On June 02 2007 Wietse and I headed to the mountains to attempt a peak from Kane's scrambles book. Unfortunately for us, there was way too much snow in all the areas that we wished to scramble so we were forced to come up with alternate plans for the day. After paying $1 to get to the internet in the ACC club house (it was 07:00 and we didn't have a map) we settled on Bob Spirko's trip up Morrowmount.
Wietse wasn't too keen on another front range scramble but I wanted to bag something so we agreed to drive to the Jura Creek trailhead and start the long slog into Morrowmount. Let me say this right up front. I've never been hiked in the Jura Creek area before and I actually really enjoyed the scenery and the hike - the whole 9km approach wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting! (NOTE: This was before the 2013 floods - check out this trip report for updated conditions and this link for more information on flood mitigation efforts in the area.)
The valley was long and hot in the morning sun but we enjoyed the scenery and the quiet. We actually didn't see another person till the way out, near the false fault in Jura Creek. The feeling of remoteness on this peak is with out from the time you pass the cut off to Loder Peak to the time you get back there about 6 or 7 hours later.
[Wietse comes through the narrow section in Jura Creek.]
[A cool bouldering opportunity...]
[Wietse works his way up the fault section on Jura Creek.]
[The fault area was very interesting.]
[That looks refreshing - and deep!]
[Now the real plod begins. We are about 3km 'up the creek' at this point. Morrowmount is in the far distance.]
[The creek bed is quite choked in places - but a lot clearer than others I've been in.]
Even though we had just read Bob's report (although in a bit of a rush) we still weren't sure where to start heading up the ridge to Morrowmount's summit. All we knew was that Bob went "to the end of the creek". We missed the 'almost' in front of that sentence! No disrespect to Bob, but actually you are at least 1 km from the end of the creek where you start heading up. Upon re-reading Andrew Nugara's TR from the same peak I now realize that we did the exact same thing Andrew did.
[This is looking up the creek at the ascent slope. The creek splits into two around the orange shale slope up ahead.]
So, following Bob's route - but thinking we were maybe off-route at the time - we came up the orange shale slope where Jura Creek forks to the right and left. The orange slope is in the middle of the fork and we simply headed straight up the shale and had a choice to either go climber's left to the ridge or continue angling up the shale, sticking to climber's left of the gray rocky slabs on our right.
[Wietse scrambles up the loose orange shale slope.]
[You can see Jura Creek spread out below us as we get higher on Morrowmount.]
[At the top of the orange shale slope, this is the view that greets you. The tallest point is the one at the upper left but you should first go to the one on the upper right and then traverse along the ridge. ++]
Once at the top of the orange shale, it only took us about 15 minutes to the first high point. We actually went to the true summit first and this is the only bit of scrambling on the whole trip. It's a fun and exhilarating walk along the summit ridge, with a dizzying drop to the right, into the CMC valley. Once on the true summit we actually thought maybe the first summit was higher, so after some pictures we did the traverse again and discovered that the south summit is actually 1 meter lower, so we were very glad we took the 10 minutes to do the traverse.
[This is where I topped out on the ridge, looking south. I first headed north to the highest point.]
[Looking west from the summit of Morrowmount towards Mounts Fable and Grotto.]
[Vern on the summit of Morrowmount.]
[Wietse joins me on the summit. Yamnuska (L) and Old Goat (C) are lower than us at this point.]
[I'm back at the south summit now, looking at Wietse doing the traverse.]
[Panorama from the south summit includes Old Goat, Fisher, Heart, Kidd, Collembolla, Allan, Wind, Lougheed, Wind Tower, Nestor, Goat, Rimwall, Gap Peak, Big Sister, Grotto, Fable, Peechee, Girouard, Inglismaldie (L to R) and many others. ++]
Since some threatening clouds were building above us we decided not to spend too much time at the summit and after gazing down at Yamnuska and Wendell Mountain and snapping some pictures of familiar peaks around the Bow Valley and Kananaskis country we headed back down our ascent route. At this time we still thought that Bob and Dinah must have gone ALL the way up the creek so we decided to descend that way to see how much fun we'd missed on the way up.
[Wietse descending the upper part of Jura Creek.]
[The upper creek was interesting but I didn't care for the terrain trap we spent almost an hour negotiating down. :(]
The scenery in the upper stretches of Jura Creek is incredible, but the scrambling, especially with the creek at full flow, was a bit tiresome. The closed valley walls are incredibly loose and I never felt safe in the confines of the creek. We had some snow to help our traverses above the creek but overall I would not recommend this section without a helmet - and it certainly adds distance and time to the descent. It was beautiful though, and neither Wietse nor I regretted taking this alternate descent.
[Hassle Castle makes an interesting photographic subject as we come back down to our ascent route, completing the loop we made to the summit and back down the upper creek.]
The trudge back to the trailhead took another 3 hours (with some nice breaks) but thankfully the sun was behind a nice gray cloud for most of that time! The water from Jura Creek was also incredibly refreshing. Would I recommend this peak? Well yes I would - as I actually really enjoyed this outing. It reminded me of Fullerton, Fable and Middle Sister but I actually enjoyed it more than any of those three peaks. Maybe I was just in a good mood or something.