On the weekend of June 26, 27 I was joined by So Nakagawa on a quest to finish up my remaining "Kane" scrambles in Jasper National Park.
The plan was to scramble both Pyramid and Cinquefoil on Saturday and finish up with Utopia on Sunday. Secretly I was thinking that this was a slightly aggressive plan and it would take a small miracle to pull it off but what's life without a few aggressive, unrealistic goals? :-)
We camped in the Pocahontas campground, which worked nicely for Cinquefoil and Utopia but was a bit of a drive for Pyramid. The fastest I'd heard of anyone doing Pyramid was around 8-9 hours and Kane calls it an "all day" affair so we decided that if we were going to scramble 2 peaks we'd better get up nice and early! Cinquefoil is rated as "easy" according to Kane, with a minimum time of 4 hours but we were a little wary of those statistics after reading some reports that this trip is longer than most expect.
My alarm didn't go off for some reason but the lightening skies still woke me after only getting around 5 hours of sleep at 04:30. After a quick bite to eat we were on our way to the Pyramid Mountain fire road.
We had no trouble finding the fire road and soon were grunting up steep hills. I do a lot of running and walking to stay in shape when I'm not going up mountains, but biking is something I haven't been doing a lot of recently. I could tell. :-) We managed to grunt up a few long hills before we decided to start conserving some energy for the mountain and pushed our bikes up a few of the steeper sections. At the junction we turned left and found that the road was in much rougher shape for the last 3-4km. It was more enjoyable for mountain biking though.
The weather was incredible on this particular day! Sun mixed with clouds and a nice cool breeze kept us from sweating too much. I would hate to do this bike ride in 30 degrees.
We made our way up the ridge on scree and snow as Kane describes in his book.
The summit was windy and cold (0 degrees) so we didn't linger long. The panorama of summits was stunning and made all the work worth it. Probably my favorite summit view of all the Kane Jasper peaks.
We descended our ascent route since any large snow slopes looked pretty unstable. The bike ride back to the parking lot was fast but I didn't really enjoy it because my rear brakes weren't working at all and my front brakes weren't very good either! Kane isn't kidding when he says to make sure you check your brakes before this trip!!!
We were very surprised with our round trip time of 6 hours. I admit that we did move pretty quickly, So is in very good shape and I had a hard time keeping pace with him but even so, this was much quicker than I expected. Overall I really enjoyed Pyramid Mountain. Fantastic views keep you entertained once you finally start the scrambling. The bike ride is a grunt but if your brakes are working properly you'll have a blast on the way out!
A nice campsite in "walk-in F24" at Pocahontas campground in Jasper:
A panorama of Pyramid Mountain and Patricia Lake on the way up to the trail head in the morning (click to view full size):
After biking for a while already, So pushes his bike towards me and the sign indicating we have to turn left to get to Pyramid Mountain from this spot.
A meadow awaits at the end of the Pyramid Mountain fire road. I think there used to be a tram here.
One advantage of biking up 800 meters is that you experience good views almost as soon as the scrambling starts!
So scrambles up the first ridge with the summit slopes of Pyramid lurking in the background.
The final slopes are pretty tame:
Panorama on the way up Pyramid, looking west off the ridge (click to view full size):
Looking towards Jasper Lake from the summit ridge:
Tackling a steep snow slope on the ridge.
The boulder field:
So on another snow slope - the snow was rock-hard in the morning. It was only '0' degrees at the summit!
A cloud drifts past as we gaze at the sparkling lakes of Jasper. I love this area!
Ramparts from the summit:
Closer look at the Ramparts:
I'm not sure what peak this is, showing up through the Ramparts?
The view east and south off the summit of Pyramid Mountain (click to view full size):
The view west and north off the summit of Pyramid Mountain (click to view full size):
Vern on the summit of Pyramid Mountain:
So descends the summit ridge:
A gorgeous descent view! (Click to view full size)
A beautiful day to be out and about in the mountains.