts at the col between Mist's south ridge and Mount Lipsett and since Lipsett is only marginally higher than the col, it only made perfect sense to bag it while we were there anyway.
After approaching and hiking to the summit of Mount Lipsett, we turned our attention towards the intimidating west ridge / face of Mist Mountain.
[Keith descends Lipsett on our way to the west face / ridge of Mist.]
[Traversing towards Mist from Lipsett (L), looking up the approach and depproach valley to hwy 40.]
[Keith on the initial scree slope on the west face of Mist.]
Once on the ridge the scrambling was fun. There were many route possibilities and the rock was solid(ish). We each chose a different rib to ascend to avoid kicking rocks down - not a good place to ascend with a large group of people. The scenery and the fun scrambling kept us occupied till we popped out on the south ridge. I would agree with Dow that the scrambling never feels that difficult on this section, although if you're using it as a descent route it would be a lot tougher (simply because it would not be obvious where to avoid the more difficult stuff). As far as I remember, the most difficult move was immediately after leaving the scree and getting onto solid rock.
[Looking off the west ridge down our approach route.]
[As you can see from this photo, the route is steep and very loose. Brain buckets are mandatory.]
[With threatening skies in every direction, Keith is still happy to be scrambling!]
[There are steep sections and some route finding to keep the scrambling moderate.]
[Looking off the ascent route west towards Odlum and over the Continental Divide into British Columbia.]
[Down climbing an overhang on the west ridge.]
[Keith surveys off the west ridge.]
[Getting very close to the south ridge now, looking south over the south end of it.]
[Some exposure off the ridge, this is looking down at Hwy #40 with Pocaterra and Grizzly Ridges and the spine of the continent to the left.]
The south ridge posed no problems and we were soon on the summit of Mist Mountain. Gorgeous views in all directions. The best view was to the east, where low laying clouds were creeping up the valleys making for dramatic photo opportunities. The wind was cool and after 30 minutes enjoying the summit we were ready to push on down the north ridge.
[On the south ridge now, looking north.]
[Keith is almost at the summit.]
[Plaque at the summit.]
[Vern on the summit of Mist Mountain with the view north in the bg.]
[Summit views north include Tyrwhitt, Pocaterra, Highwood Ridge, Pocaterra Ridge, Rae, Storm, Arethusa and Cougar Mountain (L to R).]
[Gorgeous views over Mount Fox and the Haig Icefield with Sir Douglas and French among many other peaks.]
[Views over Lipsett in the foreground looking tiny over Storelk towards the Joffre group and even the Royal Group in the far distance.]
[Looking south along the summit ridge down hwy 40 towards summits such as Lineham, Pyriform, Odlum, Loomis and many others.]
[Looking directly east over Mist Ridge towards Gibraltar, Shunga-la-she and Highwood Peak (R to L). ++]
[Summit panorama from east to south to west and even north! ++]
The north ridge was interesting. I never really found it too difficult but there were some 'no slip' zones on it in places. Looking back at the summit as we descended made the ridge look much tougher than it felt! The most exposed sections were right after the summit. Dow mentions crossing over 'numerous' sucker descent gullies and he means numerous! We passed over quite a few (5 or 6) and came to a section of ridge that looked nasty. An obvious trail led into the gully so we followed it. Bad move.
[Keith leaves the summit, traversing north along Mist's summit ridge.]
[The terrain is pretty big up on the ridge!]
[The ridge was a lot more interesting than we were expecting!]
[The ridge was wide in places with incredible views in all directions. ++]
[Looking back up the summit ridge of Mist as we descend.]
[Still on the ridge, now we're looking at each gully we cross to see if it's the right descent gully. They weren't...]
The next 1.5 hours was spent side-hilling through one gully after another on the west face of Mist Mountain. If we were goats this would have been a lot of fun. We're not goats. It wasn't that much fun. If you do the same route, do yourself a huge favor and stick to the ridge all the way off the mountain (as per Kane's moderate ascent description) on descent! Once we finally exited the west face we looked back and couldn't believe some of the terrain we had come down. It wasn't awfully difficult but sections of it were a bit dicey and picking a route across the gullies was tedious because we never knew if we'd get away with it or be suckered somewhere uncool. Our mountain sense must have been wired up on this occasion because we got pretty lucky a few times!
[We're a long ways along the ridge from the summit now!]
[Looking across the west face at the gullies / terrain we will descend. We should have been more patient.]
[Keith follows me as we start our "lost traverse" across and down the west face and gully system on Mist.]
[It's a long and LOOSE way down from here!]
[We'd get to a nice scree run and then get cliffed out!]
[See? Now we have to re-ascend to get around a cliff band! Very frustrating way to route-find!]
[Finally getting off difficult terrain and to the north shoulder. Soon we will descend left.]
[Looking back at the difficult terrain we descended. Somehow... ;)]
After finally exiting the west face we tromped down the grassy slopes towards the creek / trail keeping a keen eye out for grizzlies. On the way down the grassy lower ridge we discovered pink ribbon and plastic knives with numbering on them all over the ridge! It seemed a bit chaotic and trashy for an official scientific study but presumably that's what it was for.
[Wildflowers and the west face of Mist.]
[Mist on the left, Lipsett on the right.]
[A study plot of some sort on the shoulder.]
[Keith looks back at our route down the west face before we plunge down grassy slopes to the creek below.]
The walk back along the creek was short and uneventful and we both agreed that this was a great outing and well worth more attention by the scrambling community.